Like any disease, once you are diagnosed with severe chronic depression, you learn the warning signs. Those clues that your body gives you that say, "There's a storm a-comin'." Mine, for all these years, was simply wanting to sleep all the time. Or, at the very least, stay in bed all the time. When I would get to that point, I knew it was time for a medication change or a dosage tweak.
In the past month or so, however, my depression has become genuinely physical. I feel it crushing me from all sides. My body aches from it, and the only relief I can find is lying down. Not sleeping, necessarily, but getting off my feet. Horizontal has been my only comfort.
All that to say that depression is insidious. It drains you of joy. It steals your energy. It wreaks havoc on your will. It is easiest to stay inside your house because you don't have to make an effort to shower, or get dressed, or have a conversation. And so you stay home for more and more days, and your interest in going out ebbs away, which fuels the depression, which forces you back into yourself. . . You can see where this is going.
A couple of months back, my therapist gave me the assignment of getting out of my house every day. Every day, do something that would get me up and headed somewhere. I did okay for a while. Until I ran slap out of ideas of places to go.
So, my therapist suggested finding a volunteer opportunity, or a group or club that I could get involved with. She even suggested a website where I might find areas of interest: Meetup.com. Dutifully, I checked out the site, found nothing that grabbed me, and then did something that, even now, shocks me.
I decided to start a group of my own. A knitting group, naturally. And we have our first meeting next week. Eight people have "signed up," which is about seven more than I had expected. And I'm looking forward to it.