19 February 2004

The Vicious Cycle

Depression is a terrible thing. And I'm learning to read the signs.

First I'll start craving for food I don't need and eating way out of control. Then I look for things to spend money on, crawling through the shopping mall.

Next I oversleep. Before I know it, I can't get out of bed, I can't start work in the morning, I'll overdose on coffee for the kickstart, which makes me more tired and unable to work. And so the vicious cycle continues... till something dangerous or damaging happens. People closest to me suffer the most.

Reading Archibald Hart's 'Unmasking Male Depression' has given me some insight. Before I wouldn't realise I was blue/depressed until I reached my worst. At least now I can stop myself and ask, 'Why am I overeating? Why am I sleeping so much? Am I depressed? What's going on here?' and take a first step towards healing. Nip it in the bud. Deal with the problem before it spirals out of control.

I have a long way to go in learning how to manage stress and emotions. But it's a journey worth taking.

Observing my cycles of depression, a clear pattern emerges. There is always a protracted period of stress/overwork and disregard for planned rest and reflection. Interestingly, procrastinating on work that has been planned also results in the same pit of depression. The rhythm of work and rest cannot be violated. It's true that I can't rest until I've fully worked, nor can I work without having fully rested.

Life can be a joyful balance of both work and rest, the joys of each flowing into each other. What a joy it is to learn this.

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