Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s a common symptom to many of us who suffer from depression, but I have noticed a phenomena I call “pre-depression”.
What is it?
The best way I can describe it is as an aura to depression, like the auras that often serve as a precursors for migraines. It’s the ominous feel that something is coming. Something big, something bad, something I have felt before- something I cannot prevent from coming again.
Maybe it is depression itself, like the early stages of a disease- the first symptoms as it were, but it somehow feels different.
Pre-depression isn’t as all encompassing. It isn’t as heavy and suppressing as advanced depression. It’s like the grey sky that signals rain than the dense fog of depression. With pre-depression, I notice that something is off. You have a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right, but I can’t figure out what it is. Finally, I realize that I feel listless, rootless, and pointless. I’m not sad. I’m not numb. I’m not irritable, tired, or apathetic yet- but I know I will be heading that direction soon.
For me, the pre-depression stage can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Sometimes, I am able to stop the pre-depression from progressing to full depression with some R&R, meditation, and conscious willpower. More often than not, the pre-depression steadily leads into full- suffocating- depression.
This time around, I noted the first signs of pre-depression on June 22, 2018. I wrote in my journal:
“Lately I’ve been in a weird state of mind. For the most part I’m happy, or content at least, but I can still feel the anxiety and depression waiting for surface. I’ve been trying to distract myself from it, but I know that’s just a temporary fix. What I need to do is allow myself to be in the moment and feel that I feel. Once I’be felt what’s really happening I can deal with it in a healthy manner (note: I should have my therapist read this to prove that I am metacognicent in my breakdowns). Unfortunately, ignoring it is easier. In an attempt to live in the moment I re-friended a little black cat last night. I called the little cat “Spooky”. I left tuna out for Spooky but B (my sister) came home and threw it away because she doesn’t want to attract strays and raccoons. she’s right, but I kind of need a cute little friend like Spooky. I spend most of my time alone. Usually, I don’t mind, but when little Spooky followed me home I started to realize that I am actually lonely.
There you have it- the first moment I realized the old ghosts of my mental struggles coming back. There is a bright lining though. I did end up adopting the little black cat I mentioned in my journal. On September 22, 2018, when I moved out of that apartment and into a place that allowed pets, I took that little Spooky-girl with me. Her name is Aspasia- named after the famous, female, rhetorician- nicknamed Spooky, Spooky-girl, and ‘Spasia. She is 1-year old this Halloween. She is friendly, loves people and cuddles, and is now my official emotional support animal. She offered me comfort in the first warning signs of depression, and she is now helping me cope through the therapy.