Remember The Bloggess, and how she declared silver ribbons were for depression? Yeah. I'm wearing one today (metaphorically).
You see, my depression is so spotty. When I'm doing something fun you or relaxing, I'm fine. I'm cheerful. Don't have to fake it a bit. But then I get irritated and it all goes to pot.
I've been thinking about the body's 'pain-gating' mechanism. You know -- where if you, for instance, break a leg, you don't really feel the sprained finger or the sunburn quite as much. Your body prioritizes its pain. That is why we scratch an itch. The irritation of the itch gets replaced by the minor pain of scratching it, and the irritation diminishes.
I think that's why I get angry when I'm irritated. Anger feels better -- more active -- than irritation. I lash out (usually on quite a small scale) at whomever has bugged me (sadly, usually my family), and it is a release. Right before I lash out, I feel overfull. Bursting. Like my eyes are being pushed out from pressure, like my very breath is being pressurized. A quick yell or slapping my hands down on a desk or stomping my feet opens the valve a bit and brings the pressure back down.
But when I'm having a kind of tough time, the pressure just rises right back up. What helps? Exercise. No, really. The actual physical act of running or lifting weights or using the Elliptical just whooshes the pressure right out. It really empties me out, in a good way. Gives me a lot more room. Also a glass or two of wine helps temporarily in that it seems to loosen the outer skin of my balloon. It also gives me some flexibility, but it's not ideal by any means.
If I could get myself to exercise nearly every day, that would be a valve that I could rely on. I must do this. So far (other than the meds I'm on and the talk therapy I participate in sometimes), that's the best control I have.
[Amended: Yesterday, I played some terrifically difficult and cathartic music on my flute for an hour. THAT was almost as good as a physical workout.]