I found a resource in an unlikely place, bando.com. I went to the website first, if I remember right because it was mentioned in a Girlboss newsletter. Turns out, it's a pretty fun place to buy gifts and it's founder, Jen Gotch is a fixture on Instagram promoting her business along with sharing her struggles with bipolar. She recently launched a podcast, and one of the episodes focused on her emotional rating scale. The basic gist is to check in with yourself about how you feel for tracking depression.
I've started using it to help me realize when depression hits me hard. This is my scale:
- awful, like scary
- very very bad
- can't get out of bed
- foggy, slow, exhausted
- a little better than meh
- pretty darn good
- feeling well and meaning it.
- feeling great
- Ah-mazing, the world is my oyster
I don't think I've ever hit 3. I get to 3.2, where I only function by sheer force of will. Those days I can barely hold a conversation or work. Part of that is that I don't allow myself to feel "weak". There have definitely been days when I should have stayed in bed and called in sick, but I don't. I go through the motions, generally berating myself throughout the day for not being able to shake the funk.
Today, I've been vacillating between 3.5 and 4.5. The past few weeks, I've been disconnected and shut down which led to being more like a 6 to 7 (which is where I think I exist most of the time). I haven't felt much emotion and have been productive. This past weekend was a whirlwind of a long bike ride (46.5 miles), partying w/ S for our 16th wedding anniversary (fun!! 8), and enduring interactions with my family as well as a family reunion with S's family (5). Sunday I was tired, but luckily not too cranky.
Today, I woke up, dragged my exhausted butt to the gym and promptly started feeling like shit. I got through the workout, but couldn't get my heart rate up very high and really struggled. I had an appointment with Dr. M and I hung out at a coffee shop working until then. In that time, I started to recognize how everything felt flat, how frustrated I was. The appointment brought up some crap and I ended up crying the entire drive home. Since then, I've barely been able to move through my day, faking a good mood at the dentist's office (awesome way to spend a lunch hour) and trying to get some tasks checked off my list at work when all I want to do is take a damn nap. Or stare at the wall. Anything but think.