Most people have stretches of time where they just feel a little bit off. My daughter says she just doesn’t feel “top of the line” sometimes. Not exactly sick, or even really tired, but somewhere below A-OK.
Maybe these lows are predictable for you. Maybe you feel down every year on some important date, or maybe you feel the Christmas blues. In some ways if you can predict it, it’s better because you are mentally prepared to feel less than optimal.
For me, these spells are usually surprises. Sometimes, but not always, after an argument with a friend or, even worse, my husband or kids I will feel a drag. Even if the conflict gets settled, it still usually makes me feel a little gray the next day, or even for a few days. Sometimes, it happens for no apparent reason, and I drive myself nutty trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s like a slight pull on my thoughts, giving everything in my head a slightly negative twist.
The drag might last for a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks. When it stretches to a few weeks I start to wonder, and start hoping to wake up feeling like my normal self.
Of course, there are all sorts of ways to counteract the drag. I’ve written about most of them on this blog at one time or another, but applying what you know is tough in the middle of an emotional downturn. Plus, it’s easier to justify your poor choices when you’re feeling blue – “I’m not going to run today because my head hurts and I just feel so tired. It’ll be better tomorrow and I’ll run then.”
The thing that saves me is that I always expect the weighted-down days to end. I go to bed each nightexpecting to wake up feeling better the next day. Hoping isn’t the right word because “hope” implies it might not happen, and I know that some day, I will feel better. Maybe that’s the difference in clinical depression and a case of the blues.