I’ve come to realise over the years that my brain is a bit like Homer Simpsons. However, rather than his cry of “Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.”, mine is more focused on my ability to prevent dropping into depression.
From my simplistic point of view, there is a certain amount of shit that my brain can hold on to and I will still function as a “normal” human being. However, there is a tipping point where my brain just goes “nope, fuck this, I’m shutting down”. That’s when the depression takes over – Evil Andrzej, or more accurately Morose Andrzej.
Consider the pandemic. During that time I had the usual life stuff. Kids, relationships, stressing about money, stressing about teenage daughters etc etc. This is like the base level of things my brain is ok to manage. Then, we added the pandemic to that. At that point my brain was going “nope, not liking this new stuff, I want to shut down.” However, as I am used to this, I was able to override my brain’s cry for help and just keep going as normal – ish.
However, that was not the end of it. Next, we threw in not being happy in my job. That was my tipping point. I was no longer able to override my brain’s default settings. So sure enough, I spiralled into a deep and totally unmanageable depression.
I knew it was happening, but I just didn’t have the brain space left to deal with it. Until one of the external factors was dealt with, I just had no way to combat it. Frustratingly, I was not all that long off taking Citalopram as I was kind of ok up to that point.
Instead, I was left with a choice. I had to remove one of the external factors. I had no control over the pandemic, so that wasn’t going to happen. The baseline stuff was also going nowhere – as that was just life. So, there was just one thing left – my job. So I started to look for a new one. This is not easy to do when you are in the grips of depression, thankfully I wasn’t so far in that I could not muster the capacity to function for interviews and the like – in short bursts.
A few months into the search, I struck gold and was able to move to a new company and guess what? My depression began to lift and now I am pretty much back to my old self.
I know this is not always possible and I was lucky to have recognised the issue quickly. however, for me, it is interesting to acknowledge how my brain works in this sort of instance. To paraphrase Homer
“Every time new stress is added to my life, it pushes out some of my brain’s ability to be happy and not crash”