September 2011 to Now

It has been an interesting ride for the last 5 months. This is a quick note mostly to let you know that I’m back to writing…

Coffee
First off, the use of coffee seems to do something. I’d like to say it works, but that’s not entirely true – I been in and out of depression for Dec 2011 and Jan 2012.

I’m not sure if the depression was caused because I stopped taking the coffee regularly or at a proper dose, or because I became resistant to the coffee, or because the coffee never worked and I had a rare spell of no depression. I was hoping for a relatively clear cut test with a clear cut answer, but that didn’t quite materialise. So I’m starting back testing again, effective today 1 Feb 2012. The experiment will need to go on for a minimum of three months or until I next get depressed, whichever comes first. Will keep you up to date this time around.

Although the testing I did wasn’t as rigorous as I would have liked, and I have to do it over again, it appears the coffee does something. Enough so that I think that adding coffee to whatever drug regime that you are on may offer some benefit against depression (notice the word ‘may’). The amount of coffee that I am drinking is equal to the caffeine in one double espresso Starbucks every 3-4 hours. This is a lot of caffeine, by the way – you should probably start with drinking less coffee (or less strong coffee) to see what happens.

The side effects are typical caffeine side effects – hyperactivity, tense muscles, twitchiness, peeing a lot, nausea if you happen to overdo the coffee. And beginning to hate the taste of coffee. For me, none are particularly bad, though having to pee frequently can become awkward. I will add details about my experiences last year in my next post.

WARNINGS:
I am NOT a doctor. The only reason I am suggesting this is that coffee is drunk by millions of people daily with no real side effects, so I figure it would be difficult to harm yourself. I do not recommend using caffeine tablets as I am not sure what such a concentrated rush of caffeine will do.

However, if caffeine makes you very hyperactive or manic, or if your mania is not well controlled, or if you are currently manic or hypomanic, do NOT try this. Coffee does make one hyperactive, so it is likely to intensify any manic symptoms you are exhibiting or make them harder to control.

I also recommend that you talk with your psych about the coffee suggestion the next time you talk with them.

What Depression Is
I’ve been refining what depression seems to be. Here are my second or third draft ideas so far.

Depression is  a failure of the connection between the ability to think and the ability to act. I can think of what to do, but it doesn’t translate into actually doing anything. The mind continues to work, and I can be articulate and knowledgeable if someone asks me about something, but nothing I say will cause me to actually take action. An example: I can know why I need to take my medication, and I can tell you precisely why I should, but that won’t translate into me going into the kitchen and taking it. Or even taking them if the tablets and the water are on the table in front of me.

Depression is the loss of personal connection or meaning in situations. For example: I can know that I have a good relationship and I can know intellectually that the my relationship is important and that if I don’t talk to my partner then I am screwing up the relationship. But knowing about the situation intellectually doesn’t translate it having any meaning to me, almost as if what I am talking about is happening to someone on the other side of the world and not me. It’s simply not relevant to my life. The same thing happens in other situations – it’s not happening to me, it’s not important to me, it’s not relevant to me, it has no impact on me. Even when it does.

Depression is the fear of other people.  I don’t want to talk with people or discuss anything, or have them visit me. I am afraid that they may shout at me or criticise me. Having someone talk to me can feel as if they are hitting me with a stick. I can’t cope with talking about anything serious or meaningful with people – it’s too hard or painful.