12 August 2012 | Depressed from Depression

Although I have entered middle-age, I am not the kind of guy who is now starting to get depressed about the state of my life, the "could've, would've, should've" bent, or starting to ponder my mortality. I've been doing that since I was a teenager.

But after another bout with acid reflux disease (brought on by gastritis), I feel like I am starting to get depressed and I don't like it. This will be the second go-through in just as many years, and when it happens, I just want to withdraw from everything. Get a blanket, my iPad (how First World) and stay bundled on the couch. Not moving. I lose my appetite, I develop a sense of anxiety about swallowing. I dread having to drive anywhere because it becomes a game of how to deal with feeling terrible and anxious and can I make it two miles down the road and back? I just prefer to remain still.

This is also the second summer this has happened, so it's thrown everything out the window. I'm a slow healer, so there no "14 days with Prilosec OTC and everything is normal." Oh no, it's a roller-coaster and just when I think I'm near the end, it turns out to be just a prelude to a big, steep dip.

So while I have often pondered what we like to call "big questions" since my teens, this feels like a real depression. Or, I like to call it "mild" because I've not had issues with depression before in my life. But no matter how I dress it up, there's the listlessness, the heavy rounds of sleeping, and not wanting to be with anyone. Well, therein is the rub, actually, because when you're a bachelor and you're feeling edgy, nervous, you really wish you had a girlfriend. Thank God for mom and pop, who eagerly welcome you home when you just want to get away from everything but have someone around because of those negative feelings.

And when I get like this, being at my parent's house is more of a comfort than I can describe, mainly because I have always loved the way the light looks from my old room and how quiet our neighborhood is. There are two Palo Verde trees on the east and west sides of my room, and they capture the morning light so well. So I'll get up around 6 a.m. and sit in the chair and look out the window through the blind slats, watching gold light become more prominent, a flower blooming. And close to mid-day, I'll look out the other window that faces the street, watching the parade of gophers and lizards that move about. We like to think that animals have simple lives, but of course, it's not a pretty existence since each day is a struggle looking for food. But when you feel bad and you just want to look out the window, and look at those critters as though they're pets leading a worry-free existence.

Everything passes, of course. I'm not the first person to go through this and I won't be the last, but I used to lightly scoff at those commercials for depression with the actors curled up in bed or in a chair, barely moving. Not so much any more, because I understand what it feels like. And I just can't wait for it to go away.