For the last four days I’ve been stuck in a state of grey, (no relation to the book/film I assure you.) It’s a difficult thing to describe; numb, void, empty. In effect, I’m a zombie, a grey zombie.
I suppose you could compare it to a mild form of depression and I can recognise the signs by now. It’s easier to hide than anxiety, but just as present and much more selfish in nature. When in a state of grey I have no desire to do anything or see anyone. Talking is a chore, as is showering or even brushing my teeth. All I want to do is sleep or watch television.
This morning Dan noticed. I didn’t get out of bed until 8:00 (I’m normally up by 7:30 at the latest.) Eventually I rolled my body out from under the covers and into the coldness of the flat. (Dramatic I know.)
In many ways I hate the state of grey far more than panic attacks. Why? Because it steals a part of me, squatting inside my body like a toad. It’s a weight and a dark cloud that I fear will never leave. To a certain extent everybody has days when they feel low. Heck the Monday blues is a famous saying! So whilst writing this, all I feel is self-loathing. I’m pathetic. Why can’t I just get on with it like everybody else does? BUT – I’ve had enough experience by now to understand that this way of thinking only makes things worse.
I know what triggered it this time, I’m starting to notice a pattern, which I suppose is positive. During periods of extreme stress/excitement my body buzzes with adrenalin and various other hormones. However, when the event in question has passed, the adrenalin levels plummet, which has a knock on effect with the serotonin in my brain. In a nutshell, my brain experiences a burn out and shuts down in order to recuperate. It can take a few days or maybe a week, during which I am zombified.
The presentation last week was the trigger and even though I felt elated in the days following, by Thursday I noticed a rapid drop. Selfishly, I wanted to lock myself away and not talk to a soul. When in this state I temporarily do not care about anything, no matter how important it might be to someone else. Believe me, I HATE this aspect of the grey.. it’s monstrous and cruel. I don’t recognise myself.
Alright, venting over. As always it’s now time for action. Whilst I can’t force myself to feel better, there are things that I can do improve my chances. I had my weekend of TV and rest, which was probably a good thing… and now I need to gently get back on track, no matter how little drive I have. I think it’s important not to indulge any habit for too long, as the brain can become dependent on it. I can’t spend my life in bed or on the couch!
So tonight, even though all I want to do is crawl home and under the duvet, I’m meeting a friend of mine for a few drinks. It’s a good thing to be social, it’ll feed colour into the grey and I’m at least guaranteed a few laughs. I also want a give Dan a break from my current mood. He bears it well enough, but I’m sure he’d welcome a few hours of xBox time!
Tomorrow I will force myself out of bed at 7:00am, even if it makes me cry. This will break the habit. I might even use the opportunity to take Rigby out for a morning walk (probably against her will.)
As for this afternoon? Despite not feeling hungry and having ZERO energy to leave my desk, I shall force myself out of the door to buy lunch. The rest of the day will be spent listening to podcasts and tackling lengthy but mindless tasks. “Just keep swimming,” as Dori would say. Over analysing how I feel or what might happen has never been a useful activity for me. Instead it’s better to keep my hands moving and my mind distracted. I’m not saying that it will be easy, but this strategy has worked for me in the past, and I use the past successes to draw strength.
Hopefully this post hasn’t depressed anyone else! I expect the grey will lift and I’ll be myself again by next week.