October 5, 2015: Three Good Things

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1. Despite waking up to some bad news (personal stuff, nothing, uh … personal … the situation is under control at this time) my mood was pretty chipper throughout almost the entire day. My computer is beginning to frustrate me and I’m thinking a clean install of Windows might not be a bad idea, but it’s not anything that’s greatly affecting my mood. Sure, I’m not looking forward to the process, but I think it will improve my computer’s performance. Might start that process after my show on Thursday night.

2. During the walks that I’ve been taking recently, I’ve started to get winded well before the end of the lap around the complex. Tonight, I didn’t get winded until after I’d climbed the stairs to come back home. My endurance is getting notably better.

3. Today my cat was especially social, spending almost the entire time my wife was at work on the couch with me. She usually naps for a few hours in the afternoon, then comes out a couple hours before my wife comes home for dinner to cuddle with me on the couch, and then hops up with me off and on after lunch. Today she was right there from the beginning and didn’t much leave until my wife kicked her out of her spot upon coming home for the evening.

Bonus: today is day eight of the complete checklist streak.

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A Surge In Energy

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I’ve noticed something interesting about the past two months that really speaks to the nature of depression.

About two months ago, I stopped taking one of my psychiatric medications. The adventure of getting it filled has been a long and well-documented one, but I ran out and through what a comedy of errors only recently got it refilled.

Whether because of the missing medication and its reintroduction into my regimen, or due to a completely circumstantial and coincidental instance of timing, my mood and energy level tanked almost right around the time I ran out of this medication. I could barely get out of bed, and while I made a point of at least taking my meds during this time, there were a couple of days that I didn’t even want to bother with that.

I’ve slept more in the past two months than I think I have during any two month period in my adulthood. But that brings up the point I wish to make.

There were several times during that period that my mood was quite bright, even downright happy, even though my energy level was still practically non-existent. I might have been enjoying life, but I was mostly enjoying it from the bedroom, barely able to lift a finger to do anything close to my usual daily activities.

Again, timed with the reintroduction of the medication into my regimen, my energy level has been slowly increasing over the past couple of weeks, which leads me to this point in my life.

Today I decided that I actually had enough energy to try and accomplish everything that’s on my checklist of things to do. And so far, things have gone well. My checklists are organized more or less chronologically, and I’m up to date with the things that I should have done up to this point. Still have the end-of-day things that usually trip me up left to do, but from this point it should be smooth sailing.

I’m excited about this. It proves to myself that I am capable of functioning at baseline again, something I haven’t been able to do without forcing myself to do it for almost two months.

It also continues to drive home the point that the scale between mania and depression isn’t so much mood-based as much as energy-based, at least for me. Certainly my mood is down as my energy wanes, and as I have more energy my mood tends to improve to match. But I think that the energy leads the way in this equation in many instances. I certainly am not suggesting that drinking a four-pack of Red Bull is the key to avoiding depression; quite the reverse. It seems to be the amount of energy that my body can naturally generate that leads the way to a better or worse mood, but I know of many instances in the past where my mood tanked well before my energy level.

What I will offer is that I believe that mood and energy are intertwined, and when one is higher, the other will tend to follow.

Let’s see how the rest of the day pans out and if it goes well, I’ll be back on later to talk about today’s three good things before bed.