Last Friday, I hit a wall. I ran out of energy. I thought it was a depressive episode at first, triggered by hormones, a unique facet of depression that only biological females have to contend with. Then it stretched out for a week of exhaustion, of headaches and dizziness, of a slightly elevated pulse, of a need to constantly nap or rest. Now I’m not sure what it is, if it’s depression that has extended itself into physical symptoms or a physical condition that’s causing me to be exhausted and subsequently depressed. Given that cardio – either running or cycling or HIIT – is a key part of my self-care and depression maintenance, it may just be that my inability to muster the energy for exercise is making the mental condition worse, feeding into the cycle.
Whatever it is, I would like it to stop so I can have my life back. It feels like I’m in caffeine withdrawal, like someone has swapped my two cups of high octane organic coffee with decaf. It feels like the norepinephrine and dopamine that my antidepressants are supposed to keep in my brain are missing again. It feels like any and all stimulants, whether from the antidepressants or from caffeine, are simply missing, leaving me in a state of withdrawal and misery and exhaustion. It feels like my batteries are drained. Maybe I’m sick, maybe I’m depressed – I have too many x– factors to be able to tell.
I thought it was enough that I already spent hours every week trying to hack my brain and correct the chemical imbalance I was born with. I have a problem with my brain’s wiring, an inherited depressive condition that causes a complete lack of motivation. Superficial research indicates that this is a problem with the receptors in my brain: I do not get any sort of positive reward for tasks accomplished or for actions that should give me joy. Hence, a sort of Eeyore-ish response of “why bother?” to every possible action. Why accomplish anything? Why even get out of bed if there are no positive emotions to be had for it?
This is not the best way to live my life right now. I’d like to have my normal existence back now please. Perhaps there is a physical reason I feel this way. I hope it’s something I can figure out, fix, and get back to my normal existence