How are you?

It’s a simple question. It’s one that I ask of others, often in passing, not expecting a full response. But lately it’s a question I’ve begun dreading, especially at work. On many days, at work, I’m not usually “fine” or “good,” the answers that are most often expected and given. I’m 100% sure that 90% of the people asking the question don’t want the true answer. If I answered truthfully, they likely wouldn’t know how to react. Or they may look at me with pity. But, mostly, I think they wouldn’t know what to do with the information. Of course, I don’t want to put them in an awkward position, or be that co-worker who over shares. My solution to this is to keep my head down, stay in my cubicle and work. I find myself avoiding any face-to-face meetings that I can, minimizing the amount I leave my desk, and generally being antisocial at work.

With friends in the know, the question is easier to answer because I can be honest and open. Most of them are more specific and ask how am I feeling, which is a little easier to answer. Still there are times, especially with friends who are not in the know, when I’m unsure what to tell people. If I haven’t seen them in a while, do I explain that for the last three months I’ve been going through a depressive episode? Would they know what it means? Would it damper the mood of the event? My default has been to deflect the conversation back to them, focus on what they’ve been up to, and this works wonderfully. I get to listen to them talk without having to explain myself.

So, how am I doing? Since I started the antidepressants, been in therapy, and learning some tools I can use to manage my thoughts, my mood has improved. I’m feeling hopeful about recovery. But, in general, I’m still not feeling like myself, like my old, pre-depression self. I’m still carrying around a heaviness and the cloud won’t stop following me around. Certainly the heaviness isn’t weighing me down as much as it had been for a while and the cloud may not be quite so gray. This has been my feeling for most of this week and even with my newly learned tools and assignments of tracking my thoughts, I can’t figure out why I feel this way. There’s no real trigger for it. It’s a constant heavy feeling in my chest just hanging around.

I’m starting to wonder if this is going to be my new normal. Maybe I need to get used to the idea that I’ll never feel quite as happy as I did at one time. Maybe the heaviness is now just a part of me, something I need to embrace rather than try to push away. Maybe this is just my new way of being.

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