Usually, when something needs doing around the house, I’m inclined to get on and do it fairly quickly. I think it fair to say that I rarely procrastinate.
In a similar way, when I get “it” into my head to do something I rarely talk about it for too long without taking some kind of affirmative action.
Now I have had to moderate this behaviour considerably, because I am simply not able to do the things I once was able to do, but the “Pavlovian” reflexes are still there!!
Obviously there are times when, the duties of life prevent me from getting to hang that picture or fixing the door latch. But I find as I get older that “whittling” away in my workshop is often a pleasant place to be.
Why is this?
Well, I think, the answer is, that it reinforces that there are some things that I am ok at and if I am in my workshop, I am concentrating on how to fix a problem and this diverts my mind from the “shit” that life sometimes deals you.
More importantly for me, this distracts my mind from depression and the darkness that follows me around.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS
I suppose I’m lucky to be fairly capable in most practical things and If for some reason I don’t have the time, or will to do a task, then I have a very good friend who runs his own maintenance business, so I can, and often do, call on him to undertake various projects.
Of course, there can be a genuine reason for not completing a task but sometimes, it can be an early indicator of an onset of depression.
I remember very early on in my therapy “journey”, the therapist would ask me from time to time, “What are the signs that you are going into a downward spiral?” I would often look with incredulity at the therapist and say “if I knew that I probably wouldn’t be here!”
In a roundabout way this reminds me – a few years ago, I was preparing supper for myself and a mate who was visiting. Whilst using a particular saucepan, the handles on the pan triggered a memory.
It must have been 15 years previously since I’d fixed it. (!)
I remember that my marriage was on its last legs. After a particularly long period of dysfunctional and unpleasant exchanges. I was in my ‘man cave’ with a beer and cigarette in hand, trying to escape the misery.
There, in front of me on my work bench, was a saucepan with a lid from which the handle had come unscrewed. I realised it had been there for 3 months by this point. The most minor task that probably would have taken all of 30 seconds to fix was left undone. So would this be classed as a sign I was going into a downward spiral?
For me, categorically yes. Now this is the answer to the question for me, it might not be the same for you. But the point is, if you are a serial sufferer of depression, then you may want to look for signs that indicate you are going downhill.
KNOWING THE PROBLEM IS HALF THE SOLUTION
Many learned thinkers have in their own particular way, identified that identifying a problem very specifically is actually half way to solving the problem. Jung and Einstein being just two.
THE POWER OF DEPRESSION
Never underestimate the power of depression.
If you have ever suffered, you are 50% more likely to suffer again at some point, so build your defences.
I DO NOT mean build walls, which isolate you from others.
Depression has the ability to suck the living daylights from inside of you like you wouldn’t believe. (If you have never suffered)
If there are duties, projects, jobs, that you would usually just get on with but, for some reason they are not getting done, then this ‘may’ be a sign to think a little further and ask yourself, “How do I feel today?”
EXPERIENCING DEPRESSION FOR THE FIRST TIME?
I started thinking about other folks who are just learning and just experiencing depression for the first time.
Instead of asking the question of, “What signs do you get that you might be low or depressed?” or, “Why do you think you might be depressed?” I would ask this question:
“Can you recognise something that you used to do with ease or even with pleasure that you currently have no zest or motivation for?”
Being an engineer of sorts, I usually use a scale in my mind of 1 to 10.
A score of 1 would be ‘feeling very low and contemplating suicide’ and a 10 would be ‘an unnatural place of hyperactivity and euphoria’. So for me, a good place to be would be a 7 or 8 for example.
This might be a helpful tool to keep a measure, and to recognise what’s going on in your emotional state of mind.
I wish you all peace, hope and light for the week ahead.