I think one of the most insidiously cruel aspects of depression is the way it uses feedback loops to defend itself against my recovery. A very simple example is panic attacks, like what often happens when having blood drawn or other medical procedures:
1. Feel anxious.
2. Hold breath.
3. Lack of oxygen causes dizziness
4. Dizziness causes anxiety
5. Hold breath more
6. Etc until I feel so dizzy I'm sure I'm going to die.
Here's how it attacks my social life:
1. Someone's annoyed with me.
2. Refuse to interact so I don't say anything to make it worse.
3. They get frustrated that I'm not responding.
4. I get more anxious from their frustration and hide more.
5. Etc until we're both angry for no reason.
1. Forget to call friend.
2. Too embarrassed to call and apologize.
3. Friend must be really angry now.
4. Ignore friend until they get over me and we're no longer friends
1. Leave the dishes undone a couple of days, even though it doesn't take long and I know I feel better when the house is clean.
2. Jerkbrain says, "Why bother cleaning the dishes, they'll just get dirty again and you'll still live in a crappy house and there will still be spiders in the windowsill."
3. Feel hopeless, leave the dishes undone longer.
4. Jerkbrain says, "What kind of miserable pathetic failure are you that you can't even spend ten minutes to keep the kitchen clean? Clearly you should stop trying at everything."
Right now I'm having problems at work because I'm anxious about how to respond to situations, so I...do nothing. Then I'm embarrassed, then depressed, then anxious again, and still doing nothing, and then I get anxious about my job status...
And it's just so heavy, and seems to take so much energy to just Get Up and Do A Thing that the idea of actually accomplishing significant things seems impossible. And it's easier to give up and do nothing, but that makes it worse, making me feel worse.
I need a way to short-circuit these cycles. I've figured out how to handle conflicts with Spouse by saying "I'm not ignoring you, I'm just having trouble talking" and that helps us both be patient. The thing is if I can get past the panic, I can address whatever needs addressing. But I really need a better way to handle it at work.