Friday, 22 August 2008

functional depression

It's important to be productive, to produce. And especially when you're unemployed... Despite the name of this blog, it wouldn't be good to wind up curled on the sofa, cuddling a cuppa and staring slackly at Cash In The Attic on the box.

But it's hard. I always seem to find that, after the first few happy, relaxed days of underemployment, depression starts making little nibbles at my psyche, followed by big chomping gulps. I guess it's partly just because you have time to think about things, time you don't have when sucked into the 9 to 5. Bad things, often.

And partly the awareness that, fuck, you're unemployed. 1st bad thing: you're either claiming benefits and getting continuous hassle from the state about it, or you're running down your financial resources with no fairy godmother in sight. 2nd bad thing: this state will eventually end - when you get a goddamn J-O-B!

So, unemployment is synonymous with depression for me. Just as employment is synonymous with anxiety. Aah, I run the gamut of psychological malaise from.... well, A to B, I suppose, much like Katharine Hepburn and acting. Mania, schizophrenia, all those exotic and enticing variants... not so much.

I find the way to manage this state is bite-size functionality. Not an original idea, but put it into practice and it's a wonderful thing. However glum, slack-jawed and negative I might be, I find I can knock off one thing on my to-do list for at least 5-15 minutes. As long as I can then put the kettle on and collapse on the sofa for another 10 mins. Rinse, wash, repeat...

This way... maybe I'm half as productive as if I was working flat out. But ask yourself... is that really going to ever happen? Or am I in fact 1000% as effective as I would be if I wasn't employing this technique, and instead allowing stress and depression and the demand for continuous activity and immediate results to freeze me into stasis?

Things are getting done. Bit by bit, they're getting done.


Felicia said...

Writing a list and putting check marks next to completed tasks is oddly satisfying to me too :)

Anonymous said...

Dysthymic Disorder is characterized by chronic depression, but with less severity than a major depression. The essential symptom for dysthymic disorder is an almost daily depressed mood for at least two years, but without the necessary criteria for a major depression. Low energy, sleep or appetite disturbances and low self-esteem are usually part of the clinical picture as well.