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I'm a slow learner. Friday July 31, 2015

I'm possibly going to state the obvious. Inside the fog of depression, I didn't really know this until years had gone by, and I wish someone had told me way, way back. This might not be applicable to all but it might be helpful to someone.

Depression has different times.

There is the 'I'm in it and I can't see anything else' time.

There is the 'I've seen where I've been and I have an idea how to trip it up' time.

And the 'I've boxed it, glued the lid shut and sometimes I even crack a smile' time.

Now, for me, I have the first two of these throughout the year. The first one has been my main unwelcome companion and I only rarely shed it. Using Moodscope has helped me see when in the year it is at its worst and that helps me to ride it, like surfing a wave. No. That's glamorising's more like a bucking bronco. The second one is where I'm spending more time as the years pass and it's my aim to grow this time. The last one I have visited before, just the once (properly), and so I know I can get there again. But I also have each of these over a week, sometimes a day, sometimes it changes in the same hour. I might wake up in one, travel to another and head back before dusk.

Part of what I've learned over the years, and what is allowing me to have a little comfort, is to recognise which time I'm in at any one spell. This helps me adapt. I don't always know I'm falling but I certainly know when I've hit and then I can remind myself of where I am and what I can expect of myself.

Before I knew this (and you may all be rolling your eyes at my naivety!) I just felt like sludge all of the time and, without an end time, it really grinds. I never know how long my times will last but it does help to identify them. I may even name them. But I'm not sure they are polite, repeatable names for public posting. In fact I know they are not! :-) They all begin with the same letter.

Do you already look at your depression in this way? If not, then let this roll around your head for a while and see if it might alter any of your thinking. Keep travelling.

Love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 9:04am

Hi RATG- Awesome as usual. So what keeps the depression loop going? One will find the answer in one these critical internal voices that are alive in a depression. The first up is doubt.This voice thinks its being helpful but in reality it keeps us away from new experiences. The next is emptiness- the current moment is never enough, we are not enough, we can't do enough ... leaving us in a perpetual cycle of dissatisfaction..Then there is the irritation voice - why is someone behaving like that? We have the voice of motivation lack which stops us being with ourselves. And the last is the voice of restlessness- this voice wants us to be noisier, busier and ultimately more distracted. If one can recognise these and learn that these voices are not us there is a good chance of escaping from the depression loop.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 11:42am

I have had a very strange night. Explosion of anxiety following intense period of terrible sleep (my lovely son is teething least I think he never can be sure with a baby....either way neither of us is sleeping much!)RATG your blog and particularly HO comments are soooo timely for me in terms of my thinking/experience lately.Thankyou. Jenxx

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 12:33pm

Oh RATG, you are neither slow nor naive! You're ahead of the pack with your objective understanding....and what you say is so helpful in teaching me (us) about these crazy cycles and ups and downs within the space of a few hours, etc. etc. ad nauseum etc. Finding a way to regulate the nervous system so that it returns to equilibrium is the key -- this is what 'normal' people are able to do. I am finding that the wrong foods can really kickstart all those horrible thoughts and the inevitable sewering. Luckily, your poached eggs are never an issue! Have a lovely weekend. Thanks so much. susan xx

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 12:39pm

I agree with Jen, HO. This is very helpful. Brilliant. Thanks so much. And Jen, have you ever tried EFT (a la Gary Craig) when those explosions of anxiety happen? Very quick and might possibly work for you -- i did it one morning and within seconds all the buzzing and anxiety i had awakend with was gone. susan xx

Di Murphey Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 1:14pm

Dearest Room Above the Garage ~
Excellent post with provoking insights. I find your analysis has my name all over it. It appears, to my somewhat speckled mind, that we/I are/am spinning in a web of selfishness ... of me, me, me. Sometimes, I will experiment and perform service for someone less fortunate. This takes the focus off of my grinding, looping sense of self. And, truth be known, it feels really good.

I suppose one could call this a form of avoidance. Not sure ~ still reflecting and playing with it.

Many thanks for calling attention to these three aspects of depression. I will continue to have it "roll around in my head" for many days. Be well.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 1:16pm

HO you are just lovely. You always have a nugget, a sprinkle of fairy dust, a way of tidying us up. Thank you much my friend, love ratg x.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 1:24pm

Jen, the sleep, the sleep, the sleep...I'm a mum too, i found it was more the disturbed sleep (and concern about whether or not it would be disturbed) rather than the amount. The amount is hugely important but I found my attitude was so much better if I'd even just had 6 undisturbed hours rather than 7 with a break. It's hard. But it will come good. I broke my back trying to abide by someone's rule of not sleeping them in with me...learned the hard way that it actually resulted in everyone feeling happier and sleeping a little more. Do what works for you. Stick to your instinct. I'm cheering you on. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 1:28pm

Susan you are so encouraging. I'm generally pretty physically healthy but my sugar cravings have grown...I think sugar is responsible for a lot!!!! Thank you. Love ratg x.

Bitter Young Queer Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 1:31pm

Ive been aware of similar but never put it unto words or conceptualized it. It's helpful to have this. It also brings to mind for me that in the phase of being depressed and not seeing anything else, it isnt much help to have other people telling me it will get better or what is good about me or what good things are in my life. I already know those things, and with enough effort I can think of them on my own, I'm just so depressed they dont matter at that time, they don't mean anything to me...and on some occasions make me feel worse, like I dont have a proper reason to feel depressed and my feelings are invalid.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 1:37pm

Hello Di, good to see you! I understand is with myself. I 'expect' to be well and forget that just because I believe in exercise or meditation doesn't mean I'm actually doing it! Keep rolling my love, love ratg x.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 2:57pm

Hello BYQ, I'm pretty private about my depression (except on here!) because dealing with other people's approach can often be too much. I can't always help them through it when I'm fighting to keep from going under. The truth is you will possibly find more understanding and validation from those who have experienced it, which is why places like here can be an invaluable support. People can often mean well and it's often only through their inability to have lived it that they may not fully understand. A bit like an astronaut trying to explain to us how we might get that rocket into space...
What I find helpful if to have done kind of list, written or mental, that I can call upon did those really bad times. Something that tells me what to this, eat it at these times, sleep st these times. Like a survival kit. In times of great mental duress it can help to be told what to do...and you are your best trainer there. You always have proper reason and you are valid. You don't need to justify your depression, you just need to know you can support yourself through it in any way you can in the absence of anyone else.
Don't be a stranger. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 31st 2015 @ 4:45pm

Yes sleep so important,sometimes the lower amount is better as l feel it is a deeper sleep if that makes sense. Even 2/3 hours deep sleep better than 6/7 up every hour/two as can be at min! Plus I had slipped into some unhelpful negative thought cycles without perhaps realising how far. He did end up in our bed last night and only woke once(!) We never went down that route with my first son &he sleeps well now...but each child is different. So we'll see. But my older son helps remind me as we say on here THIS WILL PASS!And I will no doubt come to miss these magical first years when I'm older and they no longer want to be so close. Well not in the physical sense they are now. Hopefully we'll always b close though!Thankyou again. Jenx

Anonymous Sat, Aug 1st 2015 @ 4:56pm

This is a good post, RATG. I am finding that when I'm aware of my condition, things are clearer. Yesterday, I weighed up the pros and cons of chastising a noisy teenager in a library, while I surfed away.
I spoke out. They informed the library staff. The librarian came over, and without pausing I calmly asked her if she thought stampeding teenagers in a library was acceptable. No answer.
Having attempted a Primary PGCE ( before I was diagnosed ) I look back with no bitterness. I shook for the next few minutes and left the library. That is adrenaline. Or maybe it was muscle memory. All the times of NOT speaking up when something needs to be said. I hope that I have not offended any hopeful ones in the audience. If I have, I couldn't care less. You weren't there. Love, Rich x

Anonymous Sun, Aug 2nd 2015 @ 3:08pm

Good to see you Rich, as long as we are polite, then I don't think pointing this out was a bad thing at all. I'd probably have done the same. The shaking I understand...I get that all the time when speaking up. Keep focussing on you. Love ratg x.

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