My 5 Warning Signs That I’m Slipping Into A Depressive Episode

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

What are your usual “markers” for when you’re entering a depressive episode?

I’ve been having a rough couple of weeks and just recently decided to take a break from school.
Because… let’s get real, I wasn’t doing any work anyway.

With all this newfound free-time, my daughter and I created a new schedule. We had one at the beginning of the pandemic that’s fallen by the wayside.
Coincidentally, I’m doing the ClickFunnels One Funnel Away Challenge because I’ve been trying to figure out how to get started in the freelance digital marketing world.
The very first video in the course has you write out your daily routine and try to figure out where the OFA Challenge fits into your schedule.

As it turns out, our schedule lately has just consisted of me napping and yelling at Katherine.

We’re pushing a hard reset on our daily routine because I’m starting to recognize my classic signs that I’m slipping into a depressive episode found below:

5. The High Meme Zone (“The HMZ”)
There was an article published in The Atlantic last year with the title “Suicide Memes Might Actually Be Therapeutic”
I didn’t need to even click that article to know that it was relatable AF.

They state that “Typically, suicide memers aren’t mocking suicidal thoughts; they’re commiserating and bonding over being suicidal. Morbid memes, these experts believe, may be a foot in the door to one of the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations: socially isolated young people.”

That’s something I know from experience.
If you look back at my Facebook Timeline you’ll see that I never used to talk about mental health. I never dared to acknowledge that it was even a thing.
Until about 2016. Enter the “This is fine.” dog.

“This is fine.” is such a classic example of ” a picture is worth a thousand words.

For me, dark and depressing meme-posting was a gateway to using actual words to express how I was feeling.
HOWEVER, if I’m doing nothing but posting memes all day, every day, I’m probably in a bad spot.

4. Hardcore avoidance of important tasks
Look, guys, meme-posting all day is hard work. It takes a lot of energy to be your friendly neighborhood meme-lord.
All of that energy spent find you quality memes ends up coming at an opportunity cost of me doing actual important and productive things. Making payments on my overdue car loan, turning in assignments for school, finding a job because the GI Bill is actually not enough to cover all my expenses, re-scheduling psychiatry appointment because I missed it… AGAIN.
Nope, nope, nope.
I choose memes. You’re welcome.

3. Being late to everything
Being late is actually my first marker, but it’s also the most prominent. Being late has caused me more pain than anything else. I used to have nightmares about being late to things. I still do. But after the first few times, I realized… no one’s dead. I guess it doesn’t matter.
Except for when it does.
Like duty section muster and divisional quarters when you happen to be the LPO, or when it gets you get fired from your first civilian job after the Navy. Whoops.

2. Lot of naps
Not good naps either. Stress-naps. Depression naps. In this vicious cycle of not “getting shit done”, naps are central to the hub of “why I’m not getting shit done”.

I avoid important tasks while I spend my energy posting memes, eventually I have posted so many memes that I lost track of time and don’t make it to my psychiatrist’s office on time, suddenly it’s early in the afternoon and I haven’t accomplished anything.
My day is shot anyway.
My body shuts down as soon as I get home and take an unwanted nap because I don’t know what to do anymore.
I’m useless.
I wake up realizing I haven’t done anything with my day.
Wow, I’m a piece of shit.
I can’t fall asleep at night because I took a nap earlier. I post more memes until I fall back asleep and start the cycle all over again the next day.
Why bother with anything? When I’m awake all I do is make other people miserable.
Which leads me to…

1. Yelling at my daughter… like a lot.
When I’m already in the thick cloud of a depressive episode, I’m yelling at Katherine non-stop for the dumbest shit.
She’s 8 years old. She does regular 8 year old things.
But a “regular 8 year old thing” for me turns into a quick downward spiral of how terrible of a parent I am.
Dinnertime is CONSISTENTLY my weak spot.

For example:
She doesn’t want to eat her vegetables.
Becomes:
“Well, she doesn’t want to eat her vegetables because I didn’t introduce her to the right variety of foods at an early age.”
Becomes:
“I didn’t get to do that because I was deployed twice before she turned four years old and in between deployments we had work-ups and inspections; early mornings and late nights, not to mention that homeport shift.”
Becomes:
“I should never have re-enlisted.”
And now I’m angry. I’m angry at her. I’m angry at me. I’m angry at life.
And now I’m yelling. I’m yelling at her about vegetables. I’m yelling about food. I’m yelling about starving children in China/Africa and about how other kids cry because they don’t have food.
How can you fucking possibly be crying about having TOO MUCH FOOD?
WHY CAN’T MY CHILD ACT RIGHT?
WHY AM I YELLING AGAIN?
I’M A FUCKING TERRIBLE PARENT.

This is the exact situation that sent me to the ER last year for shortness of breath.

I thoroughly believe that once you learn your warning signs, you have a much better chance of stopping your depressive episode before you’re in too deep. I think I’m getting better at catching myself in time.
HARD RESET
New schedule.
I feel good about this one.

What are your stressors?
What are your warning signs?
How can you adapt and overcome them?

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