Of all the things about depression, this is the bit I find hardest to deal with:
You’re feeling lethargic; You can’t get out of bed in the mornings (or evenings, or nights); You’re having negative thoughts and unpleasant physical reactions; You’re getting paranoid and irritable… and you don’t notice.
It’s amazing how far depression can go before you notice it’s been eating at you. Once you do notice it’s amazing how obvious it seems, and how easy it should have been to spot what was happening. That pile of coffee mugs and junk-food wrappers by your bed? An obvious sign. The way you got irritated at the things you used to love? A sign. Your loss in appetite? A sign. But none of these sign mean anything to you while you’re actually in the spiral. Even close friends pointing out that you’re not seeming too well gets brushed off with a feeling of “Yeah I’m a bit down, but I’ve been worse.”
And then you realise you haven’t been worse. Not in a long time. And you need to do something NOW!
As to how to spot the spiral… well… I haven’t managed that bit yet. If any of you have suggestions or advice please let me know! The best I can manage is to always try to take my friends’ advice and concerns seriously, even when I think I’m fine, and to stop every now and then and think “is this feeling really normal for me?” or “Am I sure I’m still coping?”
Another thing (which I have yet to achieve) is to notice when my productivity starts going down; when I let the dishes pile up for weeks, and stop doing art. It may seem strange to go to the doctor because I haven’t been keeping up with my hobbies, but I think it’d be worth it to stop the spiral early on and not have to deal with miserable depths of depression. Like I say, I haven’t managed this yet, but someday… someday.