I’ve been talking for a while now about the fact that I’ve been struggling. Back in February I wrote about how I was suffering from seasonal depression, and in March I thought it was getting better (and to be fair, I was at that time). I’ve written about lots of little struggles with patience, with motivation, with capacity. I’ve always tried to end on a hopeful note about all of it, but this week I’ve had to admit the truth to myself: I’m depressed.

The signs are all there. I’m tired even when well-rested. I have no motivation even for things I want to do. I’m forgetting everything. I’m crying after social events even when I’ve had a blast because I’m just so worn out. I don’t even have the energy to play video games. I’m eating too much junk food. I haven’t touched my novel this week and I have two short story rejections that I haven’t done anything with for two (maybe three?) weeks. I haven’t been going to my writing meetings. I even forgot for most of today that I was supposed to write a blog entry.

Before anyone panics, please know this isn’t new. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager. I have good self-awareness of it and how it affects me. I have coping mechanisms and know how to take care of myself. I’m not in any danger. It comes and it goes, generally linked to how much I’m feeling in control of my life.

And I am feeling very out of control, for a lot of reasons. I don’t want to air all my dirty laundry but I think we can all look at the news and see some good reasons one might feel out of control of their life right now. That’s not the whole story for me, but it’s definitely a contributing factor. A lot of people I’ve spoken to are having similar issues. It’s difficult right now for those of us prone to sadness and melancholy even at the best of times.

I know myself, and the only way for me to get out of this pit is to re-establish some sense of control. Obviously, I can’t control the world at large and everything that affects me. I have to focus on those things that are manageable and show myself that I am in charge of them. It has to start with small things; I don’t have the capacity for large changes right now.

I managed a few small things this week. I cleaned the bathroom. I got myself to my Saturday writing meeting for probably the first time in a month. I chipped in with my neighbour to get pigeon netting put up on our shared balcony so those blasted birds can’t wake me up at 5am. I ordered a meal kit so I actually eat some vegetables and don’t order out this week. I answered an email the same day I received it and not a week late.

That probably sounds like bare minimum adult functioning, for those who aren’t depressed. For me they’re unwinding threads of my life that I’m grabbing and weaving back together, in an effort to get this tapestry to hold something resembling its shape. They let me point to this one little corner of my life and say “See? It doesn’t look so bad, does it?” even while a whole other section is unravelling.

It’s not that I can ignore that larger unravelling bit. It will, most certainly, have to be addressed. It’s about building a little confidence that I’m capable of doing it and that I can break that big problem into smaller ones that I’m mentally able to manage. The big problem overwhelms me and makes me feel helpless. The helplessness is where the depression takes root and starts reaching into every other part of me. I have to clip those smaller tendrils before I tackle the taproot, lest they sprout their own problems later.

And now I’m mixing metaphors. Am I tending plants or weaving tapestries? I could go back, rewrite those paragraphs and sort it out. Maybe I even should. But part of my way of coping with depression is to give myself permission to ignore the things that, in the grand scheme of things, will affect nothing. Mixed metaphors definitely fall in that category. Be it a weedy garden or a fraying tapestry, I’ve got bigger issues to deal with, one thread/root/problem at a time.

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