It’s amazing that I can always learn new things about this illness despite living with it for 21 years. Admittedly, I’ve only really been paying attention for nine, but you think I would have a handle on what the ins and outs were by now given my propensity for research. That said, I just read something in a book that I’ve read 16 times that just resonated with me today.
There is a thing in depression known as diurnal variations where a person’s depressive mood can fluctuate throughout the day on a predictable schedule. Apparently F. Scott Fitzgerald even wrote about this in an autobiographical essay callled The Crackup. He said:
But at three o’clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn’t work and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.
What he was saying is that for him, his depression peaked in the middle of the night and he couldn’t seem to shake it.
I’m experiencing the same kind of nightly attack, coming shortly after sundown. For me, it involves some paranoia and an extreme amount of sort of free-floating anxiety. I’m not precisely anxious about the events of the day or things I may have forgotten, it’s just random free radical anxiety that hits like a wave out of nowhere and sweeps me off my feet.
I thought that this was an interesting phenomenon.
The book I’m referring to is an excellent resource in general about Bipolar Disorder. Here are the details: