Saturday, September 10, 2011

Observations in the second month of my diary of a eight month down 11 Dec to 10 January

11/12 A struggle to start on Christmas cards. I was to avoid all present buying and even had no desire to buy the Christmas drinks. Have put off purchases like next season's cricket tickets. Put myself back on the citalopram 20 mg I had left over from the last down. No real enjoyment being off work and no delight when at work.

12/12 Drove to Chelmsford to preach twice. Preaching was not a problem but very anxious about getting there on time and finding parking.

13/12 Getting up later now as no desire for things and always weary. Normal is 6 to 6:30. Now I get up as late as I can. I still keep up my devotions but find little encouragement. I know what is objectively spiritually true but do not feel comfort.

14/12 My one remaining delight is eating and drinking but no desire to eat out. Lunchtime I eat then snooze. No longer enjoy my web and emails. Not doing daily mailing of quotes.

15/12 Parked my car to get a take away, came back and it was gone. Reported to police and insurance.

16/12 Depressed at loss of car. No news from police or insurers.

17/12 Lifted by church men's Christmas party with good food, beer and games.

18/12 Down but lifted by carol singing with church outside Sainsburys in the snow.

19/12 Anxious day. Snow stopped us using the university building for morning srvice and reduced our numbers at the annual evening carol service.

20/12 On my way to work found my 'stolen' car in the road next to the one where I thought I had left it. Covered in snow but no parking tickets despite four days' illegal parking. Spirits lifted. Now feel a happy old fool.

21/12 Better mood but soon tired. Tiredness dogs me when down. Am I tired because down or down because tired? Certainly want none of the daily exercise I did in my last depression.

22/12 More down. When I get up I will make an effort to list things for which I am thankful. But counting blessings does not make me feel blessed. Emotional dissonance. You tell yourself things are good. I do not feel it.

23/12 Down, anxious, stressed. I feel I am not coping with work but my senior assistant says I am doing OK.

24/12 If one is anxious one wonders should one stay in bed and worry or rise and be miserable.

25/12 Managing to be unhappy on the best day of the year. Sermon, lunch, presents and a game of Cluedo helped a little.

26/12 In the last Ashes series down under I was rising early to watch poor England performances. Now we are doing well and I am not interested in rising early to watch them. Miserarable. Anxious about work so not limiting myself to one day at a time. Not even enjoying my food. Anxious travelling to preach at Harmonsworth.

27/12 Struggling day. Found it hard to go out and swap faulty present. A new board game lifted spirits.

28/12 Encouraged by messages from US friends who also struggle with depression.

29/12 Back to work and very anxious as to whether I was coping. My staff reassure me all is well. But I am very lethargic making it all a struggle. There is no delight in one's toil.

30/12 Over anxious but determined to work through it and did without delight.

31/12 Encouraged at only having to plough through haf a day's work before the holiday away.

1/1 With the family but anxious and little enjoyment.

2/1 A sound but unwelcoming Anglican service. Day spoiled by anxiety over work from which I am on holiday. Enough anxiety for stomach pain.

3/1 Down and a struggle to do necessary tasks around the house and emails too. No delight.

4/1 Hard to work but struggle on. I drive to work dreading the day and come home relieved it is over. Only sleep is pleasure.

5/1 Very tired. Lunchtime walk to park but I think such activity makes me even more tired. One is told that physical activity is antidepressive therapy but I fear it makes me more tired.

6/1 A measure of how far down I am is that when offered a free ticket to Arsenal v Leeds in the cup, and a lift there, I am in two minds about going but do accept the kind offer.

7/1 Winning the Ashes did not lift me from my struggles with work. Sleep only at lunchtime. No energy or will to do otherwise. I cannot say the citalopram has any effect.

8/1 Very down but lifted a little by seeing Leeds holding Arsenal to an unexpected draw. Emirates better than the team that plays there.

9/1 Another hard day. Work may have got me down but I am no beter away from it so wonder at the wisdom od advice offered to consider retirement. When I think of it I wonder about our finances and worry, In church I want to pay attention and be blessed but the wretched tiredness robs me of most of the sermons. Good friends to lunch but little or no joy.

10/1 Usual hrd start to the day but lifted in the evening by the visit of old friends from Argentina. Are my downs related to setting my standards too high and being too critical of myself. Other people generally have a much better opinion of me. They do not see the failure which I do and am.

This second month does not really convey the misery except for markers like no joy at Christmas nor over the offer of a free ticket to top level football. Anxiety was the boa constrictor squeezing the black dog. My assistant apologised for Mr Chartwell as my Christmas present. They had bought it before I was so down. It is an excellent first novel exploring depression in the life of Churchill and a contemporary.

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