Well, fuck me silly.
I think it's finally happened. I think... I'm not depressed any more.
This is a beast I've been battling for years and years now - it's something that's been like a grey cloud always hovering over my life. For a very long time, a good day was one in which I didn't have a panic attack, didn't feel nauseous, or didn't feel like I was going to cry. Playing games or visiting with friends was the most effective way to fend off the loneliness and hopelessness, and sometimes I'd even feel good for a couple weeks in a row.
But it always came back. Depression is hard to describe to people who have never suffered from it, but it's instantly recognizable to anyone who has. It's an oppressive force that permeates your entire life. It made me want to hide in bed and sleep my life away. (There were times when I wished I would never have to wake up - that I could stay dreaming forever.) It made me feel sick and anxious so that I didn't want to eat. It made me angry and confused and I started picking fights so I'd have something to channel those feelings into. It made me hate myself - physically and mentally. I began to hate that I was weak and insecure and that it seemed like I couldn't motivate myself to fix myself.
It became normal for me - to the point that I forgot what it was like to not feel that way.
And then, this summer...
...something changed. I honestly do not know what it was that changed. Knowing myself and knowing my triggers, this summer should have been the worst of all - I had no job and nothing to do during the day when I was home, alone. I felt as if I wasn't contributing to the household (I wasn't - I didn't have any money) and I had found out I would need at least another year of school before I could graduate due to all the courses I have failed. Basically I had this summer as a proof of how I had "failed;" it should have been fuel to feed my depression even more.
But it didn't.
Instead, I stayed happy and content for several months. I could still get upset or restless or lonely, of course, but it wasn't all-encompassing and hopeless. I was just sad, not depressed. The feelings would pass on their own, or if I talked about it, or if I did something else... basically, I was healthy again for the first time in... well, since I can clearly remember.
It's easy to forget what it's like to be truly happy.
I can only identify two changes over this summer. The first is that I am able to sleep on a natural rhythm - I got to bed when I'm tired and get up when I'm awake. I don't get forcefully woken up by an alarm too early in my sleep cycle, which is something I know always makes me feel like shit for the rest of the day. The second is that I've been talking 2000 IUs of vitamin D every day for the whole summer. There is a proven connection between vitamin D deficiency and depression, so I suspect the vitamin D has helped quite a bit. (Vitamin D is an interesting topic; this is a great starting point for anyone interested. Ignore the bad page design; Gibson is very, er, oldschool in his web design. It's not a sketchy website trying to sell you anything, as much as it may look it. :P)
But, even with all the contentment, I worry.
I worry that I will slowly slip back into depression. It has a way of sneaking up on you. So, whenever I have a couple days when I'm grumpy or restless or PMSing, I worry. What if the feeling doesn't go away? What if I go back to how I was? I make the people around me miserable in addition to being miserable myself. I don't want that; no one does. But it's hard to spot, and eve harder to stop.
To anyone who has recovered from bouts of depression - can it ever be truly gone? Or do you always worry ti might come back to haunt you?