There’s a TV show that I watch called Sherlock. It is a modern day Sherlock Holmes, set in New York City, where Watson is a female doctor. I like the show, especially the main actors, I really like them. Anyway, part of the concept is that Holmes is an addict, and the original premise was that Watson was a sober companion who lived with him to help him adjust to life without drugs. Now it is in it’s third season, and in one of the earlier episodes this season Holmes made a very interesting observation. He said that he originally thought of his struggle with addiction as something that he could win, and once having won it would be over, but was just now realizing that wasn’t the case, that it would be a continuing struggle the rest of his life. Well that resonated with me this week as I realized that despite how things have overall been good the last month or so, that 1 bad day last week reminded me that the struggle with depression was not a battle to be won, and then it’s over.
Re-reading that makes it sound kind of grim, that I am facing a never ending struggle, and that makes my life sound hard. But that isn’t really the case. Yes I will likely always have to face this. And I could have bad days or moods from time to time. The thing is I recognize this now, so I know what is happening when one of those moods strikes. More importantly I have tools to deal with it. And most important I now know the triggers that will lead to those moods so I can try to avoid them and be prepared.
Like last week, there was a sequence of events that led up to my ‘breakdown’. There was the broken oven, totally outside of any possible control, but that meant that our meals got kind of screwy. There was the kids sicknesses, which I could not necessarily control, but were kind of predictable, what with sleepovers, wrestling etc. And of course James’ injury was totally unpredictable. But that all got compounded by my having to attend a social gathering that I didn’t really want to be at. And I was kind of initially manic from the Denver game.
To sum up, very little of all that was predictable. But what I could have done was recognize that it was one of those weeks, and focus on finding time to gather myself every night and settle down. It’s kind of hard to describe, but it was the process that I underwent Thursday morning that helped me get a grip. The best way to describe it is I need to get better at early detection as it were, recognizing when the underlying ‘panic’ at life getting out of control is coming up.
And that is what this post is really about. I have developed a lot of skills, learned how to use tools. And all of that is just part of the continuing struggle. It will never be fully over, my brain chemistry + life = occasional bouts of depression. But the better I get at those skills, and using those tools, will lead to a reduction of those bouts and shortening the severity.