People that suffer from Depression often have a limited amount of energy to deal with issues. This is similar to video games where you have to choose when to use the energy, how to use it efficiently, and then wait for ages for more to show up.
When I get faced with issues that I have to deal with, my subconscious divides the issues into a type of “fight of flight” categories. For big issues, my subconscious knows that I need to reserve some of that energy. For small issues, my subconscious tends to move the issue into the “flight” category, meaning I can ignore the issue.
This works most of the time. This system has developed for decades in my brain, but I’m sure it has leaked in from others over the centuries. The problem with this system is that it does not take into account the idea that small issues can quickly become big issues. This is important, but first let me state something.
When the big issues happen, people tend to think that is when people with Depression need the support and attention. I mean, we can’t expect our friends and families to jump at every issue. So… logic dictates that checking in during big issues should be enough. Make sure the person is doing well.
And that is one of the many catch-22’s of Depression. My subconscious knows to reserve my limited mental energy for those big issues. As long as I do not have a lot of those at once, I am fine. When a small issue becomes a major issue, though, that is when I am likely to break.
Earlier this week I was working on something for another division. I made a mistake. No big deal. The manager caught the issue in time. The fix would be quick and easy. Bam. Right?
The fix was that I had to call the mail room to stop the multi-piece shipment that was going out. I needed to contact the executive secretary to explain the email could not go out yet. I needed to coordinate with the director to get new signatures. I needed to replace pages in all of the reports. I had to get everything done by the next day while explaining to all of these people why I needed them to do what they needed to do. And the crisis set it.
And the damage set in. I did not have enough energy reserved for all of this. I didn’t break, but I was definitely damaged enough that a water-like substance rolled down from the corners of my eyes for a minute. I managed to convince myself that I was an imposter in a position that no fool should have hired me for in the first place.
Luckily for me, I have an amazing partner that can refill my energy and help me reboot long enough to deal with things, like getting some stranger to jump your car. The next day I was fine.
My point with this post is that in my experience, people with Depression need help in times like this more than when something major happens. If you know someone that suffers from Depression and they joke about something that went wrong, stop and think if maybe that person just lost control of the boulder they were pushing up the hill. Did they just run out of energy?