November was a month of magic. A month when I decided I was going to do a handful of things and actually did all of them. It left me feeling invincible and with the certainty that in December I could continue with this same insane progress. And I believe that to be true. But I started noticing symptoms of things I’ve been fighting hard to avoid slowly slipping into my life.
By the time we were heading to my folks’ house for Thanksgiving our fridge was empty. A combination of already-eaten leftovers and neglecting to go grocery shopping. My writing was still happening, but I noticed I was feeling uninspired by it. Everything felt repetitive and anything but prolific. I figured I could chalk it up to holiday jitters and I just went on living.
Then Monday happened. That tiredness and lack of motivation that I always try to blame on my thyroid, but know that if I took my medication then the accusation just doesn’t really stick. I managed to shake it off and get most of the things I needed to do that day done anyway. I finally went running, I showered, I made dinner, I did the laundry. I just never really got dressed or engaged in anything particularly meaningful.
That’s about the time it struck me. All these seemingly inconsequential and unrelated things are exactly the things that happen to me when I’m falling into a depression. I gritted my teeth and braced myself. Shaking me head and breathing heavy I tried to see if I could outrun it, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it already had me. Do the symptoms show themselves after the depression has set in or do they serve as warning signs that I have to up my efforts to avoid its grip?
This is a new approach for me. The idea that these episodes are something I can support myself through rather than immediately giving in to. That my biology, my chemistry are not things that I simply fall victim to. I’ve recently been grabbing hold of this belief that if I pay attention I can minimize the damage of these things. I can sleep more. I can eat better. I can connect with friends and write furiously. I can run harder and lift heavier. I can take more vitamin D and keep lists of things to discuss in therapy. I can make sure I’m taking my thyroid medicine and doing all the things my doctors tell me I should be. I can’t cure this, but I can support myself in a way that makes every day more tolerable than it used to be. And these symptoms, these clues don’t have to mean anything. They can simply serve as a reminder of how easy it is to lose track of these believes. A reminder that if I lose focus I can easily be right back where I was last winter. Right back to where I don’t want to be.