If you haven’t listened to “The Shape I’m In” by the Band recently, go do that. Then come back and read the rest of this.
Today was a bad day. Not because of anything that went wrong at work, because nothing did. (I’m in Aurora, Colorado, doing training at one of our customers. The classes today went fine. Nothing whatsoever is wrong vis-a-vis work.) But despite the sunny day outside, I’ve been sitting here like a bump on a log for 90 minutes and counting, too lethargic and morose to get up, get in the rental car, go back to my hotel and change, and then go do something.
The last few months have been an absolute fog. If it weren’t for my Outlook calendar, allowing me to go back and say “what the heck did I do the third week of April?” I’d be in even worse shape than I am. A blend of various kinds of depression has sidelined me; I’ve done very very very little with my life and I’ve basically been on automatic pilot.
I last had this problem — to this extent — about five years ago. I felt like my life was going absolutely nowhere and had no real meaning. My friend Sandy challenged me to come walk the DC 3-Day with her, and more out of “what the heck” than anything else, I signed up, did the fundraising, did the walk, and was glad of it. I spent the next five years enthusiastically fundraising and walking in 3-Day walks, gradually becoming fairly widely known among the larger 3-Day walker and crew community.
But for some reason, I am finding it hard to get the same fire in the belly this year. And it’s not because cancer’s been cured or anything like that. In fact, I’ve seen more friends and acquaintances pass away from breast cancer this year than I have in any prior year. For some reason, I’ve been trapped in a perpetual “mañana” attitude. I’ll blog tomorrow. I’ll train tomorrow. I’ll do this tomorrow. I’ll do that tomorrow. And then I never do.
My 3-Day fundraising has suffered for it — I’ve been stuck at $1199 for over a month now and no new donations have come in. Even when I have posted about the event and my fundraising goal, no one’s donated. Would I feel more enthused if people were donating and I was nearing my $2,300 minimum? Maybe. But I doubt it. I’m just swimming in molasses.
I do have things that potentially might motivate me and get me fired up, much as my initial plunge into the 3-Day did back in 2008.
For example, I ran my first-ever relay leg in a marathon on Sunday. I did okay — I ran/walked 5.5 miles in 53 minutes. In the pouring rain and temperatures in the 40s, I might add. Philosophically, I’d like to set a goal of running a marathon next year; it seems like I ought to be able to do 26 miles in 6 hours or less if I can do 5.5 in 53 minutes. (I only mention the 6 hour figure because that’s the cutoff for the Vermont City Marathon. I don’t know what cutoff other races use.) But I’m never going to get faster and develop more stamina if I don’t run.
I should be out running now. I’ve already located a good running trail in Aurora and I’ve had more than enough time to leave work, go change, and head back out to run. But right now I feel so down I could just about cry.
I feel that my depression is almost entirely biochemical in nature. I don’t think it’s due to my personal life issues, although they could be contributing. It’s been very stressful dealing with a very sick cat, and it’s also very stressful coping with my wife’s unemployment.
It may be unfair of me to say so, but I do feel that she could be doing much, much more than she currently is to look for and find work. I know, however, that she‘s dealing with depression, and that doesn’t make it easy for her either. While she’s unemployed, she tends to take out all her frustration and stress on me. Furthermore, she tells me that she has no interest in hearing anything I might have to share, which is at least open and honest of her even if it’s depressing at the same time. I don’t even bother telling her about work or about what’s going on in my life. I’ve tried to tell her about running, but she instinctively tunes me out. According to her, my talking about running makes her feel bad about the bad shape she’s in; she simply finds it impossible to be happy for me that I’m trying to get myself in better shape.
But as I said, she’s dealing with her own depression, and it’s not fair of me to demand perfection from her. Or even a middle-of-the-bell-curve level of attentiveness. She is who she is, and I am who I am, and that’s unlikely to change.
Yes, I am taking medication. I’ve recently been encouraged to double my dose of citalopram, and I’m still taking a nightly trazodone to help me get drowsy and possibly help with depression at the same time. I’m also taking gemfibrozil and simvastatin for high cholesterol (thanks to heredity) and losartan and hydrochlorothiazide for high blood pressure. It seems possible to me that one of the aforementioned drugs could be impacting my depression, but how do you determine which? Drop off one and see if I start doing cartwheels? How long do I have to stay off said drug before I can be sure it was making a difference? What if it’s some odd combination?
I know that running a lot would probably help my mental health. But there’s the whole catch-22 thing: if I ran a lot, I’d feel happier, but I don’t run a lot because I don’t feel happy enough to do so.
I’m concerned about my lack of energy and about my overall fog. I’m contemplating trying to blog once a day, just summing up what the heck I did with my day, to sort of force myself to take stock of things and not drift through life as much. And, as a side benefit, it’d make it possible for me to look back and go “what DID I do that week six weeks ago?”
Normally, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the days getting longer and I used to bounce out of bed early each morning, ready to go out and seize the day when the sunlight came spilling in and 5:30 a.m. — but not any more. We each get only so many springtimes in life — and it’s driving me crazy that I’m throwing this one away.