I imagine that most people who know me know that I have had recurring bouts with depression over the years, some of them fairly severe. While I have become pretty adept at heading it off at the pass, this past week it hit me pretty hard, and earlier today, while I blathered on about Yoinks and Jinkies, I hit bottom of this particular attack.
One of the annoying things about clinical depression (as opposed to just "being sad") is that there is usually no real antecedent, you just find yourself wandering around hovering on the edge of tears for no good reason. It isn't a real sadness, it's some stupid gland or whatever releasing mood-altering chemicals into your brain, just like taking a drug.
And like being on drugs, it can make you stupid; offhand comments become vicious personal attacks, slight setbacks become world-ending traumas, etc. If you're not careful, and sometimes even if you are, you find yourself doing or saying things that are absolutely out of proportion to the situation at hand ... and when you're back in your normal frame of mind you find yourself saying, "What the hell was I thinking???" But at the time, you either don't realize what's going on, or in your emotional state you just say "Fuck it, I don't care!"
I don't know if there's a cause-and-effect relationship between my lack of sleep and my depression, or in what direction that relationship might be. I'm not sleeping well because I'm upset, which in turn makes it more easy for me to get upset because I haven't had any sleep. I've generally become fairly good at spotting the early warning signs and heading them off at the pass -- the Emergency Day Off I took from work last week was an attempt to short-circuit the downward spiral -- but this time it was too little, too late apparently.
I'm generally pretty reserved and maintain my standard cheerful demeanor on the outside at all times, so I doubt if more than a handful of people would even know something was bugging me unless I told them. But I'm bringing it up because earlier today I got into that "WTF" mode and started getting weird at people (you know who you are). Fortunately I realized what was going on and (hopefully) corrected it before any lasting harm was done ... and a few good friends (and of course the lovely and patient laurie_robey) managed to get me through until I could get a fairly solid nap (the depressive's anti-drug) and a little treat in the form of a Japanese steak house trip that helped knock me out of the rut.
So I'd just like to send out a blanket "thanks, sorry about that" to everybody who was affected, and a general reminder to everyone else -- if I ever behave in weirdly emotional ways that seem out of character for me, please let me know because I'm probably "in a mood" and may not entirely realize what I'm doing.