I woke up this morning, stared at the ceiling, and realized I’m having a little episode of depression. Sometimes, it takes awhile to notice, to sort out a temporary low mood from the more pervasive gray fog. That would also help explain the malaise I’ve felt over writing. Not just here…communicating in any form has seemed unduly burdensome for several weeks now. Aha.
My particular version of depression is really pretty mild, and it usually drops by for a visit around this time of year. I just forget each autumn, until something finally clicks and I remember that this is normal (for me). Plus, a few other difficult things have been going on, and grief and worry have probably helped tilt the scales a bit. It always feels better to realize the underlying brain chemistry, even if it doesn’t magically fix anything. And it hasn’t been awful, just persistent.
Plenty has been written about alcohol and depression. I’m not sure I have much to add, really — alcohol can serve as temporary relief from some symptoms, but makes the whole thing much worse over the long-term, as I found out first-hand. I suppose it’s possible that drinking more than planned in August & September helped fuel the depression, but it’s also possible that some underlying depressive symptoms helped me decide to drink more…the eternal chicken-and-egg kind of question, without a clear answer.
I don’t have a magic fix, but I do know a lot of things that seem to help my depression pass a little more quickly. I also know that any of those things, usually so simple, can seem like an overwhelmingly enormous obstacle when depression really has its claws in. Actually, that is one nice thing about abstaining from alcohol on any given day — it takes a lot less active effort than something like a half hour walk, but still qualifies as doing something good for myself. It’s a good time to do as many of those things as possible, while also accepting that what is possible for now might be kind of limited.
Aside from that realization, I have finally accepted that fall is 100% underway. Sitting outside under a steady rain of yellow-brown leaves this morning was pretty convincing. It’s a beautiful time of year here, and I hope to get out for some good fall hiking if the weather continues to hold. Just not right this moment. Today is going to be more about hot cocoa, laundry, and a good book, I think.