I think I may be actually battling depression.
It’s weird to say that, because it’s not normally something that people come right out and say, but after having a conversation with Sunshine last week I decided to do just a little bit of research. I realized that I hadn’t been myself over the past couple of months (after telling myself that I was totally fine) and wondered if I was depressed. Again.
Depression makes it tough for anyone to enjoy life in a functional way. Let’s face it…being sad or having a “downswing” are normal reactions to things that happen in life. Just because someone is feeling depressed about something, doesn’t mean that they’re clinically depressed.
I searched online and found a number of signs and symptoms of clinical depression. And unfortunately, I identified with many of them:
- Loss of interest in daily activities. This could be a lack of interest in anything from social activities to sex. Basically, one has lost the ability to feel joy and pleasure. Without going into detail, Sunshine has recognized a major change in this area with me. I just want to come home, sit on the couch, and then eventually go to sleep. That’s it. Even if I’m not clinically diagnosed as being depressed, this is not a healthy situation for me.
- Appetite or weight changes. This means that one has either lost their appetite or has found that they can’t stop eating. I’ve gained over six pounds in the past two weeks alone. I have gorged myself during the past few visits to see my son, eating large quantities of food that aren’t good for me just because I’m “on my own” and not under the watchful eye of my wife (which I’m not complaining about, for the record…I need her eyes!). I’ve come home from my past two visits feeling physically ill because I had eaten so much. Sunshine says I have a “sugar problem” and she’s probably very right.
- Sleep changes. This means that one can’t sleep or sleeps too much. For me, I’ve had a difficult time sleeping past a certain time over the last few weeks. Sure, it could totally be the time change and I recognize that. But if I happen to get up during the evening to use the washroom (say…2am or 3am), it takes me over an hour to fall back asleep because my mind is racing and thinking about everything going on in my life. If I wake up after 5am, forget it…I’m up. And this is sometimes after going to sleep after midnight.
- Anger or irritability. While not feeling violent in any way, I’ve definitely been easily agitated and restless lately. My tolerance level is low, my temper is short, and a lot of life in general gets on my nerves. THIS isn’t good. It affects those around me at work and it definitely affects my wife and kids. This actually scares me because I don’t want to get upset at the smallest little thing. I want to be the “every day happy” CBG that my family loves so much.
- Loss of energy. Wow…this is me in a nutshell. I went from running a 10K TWICE in two weeks to doing absolutely nothing but have my ass suck the cushions on the couch. I feel fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained even when I didn’t do anything. My body feels heavy and small tasks (like grabbing something out of the freezer in the basement) take a lot longer to complete because it tires me out. I feel like I’m always draggin’ my ass around, and it’s tough to motivate myself to be any other way.
- Self-loathing. In fairness, I’ve been a self-loathing person most of my adult life. I have very strong feelings of worthlessness and guilt. I’m my own worst critic when it comes to pointing out faults and mistakes. It’s brutal that this is how I feel, and I never would even recognize that I do it if it weren’t for Sunshine telling me. She sees it and she hates that I do that to myself.
- Concentration problems. This happens both at home and at work. Sunshine will tell me something at home and I’ll drift off. When the topic comes up in conversation at a later time, I’ll ask about it and she will be frustrated at the fact that I didn’t listen to her the first time (or didn’t remember) even though we both had talked about it. At work, I feel as though I’m constantly making dumb mistakes and that I’m one step away from getting shit-canned. Is that the case? Probably not, but that’s the feeling I have right now and I get frustrated with myself for making dumb mistakes.
- Unexplained aches and pains. This one was the icing on the cake for me because I’ve been battling unexplained headaches for the past few months. And the headache doesn’t just go away after a day or two. It’ll come back and pierce my skull for a week at a time. I pop a couple of Ibuprofen and it goes away for a few hours. I’ve had other weird aches and pains, as well, that I just chalked up to running…but now it all makes sense.
Now being clinically depressed may be something that’s totally in my head. I fully admit that maybe I’m just looking for a reason for how I’ve been feeling over the past few months. But when you look at the symptoms and add them all up, it certainly seems like a very distinct possibility, especially where I battled depression before.
For some people, depression is a long-term illness. In 20%-30% of people who have an episode of depression, the symptoms don’t entirely go away. According to the American Psychiatric Association, at least 50% of people who have an episode of major depression will go on to have a second. About 80% of people who have two episodes will have a third.
I’m not saying I’m going through a major episode by any stretch. But I also realize that I may have trouble even trying to figure out how I feel right now. If I’ve been depressed for an extended period of time, I may not even remember what “normal” is supposed to feel like.
So this is going to be a process. I’ve set up a doctor’s appointment to take place next week and I’ll see what he says. I’m open to anything at this point, whether it be therapy or medication. I just want to go back to being the man that my wife fell in love with because I kinda liked him, too.