Depression is a strange beast. It fascinates me as much as it frightens me with its ability to influence my life.
As my last post indicated, I have recently moved countries for work and to live with my partner, so you’d think that I would be over the moon. That’s inaccurate as I am over the moon; having gone from seeing one another every four to six weeks to every day is wonderful and I am truly happy with the move.
But the transition with moving countries, soon to be work and settling in generally has meant that somehow and somewhere along the line I managed to slip into a period of blackness that I cannot wholly understand or explain.
When I have gone through periods like this before there are rough indicators that have led me to recognise what I am experiencing, so I am able to put some things into perspective. For instance, if work is particularly stressful I will ask myself if deadlines need to be met at a particular time, and if there is some slack I make the most of them. Simply, I have some things in place for when/if shit hits the fan.
Although a part of me feels that this particular bout of melancholy has come from nowhere, the one thing I do realise now with experience is that this isn’t really the case. Depression seems to enjoy creeping up on you. I recently said goodbye to a country that I have lived in for three years and to people who I have formed strong bonds with. The final week or so of being there I had this almost constant nagging feeling that I had forgotten something, but I couldn’t pinpoint indeed what ‘it’ was that I was forgetting or why I was experiencing that sensation. It was only when I was literally leaving the country a little over a week ago when it dawned on me; I was leaving something behind, a part of me. I know that sounds terribly silly and even a little pretentious but recognising this caused me nearly to cry in front of the poor taxi driver as he drove me to the airport.
I know that my experiences of depression are nothing like those what some other people experience, where they require daily medication, regular therapy or in the more extreme cases, hospitalisation. But I would argue that, as much as depression exists on a spectrum, I am on the thin end of the wedge, i.e., depression in its ‘mild form’. I am not rendered debilitated by its grip, but when it does pass by and stop for a while I am a shadow of who I believe I really am. It is as though I am wearing glasses or better yet, contact lenses that are permanently smudged. I am observing life part squinting and part physically and emotionally drained from the energy trying to interpret the world around me. And no matter how much I try to clean them, the effort is pointless.
I am fortunate, for the next few weeks I am able to rest and recuperate until the term begins for my new position. At least for now, I am going to spend some time exploring my new home and rekindle the enjoyment I have with some of my hobbies such as photography, travel and writing. And just the mere thought of being able doing these things is stoking a fire in my belly to get started.