It’s Christmas Eve day, and I know I’m supposed to be happy and all, but I’m not. And that sucks.
I want to be happy. Depression is not a choice, it’s an illness. I was fine 24 hours ago. Felt great, excited to be on vacation for 10 days, looking forward to seeing family. All it took was a few stressful hours and a severe lack of sleep and now I don’t want to move off the couch. I don’t want to face all those smiling faces today and tomorrow. I don’t want to put up with people asking me how I am, no matter how heartfelt. I don’t want to paste a fake smile on my face and spend all my meager energy interacting with people.
My depression used to be fairly mild. Looking back, I can see that. It was always there, just below the surface, but wasn’t enough to stop my life. Now things are much different. And every bit of escalation is because of my sleep issues, I know it.
As a logical, analytical person. I identified almost 15 years ago that one trigger for my worsening depression (as well as some of my other health symptoms) was lack of sleep. Since then, numerous studies have proven that sleep deprivation affects everything from your ability to drive a car (you’re actually worse than a drunk driver) to your ability to control your emotions. [Sorry, all. Normally I’d provide citations for this stuff, but not today. Today I don’t have the motivation to look it up. Just google it if you want to check my conclusions.]
Unfortunately for me, the one sleep study I had showed my sleep was “normal” – even though I slept like shit that night. I don’t even have something as simple as sleep apnea. I had both the regular nighttime test and the daytime multiple sleep latency test for narcolepsy. This one test combo cost me $1,000 and I got exactly zero benefits from it. In fact, having the tests done made things worse, because now none of my doctors believe I have sleep issues at all.
I refuse to waste another $1,000 only to have doctors mock me and my so-called fake illnesses again. So I muddle through on my own. I’ve tried sleep therapy, regular therapy, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, OTC sleep aids, muscle relaxers, herbals, heat – you name it, I’ve probably tried it.
So this morning I get up before the alarm after I realize I won’t be able to sleep anymore and resign myself to being exhausted today. Then as I wrestled with the alarm clock I started sobbing uncontrollably. It’s amazing what will set you off when you’re tired and depressed. Something as simple as an alarm clock and all the negative thoughts in my head start screaming instead of whispering – you’re not good enough, you’re too stupid to figure out an alarm, why do you even bother, what’s the point of doing anything anymore, you’re such a waste of time, you’re such a burden on everybody….
I don’t have any solutions. In fact, there’s really no point to this long rant. However, I know so many people struggle this time of year, especially when it comes to depression. To all of you, I want you to know you’re not alone. There are people who do understand. We will get through this. Don’t give up.