Last month I was feeling great. My brother was getting married and there was a lot of excitement leading up to the wedding weekend. There were things to get organized, things to check off of lists, suits that needed to go to the tailor, people who needed picking up at the airport and on and on. There was golfing and boat rides and dinners and lawn games. And this was all in the lead-up. The whole weekend was more or less a whirlwind of activity and family and friends. And all of a sudden it was over.
And I sank into a deep depression.We said our goodbyes to everyone and it was back to the office, back at the grind. It felt as though there was nothing left to look forward to. I tried to play catch-up at work, but was distracted and lethargic. I wasn’t sleeping all that well. I was overeating. I started smoking more than one cigar a day, usually two but sometimes three or four. Puffing away on the front porch waiting for whatever is supposed to come next.
Because there’s supposed to be something else, right? Something else to distract me from my unhappiness, From the slog of wash, rinse, repeat life where I feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.” Get up. Make coffee. Shower. Go to work. Come home. Smoke. Eat dinner. Go to bed. Repeat.
Whenever I’d sit down to work it’d feel like I couldn’t pay attention to whatever I was doing for more than a minute. So I flip back and forth between emails, Pandora, a newsletter article I’m writing, emails, Pandora, go make coffee, stare at a page of the website I need to update, etc., trying to find a productive groove until I realize it’s four-thirty in the afternoon and I’ve managed to do hardly anything. And that makes me feel bad. I’m a failure, I tell myself. I’m lazy. I’m a bum. I can’t do anything right.
So I go home and to relieve the stress I light up a cigar. I try to read but I’m too distracted. I end up watching old Saturday Night Live sketches. I light another cigar because my anxiety is still there. Maybe I grab a late dinner, not eating with my family, but just throwing together something at nine, once the mosquitoes have driven me back in the house from the porch where I’d been steeping in wreaths of smoke. And then I go to bed, thinking of how I’d wasted my day and my evening. And then the next day would be the same, but worse.
In just three weeks things got bad enough that I was late on an assignment for work and felt enough anxiety today that I packed my Clonidine in my laptop bag, figuring I might need it. Well, crying on the drive in about how awful things have gotten was the sign I needed to take the Clonidine once I got to the office.
It worked out as I hoped- it calmed me down and helped me focus on my problems. While I don’t always love the way I feel on Clonidine it was helpful this morning- like I’ve been slowed down just a little bit more than everyone else. I don’t feel distracted, and I can focus on one task at time. I got the late assignment completed and just doing that has relieved some of my distress. I went to lunch with my dad and talked to him about how I’ve been feeling. It was nice to get out of the office and share that with him. Apparently my actions/behavior haven’t gone unnoticed.
It can be frustrating that after more than a year this still happens. I wonder sometimes what does “better” actually look like? Now, don’t misunderstand me, what happened over the past few weeks is nothing like what I went through last winter when I was at the nadir of self-control and managing my emotions. I think back to the questions I got from friends and family at the wedding about whether or not I’ve been feeling better, and at the time I was. And I’m better than I was last year. But, alas, I am still depressed.