Lately, I've been more depressed. It started, I think, at the end of May. It was subtle at first, and I didn't notice right away. I shouldn't be surprised that I didn't notice. Depression symptoms generally come in patterns over time. It doesn't always immediately manifest itself as some overwhelming feeling of "depressed." Sometimes there are feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair, but not always. And even when they do appear, they can be subtle, and creep up on you until suddenly they're there, and they've been there all along, like the Silence from Doctor Who.
But feelings aren't at the crux of my current symptoms. Not those feelings anyway, though I can sometimes sense them creeping up on me. I've been managing to hold them off for now. No, instead there are patterns of behavior and difficulty.
Let's just start with the pattern that I spotted first, probably because it seems to be the most important. I haven't been thinking "deep thoughts." I haven't been reading those posts on feminism and atheism that I usually enjoy reading, or reading posts on philosophy and ethics, or reading news stories that I would generally follow (the Hobby Lobby decision, for example). I haven't been taking the time to think through many issues or questions of importance.
When I try to read up on things, to examine complex posts online, I can't concentrate. It's exhausting just trying to get through a few paragraphs, and I find myself struggling to understand what I've read. This is complete and utter bullshit, because that's just not me, and yet it's happening.
So, I've caught myself avoiding such things. I didn't even notice I was doing that at first. I've been using video games in an attempt to avoid doing any mental heavy lifting. But then, I find myself not enjoying the game I'm playing, and quit after a relatively short period of time. Again, that's not like me. And since I don't want to watch anything on Netflix, because that's another thing I struggle to enjoy lately (at least I still enjoy sex), I find myself pacing, restlessly, not knowing what to do with myself.
Before this depressive stage hit, I'd been working on a project to better myself, to become a better version of me. About all I've managed to keep from that is attempts at exercise (though even that had fallen by the side for a bit). I've been exercising a little bit every day, but it's a struggle to keep going. My wife's been wonderful in helping to hold me accountable for the exercising, and without her, I think I would have given up already. Which would have made me feel worse. Unfortunately, I don't really enjoy the exercise I've been doing. It's a 30 day challenge (part of an app I'm using) though, so I don't want to quit to do something different until I've completed the 30 days. If I did, I think I'd feel worse, like a loser. However, once that 30 days is done, I'm switching to weight training at the gym. I actually enjoy lifting weights (and I hope I still do).
There's outside factors as well, things that cause stress. Worry about how we're going to manage financially with our first child on the way, worry about how this depression is going to affect my school work, some relationship issues with a friend (which have been resolved), and the like. But much of that started after these other symptoms started, so while they feed into the depression, they are not causing it.
No, the cause is once again just my brain breaking on me. As such, at my last psych appointment a few days ago, we upped the dosage on my Abilify to see if it helps alleviate symptoms. Maybe it's helping. I'm writing this after all, and this was something that I'd been avoiding as well. So this could be a good sign.
One way or another, I'll get through this. I have to keep believing that, even though it can be a struggle to maintain hope and optimism at times like these. I'll get through this.