However, I still have 'down' days. For a long time, they would take me by surprise; why is it I could feel ok and functioning at one point, and then, a few hours or few days later, feel completely depressed, and wish to hide away? Why would this happen every few days? Would I ever be able to hold down a full-time job? Or would it always be like this? Up for a few days, down for a few days, never stable, never consistent.
Recently, I've started to make some un-scientific observations:
my negative thinking patterns get worse when I feel tired...
Or could it be that having negative thoughts/feelings make me tired?
Not sure what the solution is.
I've tried doing less (went to part-time registration for the PhD), but then felt useless for not achieving much, or taking so long.
I've recently tried doing much more (taking on additional volunteering, study and tutoring), to give negative thoughts less air-time, but then have to crash at some point, and feel useless on the days that follow instead. Committing to lots of things makes me more edgy and restless: I worry more about delivering perfection, and I sleep badly because I'm worrying.
Two things that seem to help:
1) I'm living in the moment a bit more (not always easy), and appreciating simple things like a cup of tea and chocolate biscuits... Today that's my favourite thing.
2) I'm doing more things which play to my strengths which helps. Just for the record, writing a thesis is not one of them.