After the Depression Hits

I’m feeling much better than I was yesterday. It was like some weird little bug crawled into my brain and took over the sadness controls for a bit. I cried on my drive home from behind my sunglasses, then forced myself to sit down and do someone homework. After this forced-focus session, I felt better – normal, even.

I keep wondering if these little bursts of depression are symptoms of something more intricate and complex happening to my brain chemistry. And if they are symptoms of that, I’m curious about what, exactly, is going on. I’m sure it’s something about neural pathways reconfiguring themselves out of the connections that were made and reinforced during my drinking days, back into more “normal” pathways.

The little bursts of depression I get rarely last longer than a day; most frequently, it’s a half-day or even just a few hours of being mind-numbingly depressed, after which point I start to level out again. The bursts are less frequent now than they were during the first 2-3 weeks, as well.

I’m 10.5 weeks into this whole deal, and it’s hard for me to know exactly how much re-configuring my brain actually has to do. It can be frustrating and even a little scary when the little depression monster pops his head up out of the ground; it tries to make me believe that life is pointless, that I’m not worthwhile, that there’s a good reason my ex-husband left me and my current boyfriend won’t express his undying love for me, that I’ve got no friends, and that there’s no use for any of this at all. But, even as it’s telling me all this, I fight myself and my own thoughts and keep trying to remind myself of why these things aren’t true.

And so, there it is. A real-life encounter with a short burst of post-withdrawal depression. Who knows how closely it’s tied to my past drinking habits, but it sure as shit wasn’t like this before – hell, everything was pretty numbed out to the point of being mostly level, unless I had a drunken fit of sadness or anger. I can only hope these symptoms continue to lessen in their frequency and duration as I gain more days of sobriety; it’s hard to think that I might have something bigger than I can reasonably handle through lifestyle factors, talk therapy, psychoeducation and mindfulness.

But, I’m taking it one step at a time. Today is day 74. I felt much more motivated at work today, and had an informational interview with a local crisis residency in my city, as part of an assignment for my Crisis & Trauma-Informed Interventions class. Very interesting and important stuff!

One thought on “After the Depression Hits

  1. soberisland says:

    I crashed my sobriety on day 76 due to depression. I was getting waves like you describe and then it hit me hard. So, don’t crash. In retrospect, I realized, thanks to a woman I was listening to on a podcast, being mindful and doing what you describe about changing neurological pathways gets messy. It can get harder before it gets better. Extra self care I think is the ticket. I’m sorry you are going through this, I can so relate. It will in the long run be better…. I hope. That’s the whole point to doing this, right?

    Liked by 1 person

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