Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I know not why I am so sad

I don't often get too personal on my blog, but I'm thinking that it just might be therapeutic for me to write all this stuff down. If you don't think that you can deal with that sort of a thing from me, you might want to stop reading now.

I went to my local urgent care today because I've had a low-grade fever for about three days now. Just when I start to think that I'm feeling better, it comes back again. When the doctor came in and asked me what was wrong, I broke down crying.

As some of you reading this may already know, I'm a high school English teacher. School got out last week, and this is the first full week of summer break. It seems like there's always a bit of an adjustment period when the year ends, as suddenly my routine is completely thrown off. Even though I've been yearning for all of this free time and even a bit of time to myself, it feels weird to be making my own schedule. Still, I tend to get over it after about a week and then I get used to my new routines.

This week I've found myself getting teary-eyed at just about anything. This isn't normally too strange for me, as I always get a little misty-eyed with my students when finishing Cyrano de Bergerac, and To Kill a Mockingbird. (The "Alas, poor Yorick!" scene in Hamlet seems to do it to me too.) Yeah, I'm a sentimental schmuck, I'll admit it. However, I've found myself getting genuinely teary-eyed at all sorts of things. For crap's sakes, I started crying while watching the scene in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly where Clint Eastwood shares his cigar with a dying soldier.

Yeah, what the hell is wrong with me? Honestly, I'm not sad about anything. I have a great wife, a great son, a job that I enjoy, etc. I feel like I have a lot to be proud of as well, which is a sharp contrast to about ten years ago when I had a breakdown on my wife because I felt like I was an absolute failure at everything. That time, I knew exactly what was making me sad. This time, I don't know what's going on with me.

I feel a bit bad for the doctor who saw me because she certainly wasn't expecting it when I started crying on her. However, she did a great job of talking to me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find exactly what was wrong with me on a physical level, as I don't seem to have any other health-related symptoms. She ordered some blood work for me, and I'll get the results on Saturday. Aside from that, she suggested that if I feel up to exercising (like walking my dog, riding my bike, etc.) that I should do it. Also, she suggested that I avoid isolating myself. That's going to be tough for me, as I often WANT to isolate myself, but sometimes the things that we want aren't really the things that are good for us.

She also said that I was showing signs of depression, and she asked me if I was feeling suicidal or having any violent thoughts toward anybody. I can assure you, just as I assured her, that those types of thoughts weren't anywhere in my head. Like I said, I feel good about my life, yet I can't stop crying about everything.

Egads. I'll try to write more on this as I get it sorted out. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far. I'll leave you with a bit of Antonio from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, as it pretty much describes my feelings perfectly:
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.


Tony from Pandora said...

When I was 20, I was unusually depressed. I didn't want to be around anyone, I didn't feel like doing anything. And like you, I seemed to find myself crying over things more easily. I was going through some changes in my life, but nothing that I thought would cause the stress/depression that I felt.

I had some bloodwork done and it turned out I had a thyroid disorder. Hypothyroidism causes lethargy, a slowdown in metabolism (which results in slight weight gain), and depression. I started taking synthroid pills and 3 months later, I felt much better. I don't like the idea that I'm partially dependent on pills for my mood, but I can't argue they work. If I forget to take my pill for more than 3 days, I get irritable, lazy, and depressed.

All that to say is that the issue may be more straighforward than you think.

Exercise does a lot more for the mood that people realize as well. The 'runner's high' is a real thing. The problem is getting the shoes laced up to get started. Once you're out running or on your bike, it's great. Just keep at it.

Concerning your desire for isolation:

I can't help but get all spiritual-ly on you and say that God created us to commune together as humans, which can take our minds off our selfishness/depression and put our minds on the needs of others. But I can feel you start to roll your eyes already...!!

But this line of thought may be up your alley... We are a communal species, and it's hardcoded in our DNA that we inately feel more secure and at ease when in the company of other humans. And I do honestly believe that.

But sometimes, it's just nice to be alone..!

I know you're not necessarily looking for answers, as you stated you wrote this post as a partial therapeutic measure, but being a man, a nurse, and a Christian, I can't help but look at you as a problem that needs solving!

Lance Johnson said...

Well, the blood work is coming in on Saturday. The doctor did suggest that it might be a thyroid problem, so that just might be what's getting to me.

As for wanting to isolate myself, what I meant by that is that I'm an introvert. I enjoy time alone, and I find people to be exhausting (even when I'm enjoying the company). It's not that I hate people, they just wear me out.

Ingrid Johnson said...

Lance, of course I am concerned. I do see myself in you a lot or the other way around. When I went to the doctor last year I also started to cry for no reason. I also feel sad most of the time, but I have had to deal with that all my life, and I always blamed it on something. Now I know that is just how I am. I don't feel unhappy though. I have a thyroid condition and take medication. Maybe that is what you need too. Other than that, I think because we interact with so many people, and people always tell mostly the positive things about their lives, and how happy they are, we wonder why we are not like that. They don't tell us the negative things. "The majority of people live lives of quiet desperation". I forgot who said it. You will be alright, and like me, stay away from people if they don't add anything positive to your life, which is what I finally learned to do.

Lance Johnson said...

Just got the blood results - yep, nothing wrong with me.

I think that a friend of mine nailed it on the head. He pointed out that sometimes our exhaustion can catch up with us all at once - like when a teacher finishes a school year.

I was showing signs of this even before the year ended, but once it did, it came crashing down like a ton of bricks.