The 7 Days in a ‘Weak Week' for Someone With Depression
I’m in my early 40s and I’m a white male (the last time I checked). I have major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). A few of my symptoms are crying spells, short-term memory loss, difficulty following instructions, disassociation, daydreaming, irritability, hyperactivity, heart palpitations, chest pains and sleeping too much.
Like I said, these are just a few. I could list many more, but the worst symptoms I have are fatigue and exhaustion. At my best, I am energetic and absolutely hilarious. OK, fine. I’m annoying. My daily routine is taking prescribed medications, drinking coffee, exercising, eating healthy and enjoying hobbies like art and music.
Here’s a typical calendar of events.
This is the day I feel most energetic, usually. If there are no huge busy activities, then life is grand. The body feels rested and the mind is calm. My energy is steady up until bedtime. Hobbies and yard work are appealing. I’m not eager to sleep and can stay up until 10 p.m., watching saved “Game of Thrones” episodes.
This day is similar to Monday. What’s different is my energy lasts until 5 p.m. After that time, I don’t want to cook dinner, clean or go for a walk. Hobbies and yard work are not really appealing. I feel weak and just want to hug a pillow and make love to my comfy couch. Sorry, that was a bad visual. Bed time is between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
This day is where it gets noticeably rough. My body is weaker and getting tired. There is inflammation in the lower and middle back. Depression sets in after clocking in at work. Euphoric thoughts of quitting my job and the pointlessness of life set in. Nothing is funny. Small mistakes are made. My attention span stinks. By 2:30 p.m., I’m spent. My butt is dragging. Screw cooking. Screw hobbies and definitely screw yard work. Bed time is 8:15 p.m.
This day is like Wednesday on steroids. Mental health begins a slow downward spiral. The body is tired. Curling up on a bench and snoring sounds really good. Exhaustion hits hard. Depression sets in and anxiety causes chest pains. I feel weak. I get emotional because I feel like life is pointless. Headaches and nausea start and sometimes escalate into anxiety attacks, depressive episodes and complex migraines. A hard nap is needed on my lovely couch when I get home. No nothing this night. There is nothing left of me. Bed time is between 7:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.. Some Thursdays aren’t this bad though.
This day is usually better than Thursdays because of a good night sleep. My energy is good. The attitude is stellar, but some Fridays, I feel fatigued. I have to push myself to make it. Weekly therapy sessions on Friday are a welcome interruption. I get energy and stress relief from that.
This day is not always predictable. I can be depressed, weak, anxious, irritable, fatigued, exhausted… you name it. I spend the day sleeping, getting exercise and getting sunlight to lift my mood. I can be refreshed, energetic, fun, social and just plain fun to be around. It’s hard to tell sometimes how Saturdays will turn out.
This day is not always predictable either. If Saturday was good, then Sunday is usually good too, which leads to a good Monday. If Saturday was not so good, then Sunday is a day of slow recovery. Fatigue, exhaustion, weakness, depression and anxiety start to go away. I don’t force myself to go to church, go shopping or to socialize. It’s a day of rest. If it is not, then Monday will not go well.
It’s a drag when it is a relatively easy week and I get weak and worn out. It is not normal and it’s not my fault. Frequent trips to the doctor and my therapist are helping immensely, but the weekly cycle is tiring. It feels like one step forward and two steps back. I feel like I’ve lost my stamina and progress is short lived. Older people seem to be more energetic and have more consistent moods. It’s pathetic.
I take comfort in my disability because of the personal growth it spurs. It makes me appreciate the good health that is normal for most people. It makes me appreciate the moments when I feel deep, moving and overwhelming emotions. It helps me to be more loving and understanding about others who have mental health problems. The weak weekly cycle stinks, but I take comfort in what it teaches me.