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​Hitting a down cycle

I'm can feel it in my bones. It's a greyness at the edge of my mind. I'm hitting another down cycle, and I just hate that my body does this to me.

I've always had cycles of being up and down. It's not as severe as being manic-depressive, but it's certainly a rhythm that exists outside of external circumstance. Nothing triggers me being down. Everything might be going great in my life, but one day I realize I've sat at my desk all day and done nothing. I didn't even have the energy to watch a YouTube video. I just sat and… existed.


I didn't realize it was a pattern until in my thirties. When everything in your life is shit, it's hard to see that maybe your brain isn't working quite right. Of course I had no energy. I was eating poorly, working every hour, and constantly stressed about money. Who would be brimming with get-up-and-go?

Then life stabilized. My divorce became final and I moved in with my husband. My career took off, and the kids both left the stages where you don't get any sleep and they're not defecating on random surfaces anymore. Life was sweet! I should be happy all the time now! And, sometimes, I was.

Other times, I felt like my world had the color leached out of it. I smiled (when you're poor, you learn to fake being cheery), I kept everything together, but I found little joy in anything. At the bottom, I'd stare at a simple problem for hours, with no idea what I was going to do about it. The smallest issues felt too big to deal with, so I shut down emotionally and let days pass in a haze.

After a while, I realized there was a pattern. I'd be up for a while, creating like mad, killing all the problems, full of vim and vigor. Then, one morning, I'd wake up, and the descent would start. I would grow quiet. Words would come less easily. I stopped playing games and knitting. The most I would do was read random stuff on the Internet, but take none of it in.


I also saw that I had spent a good chunk of my life trying to get back to 'high'. I tried exercise routines or extra caffeine. I made list and schedules and goals and beat myself up when I didn't meet the arbitrary demands I'd put on myself. It only made the dark times go on longer.

So, I hate it when my mind starts to go quiet and my world goes cloudy. But I'm also trying to learn to live with it. I'm learning to listen to my body when it starts to ask for quiet, because it needs time to process and heal. I now realize it's not sadness, but just something the chemicals in my brain do now and again. It signals a time to be kind to myself, and tend to my needs.


My brain will bring back the highs. It just needs a little time.

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