After one has suffered through several episodes of depression, they can easily identify the signs and symptoms of a relapse . I am presently working through my most recent attack of depression and I’m finally starting to feel a bit better. If I wasn’t, I would not be capable of writing this blog post.
During a serious bout of clinical depression, I rather quickly lose most of my ability to function mentally, emotionally and physically. Don’t ask me about spiritual effects. I’ll just say that one’s relationship with God or their higher power comes to an abrupt halt. I will write more about the negative spiritual destruction of depression in future installments.
When I am seriously depressed my future life appears very bleak to me. My worst depressions occur during the months of December and January. As I’m now 66 years old, I look at my future with dread during a depressive episode. I hate the Christmas season with a passion. This time of the year is the most debilitating for my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
I have noticed a strange characteristic of depression. Being episodic in nature, the person with this disease will sometimes experience periods of remission. During times of remission, I feel like a different person. My wife also notices a significant improvement in my general demeanour. During these periods of relief from the symptoms of depression, I appear to enjoy life. Unfortunately, even when I’m not suffering from a major depressive episode, under the surface a mild or moderate form of depression continues to exist. This condition is known as double depression.
Around the last week of November I experienced a rather sudden change in my mood. I am presently retired, but still do substitute teaching from two to three times a week when I feel up to it. On the whole, I enjoy my part-time job. Ironically, when my most recent episode of depression first manifested, I was coming off three or four very successful substitute teaching assignments.
Normally I would feel quite encouraged by this. However, near the beginning of December 2018, I contracted an upper respiratory infection. As I’ve been diagnosed with a moderate case of COPD, my colds and flus are severe in nature and can hang on for one to four months. When I get one of these bronchial infections my regular daily activities come to a sudden halt. I become so physically debilitated that I am left to spend most of my day on the couch due to the almost complete depletion of my energy resources. Even a task as simple as brushing my teeth becomes a monumental activity.