Over the past few days my mental state has been fairly low, dipping and staying beneath my “normal.” A combination of stressors has me feeling like my brain is in overdrive, trying to run across molasses – I can’t run fast enough to actually get anywhere, but if I slow down at all I’ll be stuck. These feelings are exhausting and draining, sapping not only my ability to do things but also my will.

In an older Self-Reflection post I talked about depression has being very distinct from sadness, and how that concept is foreign to many people who have not experienced it firsthand. Tonight I had some fun playing games with friends, but in the back of my mind thoughts and feelings of inadequacy and doubt were ever-present, like a lead blanket weighing me down. It’s worse when I’m not engaged in something fun.

Often advice given those suffering from depression is “go to the gym” or “take up a new hobby” or “read a book.” While these things all generally improve my mood for a time, they don’t do anything to actually address the underlying pathology. Some days it’s a genuine struggle to even get out of bed – not because I don’t want to, but because I’m so intimidated by everything I imagine is on my plate. Even simple tasks like checking email or shaving can be an arduous trek, and some days I just don’t have the mental fortitude to get it all done.

As much as I dislike the “spoons” analogy for depression and anxiety, sometimes it really is apt. Some days even the simplest actions feel like they take everything out of me, whereas other days the actions may not individually be taxing but my total energy/spoon reserve is very low, meaning I run out of gas in short order, unless I’m careful about rationing.

As public and outgoing a person as many people think me to be, maintaining that persona takes a lot – a lot – of energy. When I used to throw parties I’d often disappear about halfway through for half an hour or more to recharge; playing host, even to my own friends, was a taxing endeavor. Nowadays my overall energy is much lower than it used to be, but conversely I’m generally not in as many social circumstances as I once was.

All weekend I had terrible dreams, thoughts that had me tossing and turning all night, waking up feeling like I hadn’t rested at all. Most every one had something to do with unresolved social situations, things that still pain me even after a year or more. On some level I’m sure I feel that I deserve the pain, in some sort of purgatorio, but I also fear that trying to get closure or resolve the situations would do more harm than good – I genuinely don’t want to reopen others’ old wounds and fear that in my attempts to clear the slate for myself, I would be doing just that.

I haven’t been to my therapist in a while, some months at least, and while I genuinely like and appreciate his attitude and approach, I think I need to start scheduling appointments with someone I can see weekly; once every three weeks just wasn’t enough for me to feel like progress was being made.

My workplace was closed for a three-day weekend and I thought having an extra day off where I could just relax and do nothing of consequence would be a good thing, but ultimately I spent it wallowing in my own thoughts. Is that because I didn’t have anything to do (or more accurately, the energy to do anything), or just due to my mental state in general? I don’t think I’ll ever know which begat the other.

No matter what people around me say, I feel like I’m letting everyone down in literally everything I do (or don’t do), which makes for a self-blaming spiral of which I’m currently in the middle. It’s frustrating that, intellectually, I can see these causes and effects, but can’t muster the emotional motivation to seek out changes.

I hope this dip is just a temporary regression, but I may put in a call to my psychiatrist to see if an adjustment of my daily medication is in order, at least until I can get the therapy schedule on-track.