This Is Not A
(Lack Of) Progress Report
It's been very nearly a month since I last gave an update on my condition.
I'm afraid that there's very little new to report. I still haven't had a date for my first therapy session, and colleagues in the know have suggested that it could be months before I get one.
My employers have recently contracted out most of their staff welfare provision, and that company's website does offer Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), but they also seem to think that - for the most part - such a very personal, nay intimate, service can fruitfully be offered down the telephone. I don't think so, do you boys and girls?
A dear friend, well versed in the insanitary habits of The Black Dog, suggested to me when I met him in town last Thursday a book which he said had been of enormous help to him. I'm following that up.
In the meantime, I'm still gently (although sometimes not very gently) oscillating between +2 and -5 on the Gloomometer™, although still far more on the negative side than the plus.
After a few weeks' experience, I can only describe the feeling as either:
- as if one's brain has been enveloped in a layer of gauze, or
- like having one's head and shoulders covered in a rather musty, damp and heavy blanket.
The overall result of this is that - all too often - nothing, but nothing seems worth responding to. Things which amused me no longer seem to, and things which engaged my enthusiasm no longer seem to be able to find an enthusiasm with which to engage. Even when I manage to complete some job or other - like the bit of remedial gardening I did last Sunday - I get no sense of achievement or satisfaction from it at all.
(Hell, I don't even find online porn funny anymore! And it is funny for the most part, you know, both the professional stuff and the amateur material which seeks to ape the pros; the terrible earnestness of expression and the appallingly clichéd dialogue combine to make one wonder whether it is all actually being manufactured by religious maniacs out to render the whole notion of intimacy totally joyless and a subject fit only for ridicule).
At other times - when the graph goes seriously negative - I find that all that will suffice is for me to go upstairs, get on the bed and hug my pillow as if it were a lifejacket for half an hour or so.
Another thing I have realised is that no-one who has not suffered from clinical Depression (note capital 'D', there) themselves can - with the best will and all the love and good intentions in the world - comprehend what it does to the person suffering from it. Before the last few weeks, I would have been of their number, associating the term 'Depression' with someone merely 'feeling a bit down'.
But it's a whole bloody syndrome of things, of psychological and physical effects all combined in a particularly debilitating way. Even now, although the hardcore rationalist in me recognises that - in comparison to many in this world - I am (and have been) very fortunate in my life, and although all solid reason and analytical thought tells me that this is all due merely to some sort of neurochemical imbalance, still it doesn't help, because the one thing I find Depression has done to me is that the irrational and the totally subjective hold a sort of dominance over me.
My dear friend referred to above told me that Depression is something which doesn't have anything which could be called a 'cure'; all you can do is arm yourself with strategies to cope with it when it's at its worst.
All the same, I'd like it to go away now, please.