So I get off easy this year.
This is the year of the minor dip. Every two years I get a major dip and every four years it gets critical. It hasn't been life threatening for sixteen years now – so that's a big step forward and a huge relief.
In the odd years it's more of an inconvenience than anything.
But, still noticeable. And I've decided to use it as some training practise for the bigger one next year.
My thought process goes something like this. And I desperately hope that I'm not the only one who talks to themselves like this, because if I am then I am going to feel so utterly embarrassed sharing this with you.
"Now, Mary – you know you're going to feel exhausted for the next few weeks. You're going to want to burst into tears all the time and not see anyone. What are you going to do?
"Ah, excellent. You're going to tell people. That's good. That way they understand. And you're going to do your Moodscope every day so your buddies are kept up to date. What are you going to do practically?
"Right – you're going to make sure that you go to bed at a sensible time. You are not going to try to sleep during the day because then you'll get insomnia and it will make things worse. What else?
"That's good. You're going to drink lots of water and not reach for the caffeine and the carbohydrates. Because they don't work, do they? Coffee and chocolate just make you jittery and pile on the weight.
"Now, what about exercise? No, I know you don't want to exercise. I know you just want to crawl back under that duvet. But you need to go swimming three times a week and you need to take a walk every day. Don't push yourself. Once around the block is enough. But you need to get out and do it.
"And you're going to write. You're going to write every day. Even if it's only 500 words. Because then, at the end of it, you have an accomplishment. You have something to show for this time. You'll know that you can keep on blogging, keep on writing. Because this depression thing isn't going away – it will keep recurring like a bad penny. You need to keep going through it.
"And, you're going to be kind to yourself, aren't you? No silly high standards about housework, about cooking, about ironing, about admin. Nobody will starve. The housekeeping inspectors are not going to pay you a visit, the teachers will not complain if your children go to school in a crumpled uniform. And they're old enough to do some ironing and cooking and cleaning for themselves now, aren't they?
"Well – you do all that. I'll be there for you. So will your friends. You hang in there and it will be over soon, for another year. Good luck now!"
A Moodscope member.