I think I recently emerged from a long term funk (perhaps dysthymia, or long term mild depression, but I'm not going fix on a diagnosis). I've had a few awesome
weeks recently, but also a few that were just as bad as before. The trouble is: I'm not used to feeling good, so I don't understand what I can expect. Help me understand this.
For the past couple of years, I think I've been suffering from mild depression. I've been functional, employed, kept myself up, etc; but I've also been generally pessimistic, lacking motivation, unhappy, and socially withdrawn. My mood for the most part had been "blah," but at some points it was bad. I think I've been like this since I was at least a teenager, but I'd say this present episode started a few years ago after my first breakup, which was followed closely by even more social rejection.
About a month ago, I made a huge amount of progress very suddenly. I'd hit my lowest point in recent memory, but I started emerging from that very quickly. Over the course of the next week, I started discovering things that really helped my mood: talking to people about things I liked; setting audacious goals, and taking small steps towards them; doing things that I'd always meant to do; seeking out my friends and engaging them socially; ceasing to be so picky about social activities; reconnecting with my family. That week was still objectively pretty bad, but I dug myself out of my hole, and I was positively happy, optimistic, and motivated for most of the next two weeks.
However, the next week after that was bad; I was like I was before: unhappy, pessimistic, etc. Then after that I felt good again for a few weeks. Now I feel bad again. It's like I emerge into a good place, keep the momentum up, and then I fall back to where I was before. I've noticed some emotional triggers that can cause those falls, mostly thoughts and subjects, but I can't always help myself and avoid them all the time (that's also not realistic). I also suspect my emotional range has increased. I think it was pretty restricted before.
My mood isn't consistent during these "good" and "bad" weeks, I'll be happy or down at different times during the day, but one mood will easily predominate.
For the record, I'm certain I'm not bipolar. When I'm happy, I'm totally functional and in control. People just remark, "It's nice to see you being happy for a change."
I'm a guy in my mid-20s, a college graduate, with a steady job and a smallish social circle. I am not medicated, nor have I ever been.
I'm used to feeling bad or neutral most of the time, so I don't have a lot of experience with this. Here are my questions:
Do normal, happy people have bad weeks regularly?
Am I better, or still in the process of getting better, and occasionally regressing?
What's it like to emerge from depression?
Is there anything in particular that I should be doing?
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