The number one sign that I'm struggling is that I isolate. I've always been more of a homebody than not, but when I'm doing well and feeling good about myself, that shifts: I go out more, I want to be around friends constantly, I get adventurous and excited and eager to do things outside the norm. And when things are rough, I hide out at home. I cry. I watch a lot of TV to get away from my thoughts. I listen to a lot of music to drown out the bad stuff. And then I close my laptop, take out the headphones, and realize how alone I am. The fact that my lonely/depressed cycle is self-perpetuating is not lost on me.
So, I am trying. I went out with friends last night. Last weekend when I was feeling so horrible, I forced myself to go to the office holiday party on Friday night and invited some friends over Saturday night. When another friend texted me with a spontaneous dinner invite yesterday, I went despite feeling fat and stressed. Tonight my college bestie is coming into town to get dinner and hang and keep me company for a night on her way home for Christmas. I've already started lining up stuff to do this weekend, although a lot of people have left town. Basically it feels like my brain needs major stimulation and uplifting right now, and too much alone time would not be good.
Dr. P and I talked a lot about depression today. About how it comes and goes, and is affected by external factors but also has biochemical causes that we don't really understand. About how medication might need to be back on the table.
Right now I am 100% resistant to meds. I still don't trust that Celexa didn't have something to do with my weight gain (although that was not the only reason I came off) and am totally spooked to go back on something. True, I have been in a major rut lately - one that has lasted longer than my usual PMS-related bouts of moodiness. True, depression has chemical underpinnings. True, Celexa was helpful with anxiety in the past. But it was never super helpful for depression, and I went through some of my absolute darkest moments while on medication. So, definitely not ready to try again.
Instead, I'm trying the old-fashioned way. I'm making plans with friends left and right. although it feels completely counter-intuitive. I am trying to have as many positive interactions with people as possible; I had a long conversation with a woman in my office who I don't know very well. I struck up a conversation with the cashier at the coffee shop I visit every day. I have been texting and Snapchatting and e-mailing nonstop, just to keep myself from feeling alone. And now I'm blogging.
Anyway, I guess the point of this was to say that I am still really struggling, but I also feel like I'm doing everything in my power to keep my head above water, to stay social and engaged and busy in the hopes that maybe I can pull myself out of this one. Totally white-knuckling it right now. It doesn't come naturally to me to reach out and try to have fun when I'm feeling down, and I'm pretty proud of myself for trying. I'm also consistently amazed at how much it can help.
Stay tuned. Much love to you all.