Monday, April 16, 2007


What's that line from that song that goes "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"...?

We've all heard it. In that instance it's about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, about lovers leaving in a big yellow taxi, about not knowing when you've had something good until it's gone. The inverse can be true, sometimes you don't know when things aren't great until after they're over. The blinkers come off and things look a lot brighter.

This blog probably charts the tides and changing seasons of my life more than I realise. Good times show through and the tough ones do too. This was really brought home to me a few months back, when I was at the height (or perhaps depths is more appropriate) of a tussle with The Black Dog, the Big D, the ole' Capital D depression. This blog got dull along with my outlook. The word depressing cropped up a few times in reader feedback.

At the time I was kind of shocked, because I thought I was getting by ok. Functioning. Putting a happy face on it. The ole' Back Dog is an insidious bastard though, my experience of it has been thankfully very mild, but even so it's enough to see how the negativity, insomnia and lack of motivation makes everything flat. 2D. In greige.

Anyhoo, the point is that I can happily say that the worst of it seems to be over. That sucker has pulled away from the curb in a big yellow taxi and there will be no lament sung for it by me. Buh bye, asshole! My personal experience is that insomnia is both a symptom and a cause. Treating my sleep problems has been enough to break the cycle that seems to feed on itself.

It's kind of fascinating to see the mind-body connection in action. Just sleeping better, eating better and getting moderate exercise makes a huge difference. Sadly, these are things that it seems hardest to acheive when you're depressed. Motivation is a major issue.

The upshot of all this, and really the reason that I decided to write this, is that for me creativity seems to be a good yardstick too. At my worst I struggled to write blog entries. I stopped working on craft projects. Photography lost its allure. I looked at things I'd been making and thought this is all crap. At the moment I'm in the middle of a huge burst of creativity. I can't wait to have time to plan and do anything creative.

My recent blogging about picking up knitting again may not be that interesting to some of you, but it's a sign of a bigger picture. Happiness.


nash said...

It intrigues me that so many people I meet in the blog world seem to go through these black periods around the same time as each other - a collective dark cloud. I'm glad you're now finding that wonderful, sometimes elusive thing called Happiness.

And thanks for your comment and good wishes over at drift

The Other Andrew said...

You're welcome Nash, and thanks for the kind words. I'm enjoying reading your blog very much.

These black periods are thankfully fairly mild and not frequent, and I'm probably more likely able to see the warning signs in future. That's my hope anyway. I tend to suffer with insomnia, and seems like a protracted bout with poor sleep is one of the early warning signs I'll need to look out for.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

hurrah TOA, I am so glad you're happier. and I totally agree about mind and body. you have to get them in sync and keep them that way.

so now keep on doing wotcha doing!

I haven't seen you in ages. which reminds me, are you able to come on sunday? I hope so :-)

Miss Eudoxia said...

Hey Andrew,
Great to hear that you escaped form the Big D again. Thought you were slipping away on us there for a minute. Can't wait to see your knitting and photos now you are back in theland of good things :-)

Michael said...

I'm endlessly fascinated by how our thoughts and our bodies mesh/intertwine. It's kinda my job, too.

And it's a two-way street, isn't it? Your thoughts can have such a dramatic effect on the physical, but I've learned that intense physical exertion can serve to elevate my thoughts/mood.

Still, it's interesting that one can recognize it, but still be caught somehow unaware when the depression creeps in, and then only in hindsight see the darkness, as you say. I've been in the midst of a protracted stretch here. Like you, it's not terrible, but the lows are pretty low and the highs aren't terribly high at all. It's been a long time since anything I normally enjoy has interested me. Striking now, in the first blush of spring, that I'm looking at planting and pruning and yard maintaining with DREAD. That feeling is usually saved for August. The only joy I find in the last six months or more is when I'm gone on holiday. Or in movies/plays/books/music (which is "gone" in mind, if not body, I suppose).

Not sure where I'm going with this. Maybe just to let you know I get you/it. And to get a few things off my chest because I know you'll generously allow it. Speaking of my chest, it's looking mighty fine as I'm working out with keen desperation trying to snap out of this. So a bonus is that I'm BEACH READY, muthafucka. ;-) So there's that.

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks speedy! Sorry I haven't rsvp'd about The Dinghy's 1st birthday party on Sunday. I have a verchacte volunteers meeting at the Buddhist centre that I'm trying to worm out of that conflicts, but hopefully either way I'll be able to pop by at least!

Miss E, thanks for the comment, much appreciated! :)

Michael, yeah we're alike in so many ways, right? We even cycle together. :) Sorry to hear you're fighting your own fight at the moment. I kind of figured you might be. "Anhedonia", the loss of enjoyment in things you normally enjoy is a bitch. Combine that with a loss of motivation and it's a double wammy. I discovered that you have to force yourself to do things (fake it til you make it) and set small goals.

PS. The chest sounds divooon! :) I already know you've got great arms.