Thought of the Week: Light in the Dark of the Year

There’s something wrong with me, and not in the way I usually mean. I’m sitting at my computer, drinking tea (second cup this morning), writing this post. That in itself is unusual, considering my state of mind recently. I’m listening to Christmas music. Christmas music. That’s highly unusual, no matter what. Worse than any of that, though, is that I actually feel … well, reasonably well.

Those of you who’ve been following me recently will know that, in the past few months, I’ve been through an exceptionally severe depression—one that nearly led to my death (or at least hospitalization). Thanks to my family, I managed to get back on the medication I so desperately need, and after a slightly unstable upward swing, I’m now settling into a more stable routine. I take my meds every day; I try to go for walks when I can; I’m trying to watch what I eat more. I’m going to therapy regularly.

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while will know that all of this is fairly strange for me. Winter in general, and the holidays specifically, usually drag me down to no end. It’s always slightly better than my birthday (which remains for me the lowest part of the year), but usually I don’t end my doldrums until spring at the earliest. (Even then, there’s usually something at any time of the year to make me feel depressed).

I’m even tracking my mood now with a great little app called iMoodJournal. It’s actually very nice, primarily because the interface is very simple, but it gives fairly powerful analytics at the end of it. You start by simply rating yourself on a customizable 1-10 scale. From there, it plots your mood over hours, days and months, to give you an idea of how you feel at different times of the day, different days of the week, and over the course of weeks.

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The best correlation I’ve had so far is that I definitely feel better in the morning, and worse at night. This is curious, since I’ve never considered myself to be a morning person. But the data doesn’t lie (supposedly)!

Anyway, I don’t really have much point to any of this, except to say that, for the first time in many years, I actually feel reasonably well at a time of the year when I’m normally as depressed as can be. (Oh—I can’t say ‘depressed’ anymore. My therapist wants me to shed that label. I’m supposed to just say ‘sad’.) So happy holidays to you all, and may light continue to shine in the dark for all of you!

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