WTF? Depression as a Neurochemical Glitch

Even when you know how depression works, it can startle you with its inhuman mechanics.

Late night, Friday 3 August 2012.

Thanks to my employer observing August Bank Holiday (because our clients include major Australian banks), a long weekend lay ahead.

Speaking of work, I was only hours away from finally completing a major and difficult project (and I would).

And that afternoon, to my unexpected delight, a major purchase from China via eBay had arrived – seven Enlighten LEGO-style building-block sets.

So the next three days were looking better and better.

And there were absolutely no clouds on my horizon…

…yet as Friday was drawing to a close, a strange and troubling feeling was building.

It wasn’t overpowering, just nagging.

Also, it wasn’t like the black dog as I’d previously experienced it.

It felt more like…ennui.

And that troubled me.

I had nothing to feel ennui about, especially during the next three days.

So why was I feeling this way?

Fortunately, as I had learned to do since mid-2007, I told myself not to dwell on it, and just focus on what was good.

And I did.


The long weekend passed.

Nothing bad happened…

…but every now and then, that nagging feeling returned.

Again, it wasn’t like depression as I’d previously experienced it. I was fully conscious, I never felt lethargic and my sleep was fine. In fact, it felt like I was standing apart from whatever this crappiness was, and observing it while experiencing at the same time.

Nonetheless, it was still annoying, and disconcerting, and troubling.

Why was I feeling like this?

Again and again, though, whenever this crappiness reappeared I told myself to never dwell upon it, keep it at arm’s length and enjoy what was good in my life.

As well, I decided that perhaps it was just a random and isolated chemical imbalance in my brain that was making me feel this way. That’s all.

And that helped to calm myself down whenever I needed to.


Late night, Tuesday 7 August 2012.

The first day back at work after the long weekend, and it had been very productive (and in two days’ time, I would receive very good feedback for the work I had done).

There was still nothing wrong in my life.

And yet several times throughout the day, that fucking crappiness had returned.

And here it was again!

What the fuck was wrong with me?!?

And that’s when I briefly hit rock bottom.

I cursed myself for the fact that despite everything going well, something about me was still bringing me down?!?

An uncomfortable self-hating moment passed.

Fortunately, yet again I told myself not to dwell on it, put it behind me and keep moving on.

So I did.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012.

For the first time in months, I hadn’t slept well the night before.

Throughout the day, I often felt physically tired.

But that crappiness? It didn’t reappear at all.


Thursday, 9 August 2012.

The crappiness stayed gone.

That afternoon at my weekly appointment with my psychiatrist, I told him all about it.

It was good to speak with him and talk it out of my system.

In the end, though, I still had no idea why that crappiness had happened.

Again, all that I could conclude to myself and my psychiatrist was that it perhaps it had been a random and isolated chemical imbalance in my brain.

Again, that’s all.

Depression sucks.

Fortunately, though – and despite whatever form it may take – I’ve learnt how to blunt the suck.


This article originally appeared at Black and Blue Man.


About Black and Blue Man

Black and Blue Man is a blogger in Australia "living with depression one day at a time at one hour at a time." Find him on his blog here.


  1. It’s often oddly reassuring when I’m feeling down to think “oh yeah, I”m seriously mentally ill, thats why I randomly feel like crap”

  2. Thanks for this post, which brings up a number of good points. First, you don’t have to be at death’s door or ‘qualified’ within the DSM-IV to feel badly. Little clouds count even if they do not clobber to the point of incapacitation. Second, sometimes you do just have to keep on keepin’ on when there is no psychodynamic, behavioral, or physiologically known or knowable reason. “Sh*t happens” matters in neurology as well. Third, you stared down the self-hate monster. Perhaps some part of you was aware that self-hate is a symptom, not a reality. Fourth and perhaps most interesting from my standpoint, you noted that your spirits lifted after being unable to sleep. A few years ago there was literature floating around about ‘resetting’ depression by denying sleep. I do not know where this work went and surely do not think anyone should try this at home, kids. Yet the idea that there might be one more arrow in the self help quiver (such as ‘stay up and read a thriller’ or ‘go biking at night’) intrigues me.
    Thanks for your brave self disclosure.

  3. Cakethief says:

    I have the same feelings that come randomly through the day. It is a home sick feeling even when I’m home..really weird. Good to know I’m not alone, thanks for sharing.

  4. This is exactly how I feel at times. But it wasn’t until I had a conversation with a good friend a week ago about how I couldn’t focus at work that I realised I might be depressed.

    I took my first antidepressant this morning. Fingers crossed.

    • Back in mid-2007, I was nervous when my psychiatrist advised a course of medication – but in conjunction with weekly therapy, anti-depressants helped to improve my life greatly.

      All the best with your treatment.

  5. Thank you- you’ve just put exactly how I feel into words and made me realise that it’s the chemicals and not me being a selfish jerk by feeling like this.

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