May 4, 2010

Breaking the Cycle of Depression

While considering the last few weeks, I began to see a pattern in my life. I've always had a tendency to become obsessive about my projects from time to time. Sometimes it's this overwhelming urge to reorganize every nook and cranny in the house. Other times it's an outside project like last month's website build. I've even written the rough draft of an entire novel in two weeks once. (I don't recommend that last one, by the way. Lots of eye strain and a first draft with plot holes big enough to drive a semi through were all I got out of that one.)

What they all have in common is I get so involved in the project, for a week or two, I forget about almost everything but the project itself. I have a tendency to skip meals, and either binge or pass out later when it catches up with me, and I give little heed to proper sleep habits. In fact, I get irritable and snappish when pulled away from the project for any reason.

Once I finish, the abuse I put my body through catches up, and I'm exhausted, sore, and quite often sick for a few days to a week afterward. Then insomnia sets in. It's like my body gets so used to being denied sleep when I keep trying to push through, it forgets how to sleep and takes about three weeks on average to remember. Well, about a week in, depression sets in. And it seems the longer the project went on is correlated to how far down into the well I fall afterward.

Now that I've discovered my pattern, I have hope I can break the cycle before it starts again. Taking a sleep aide for three days seems to have broken the downward spiral. I hope to prevent another bout of insomnia and the depression that follows by keeping myself from growing obsessed, thus stopping the cycle forever.

* Picture is courtesy of Microsoft Clipart.

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