Dysthymia - a mood disorder consisting of chronic depression, with less severe but longer lasting symptoms than major depressive disorder. As dysthymia is a chronic disorder, sufferers may experience symptoms for many years before it is diagnosed, if diagnosis occurs at all. As a result, they may believe that depression is a part of their character, so they may not even discuss their symptoms with doctors, family members, or friends.
I'm not a doctor or a psychologist, but I have been in my body for the past 23 1/2 years and I'm pretty sure I've had dysthymia for the last 11 or so of those years. The last two sentences in the above definition ring most true for me. For a really long time I just thought I wasn't a positive person. I wasn't an energetic person. That was just me, who I was, who I'd always be. I would have good days/weeks/months but the "meh" feeling was pervasive throughout my teens and beyond.
One of my main symptoms has been fatigue. In high school I was a huge perfectionist so I often pushed past the fatigue just to do what I had to do. But in retrospect, what normal 18 year old goes to bed every night at 9:30? When I got to college, I realized that no matter how hard I pushed myself I would never feel like I was doing well enough, so I pushed less and less. By senior year it was tough to get myself to go to classes, even though I was on medication and wasn't feeling particularly horrible.
Now I have jobs, which changes the game a lot. If I don't work, I don't get paid (for the most part). So I push myself for work and often forgo everything else. I haven't kept in touch with friends or made new ones the way I had hoped I would. This creates a cycle where I'm lonely, so I'm bummed out, so I don't make an effort, so I'm lonely - rinse and repeat several times a month.
I had the easiest time making friends in college that I've ever had in my life. Now I feel like I'm spoiled. I'm like a desperate single woman (pardon the sexist metaphor) looking for "Mr. Right" but being super picky. I want someone who I instantly *click* with and I want it right now, damnit.
My roommate and I have been talking quite a lot about "pushing past the tiredness" - which in my case also includes pushing past the depression. Doing things - both with people and by myself - that I may not feel like doing immediately but end up being worth it afterwards.
This afternoon, after a full workday, I sat outside in my backyard working on voice stuff, spent some quality time with the BF, went for a drink and dinner with my roommate and took a scooter ride with the BF. Oh, and wrote this riveting blog, haha. And you know what? I feel good. Still tired, but in a satisfied way. This is sort of a novel feeling for me, but maybe its the way people without dysthmia feel after most days. And that's something I could definitely get used to.