I should have known better: I really should.
It was 6am on Sunday morning. I had awoken cold, shivering and aching, with a dry mouth and a throat filled with red hot chilli peppers and broken glass. The previous day, I had exhausted myself (and my poor family whom I had dragooned into helping) in performing a heavy-duty gardening task which should never have been ours, but for which I had final responsibility. It was still only half done. I couldn't remember where I had left the keys to my mother's house, and – it was 11th November and there is one veteran who has come back physically whole, but emotionally disabled, and who is very special to me. 11th November is an emotional time.
So, why I thought it would be a good idea to do my Moodscope score right then, I have no idea. Stupidity: that's what it was; sheer stupidity! I sat in the kitchen, with a comforting lemon and honey in my hand and tapped those cards.
Of course, it came out low. I'm only surprised it was a mere 15% lower than normal! And I knew my buddies would be concerned.
So – I wrote them an email. I hoped that none of them would be up at 6.30am and so they would get my low score and the explanation simultaneously.
"I have a cold," I started, and proceeded to record the litany of my woes.
It's surprising how just writing everything out makes you feel so much better. After a whole blog's worth of moaning I finished, "But – mostly – I have a cold."
Sickness brings our score down.
"I am sorry to tell you that my beloved brother died last night," wrote a friend. Grief brings our score down.
In January something happened which cast me into utter misery. That brought my score down.
The overwhelm of this current responsibility (above) brings my score down.
It's important to realise that it is not only depression that influences our scores. And this is why tracking our scores over a period of time and annotating them is important.
"I had a dip there because I had a stomach bug."
"Oh yes, that was the weekend my mother in law came to stay; that's always a difficult time."
"That long dip there? My pet died."
It is those periods where there is no reason for the low scores, where there is no recovery from grief, or no surfacing from the overwhelm: those are the ones to watch out for.
In life, there are always griefs and sorrows. There will always be challenges which seem too much, responsibilities which weigh too heavy. There is illness and injury and hurt.
Depression is more than the natural reaction to these things. I am not making light of any of these, because they are hard, very hard to deal with.
But - depression is an illness, not just part of being human. We need to know the difference.
A Moodscope member.