It’s a long-held tradition in my family that the month of February is the best time to get really depressed and despondent about nothing in particular. I say “tradition”. It just seems to sort of happen sometimes, and as someone who struggles with depression at the best of times, I’m certainly not exempt from the February Blues.
I thought this year that I’d got away with it. It is, after all, almost the end of February and here I am having been feeling reasonably positive about things recently. I’m working, I’m enjoying it, I’m living in a place I like with a person I love and generally, things are pretty hunky-dory, whatever that means.
The last couple of days have seen a marked downturn in my mood, however. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, the fact it’s still getting dark quite early, the fact I’m tired, the fact I’m not sure if I’m ill or just have a bit more flatulence than usual — basically, though, something’s got my goat and is jiggling it around furiously, refusing to let go. (Note: “goat” in this instance is not being used to refer to my penis. The grabbing of that, refusing to let go and jiggling around is normally quite pleasurable, but that’s a topic best saved for another blog altogether.)
This is the frustrating thing about depression, particularly seasonally-affected depression, which is what I assume the “February Blues” are all about. There isn’t always a reason for it. Sometimes you just wake up of a morning, consider getting out of bed and realise that no, there’s not really anything exciting out there and it’s actually quite warm under the duvet and wouldn’t it be nice if you just closed your eyes again for a couple of minutes and relaxed and shit it’s midday and so on.
The above-described is also laziness, lethargy or whatever you want to call it, but it can be brought on by an irrational black mood. Sometimes the world is just inherently unsatisfying, leaving you wondering if there’s something better you could be doing, some greater purpose to your life.
Inevitably, the answer to those questions is “no”, so after a while you settle back into a nice comfortable routine of doing what you do and finding the whole thing perfectly satisfactory.
Sometimes asking those questions spurs you on to do other things, though. It’s from feeling bleak and wanting a convenient outlet that I started posting these daily blog entries after all, and now I feel they’re a big part of “me”. It’s just habit now, but when I casually mention to someone that I’ve written a blog post of varying quality every day for the last 770 days, they usually seem quite impressed. Most of them, too, are kind enough not to mention that if I hadn’t been wasting my time writing nonsense like this every day, I could have probably churned out a ton of novels by now. (I know this. Shush.)
Similarly, it’s from feelings of bleakness and blackness that I have started on exercise journeys several times — though at the times of the bleakest blackness it’s sometimes difficult to motivate oneself to proceed. (This is where a structured, scheduled programme like Couch to 5K comes into its own, as you then have feelings of guilt to contend with if you miss a session. Guilt is a powerful motivational factor, particularly if it doesn’t hurt anyone but yourself.)
Will these feelings spur me on to do anything this time around? I don’t know. I have a few irons that are not-quite-in-the-fire-but-at-least-somewhere-near-the-fire right now that I might give a poke from tomorrow. As previously mentioned, I’m running through Couch to 5K again. I’m still blogging. And I’m making sure to take the time to talk to friends both online and off.
February’s nearly over. And when it departs, may the colour come back to the lives of any of those of you who have been afflicted with a surfeit of blue.