Posted by: thediygeochemist | April 13, 2011


As I have mentioned before many times, I suffer from chronic depression. Over the last few months it’s been interesting to see how getting divorced has affected the cyclical nature of my moods. Overall, I would say that getting divorced has been very, very good for my mental health.

I’ve said before that the coping mechanisms I’d developed would not change the frequency of my mood swings, but they would change the amplitude (i.e. how deeply depressed I got). Well, leaving my husband is the first thing I’ve ever done that’s changed the frequency! I get depressed less often now. (Reducing your associations with someone who treats like crap will do that for you.)

I’m in the middle of the first serious depressive episode I’ve had since leaving five months ago and struggling to deal with one of the worst side-effects depression can have on a person–paralysis.

Paralysis as in, not being able to get anything done. Well, not quite nothing. My higher reasoning powers have pretty much flown out the window. I get data for my XRD class and then I look at the questions I’m supposed to answer and say…huh? How am I supposed to answer this question with this data? I look at what I’ve done in my research so far and I think about what steps are necessary to get to where I want to go, and I come up with nothing.

And that is what I do when I am actually doing something. The last few days I’ve been mostly sitting in my office and staring into space. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just wallow in despair. I’ve been trying my coping mechanisms but I think I waited a little too long to implement them–just started on Monday, when Saturday was probably the point of no return.


I’m surprised I’ve actually been able to post anything, because usually I don’t post at all when I’m depressed. I can feed myself, I can groom myself, and I can get myself to and from school. Things requiring little thought I can do. But writing? Yeah. That requires thought.


  1. “(Reducing your associations with someone who treats like crap will do that for you.)”

    Yes, I hear you on that!

    I’ve heard that the following 3 things help with depression: exercise, helping others/volunteering, and creative things, such as writing. So, the question is: do you write while depressed and just not post your writings?

    • No, I generally don’t write at all when I’m depressed! I think this has to do with what I mentioned above, namely, no higher reasoning powers. It’s hard to put together anything coherent when depressed.

      I would not put ‘helping others’ and ‘volunteering’ in the same category. Helping others is generally volunteering, but not all volunteer work is created equal. I always do a lot of volunteer work but lately it’s mostly handling bureaucracy and trust me, that does nothing to lift my spirits. At all.

  2. volunteering/helping others may help with mild depression but not with severe or clinical depression. When depression is severe you can barely function in your day to day routine, let alone have anything left to give to others. When your well has run dry, you have nothing left to give. You may still be able to force yourself to carry out the tasks in a volunteer project, but it may not have any positive effect on your mental state or may contribute to your negative mental state by further draining you, that’s all.

  3. I feel you. I’m not depressed, not really, but chronic stress and anxiety can have the same paralytic effect (though not to the same degree). It’s tough. But you will get through it.

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