There are two very different sides of me that are sort of in an uneasy alignment; they are what I refer to as my emotional (though I think a more accurate term might be depressive) and my ration side. Periodically I get bouts of depression, that the English graduate in me imagines like Yeats’
gyre (see The Second Coming). As my happiness decreases, my depression increases and vice versa, I’m always cycling between the two. With Yeats himself once writing in relation to the gyre ‘The end of an age, which always receives the revelation of the character of the next age, is represented by the coming of one gyre to its place of greatest expansion and of the other to its place of greatest contraction… The revelation [that] approaches will… take its character from the contrary movement of the interior gyre…’1 This fits pretty nicely with how my depression and happiness work, each build until a tipping point and then begin decreasing
I think I might be a tad bi-polar, though I don’t really experience any of the mania. My friend Chrissie who happens to be a mental health nurse doesn’t think I am, her words being “if you are bi-polar, then you’ve got a really good handle on It. You’ve just had some pretty horrible shit happen in your past.” To be honest I think I might just have a really good handle on, and think it’s because of my ration side. For as depressed as I get, the rational side of me knows it’ll pass. For every night I lay in bed whispering to myself that I wish I was dead, I know I don’t really, I know I would never do it.
The biggest turning point came for me when I started considering my depressed periods in the same way you would a headache. If you have a headache you take a painkiller and it helps. Likewise when I’m depressed, I’ve developed a system of cooping mechanisms. For instance, my first temptation, when I’m feeling down is to shut myself away, stay in bed all day and watch box sets, read comics and etcetera. Sure for a while this helps, because it’s distracting me from what’s going on my head. However, come night I’m right back to where I started, with added the bump of feeling like I’ve wasted my day. This is why I try and force myself to get up and out of bed in the morning, (and also why I try to keep a good sleeping pattern) because as long as I do something/anything I usually feel better about myself. In many ways doing stuff is my depression painkiller.
1 Yeats, William Butler, The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats: Volume I: The Poems, (Scribner: New York) p.659.