Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Statistics, Depression, and other obstacles

Thanks for all of your well-wishes and support yesterday for my Governing Body report. It did go well, but I did get asked the "deer in the headlights" question. After the meeting, I phoned my statistics instructor (see? it IS a good thing I am auditing the biostatistics class) and got her to help me answer the question. Later in the day I was able to e-mail this person who had asked the question and explain to her that I had run an "Independent Sample t Test" and found that the difference between our facility's number and the national mean was indeed statistically significant - and the p value of .004 would indicate that there was very little chance that the difference was due to random error! Isn't that freaking exciting?!?!?!

I am not working out this morning because I was up WAY too late with Mr. Sweetie Man last night.

Which leads me to another topic. I have had a few comments recently about the ridiculously early time that I wake up in the morning. I do not set the alarm, I just wake up when I wake up - with absolutely no danger whatsoever that I may be late for work. Sleeping until 6:00 a.m. (which I did this morning) is sleeping very very late for me. Early-morning waking is a feature of depression! I have had a life long battle with depression, which surprises a lot of people since I mostly seem really cheerful and upbeat. It is not the same thing as a bad mood or a down day. It is an illness. I am so grateful to say that it is currently under control and has been for the last several years. But it takes a lot of diligence for me to maintain a non-depressed life.

This is why I laughingly call myself "high maintenance". It is not bling and expensive cars that I need though. What I need is a good amount of sleep, regular meals of good food - no white stuff (sugar, pasta, white bread, etc.), daily alone time, daily social time, daily exercise (the more extreme the better!), daily writing, and constant attention to not drifting into illness.

Notice that I didn't throw meetings, daily prayer and meditation, and working with other alcoholics into that mix - even though I need them even more than any of that other stuff, because meetings, prayer, and other alcoholics are my lifeblood - they are what I need to stay alive. The other stuff I need in order to "feel" good. By the Grace of God, I don't need medications today. But if I did all that stuff, as well as the steps of AA, and still needed them, I would take them.

I just felt the need to clarify. I think I might sound a bit more virtuous than I really am when I talk about getting up at 4:00 a.m., and going out for a bike ride followed by a run, or a swim in a mountain lake, followed by a bike ride, etc. These are things I really enjoy and thank God they are the treatment for an illness I have.

"I used to be ashamed of my condition and so didn't talk about it. But nowadays I freely confess I am a depressive, and this has attracted other depressives to me. Working with them has helped a great deal." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 231


Christine said...

Oh my God I so needed to see this today--thanks--

My sponsor has sent me to Bill's writings because of the depression. I knew my early morning waking without an alarm was a symptom.

I agree with how I need the program to stay alive and the other things I do to feel good well lately in my grief--better than I might if I didn't.

Again--thanks for verbalizing--

psychbaby said...

Oh honey, you are so positive. Yes, it takes a lot of work to stay well and take care of ourselves. Minute by minute.

And that mumbo-jumbo math stuff??? Holy Cow! "Deer in the headlights" or not, you know what you're talkin' about woman!!

Thanks for the honest post. You rock!

AAwoken said...

I had a very high p factor this morning......Hah. Toilet humor, I love it. Must be hanging out with the toddler set is corrupting my mind. But seriously.
I used to be totally depressed, who would not be finding out that one wold be resigned to living the rest of my life without a drink and having to hang out with all the "losers" in AA.(The most brilliant people I know now, by the way) Bit by bit it all changed, thank God. I have to dig up a brilliant thing I heard on depression and send it to you via email. It is exactly how I cam out of a life long state of depression. Perhaps I'll post on this as well.

Scott said...

thanks for your wonderful honesty this morning MC.... I love coming to your blog, such good stuff you share... I too suffer from a bit of depression which is thankfully being well managed by my MD and me and some little blue friends... Thanks for filling us in on what really makes you tick....

peace to you MC!

Sober Chick said...

Oh MC thank you so much for posting this. I have only been in the program for a little over a year. I have seen so many dealing with depression and other like obstacles -- myself included. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone in my many battles and there is a way out, a way to live.

You are so beautiful!

Alcoholic Brain said...

I dig what you write. OOPS! Sorry, a 60's slip. I'm a depressive too. I can relate to the stuff you say real well. Except, I wasn't up late with Mr Sweetie!!LOL
Way to go!!

DG - trudgingtheroad said...

That was an awesome statement.

If I was one of the "commenters" you refered to I hope you know I am having fun. As I said before, your sharing has inspired me too (not 5:00 AM type inspiration yet but inspiration nonetheless).

Other than year 1-2 ish which, depression has not been a significant problem. After the first year of recovery I did get into some therapy along with my AA recovery which was very helpful.

I would not attempt to compare that depression with what you experience(ed) but you approach to it sounds like a healthy one.

dAAve said...

I'd be depressed to if I had to work with those stats. I do, however, obsess over baseball stats.
I had not heard about the connection between depression and early rising.
I guess I have always been depressed then. I have never needed an alarm clock and always wake up early, jump out of bed, ready to go. Even during all those drinking years. My normal waking time is between 4am-5am, depending on what time I go to sleep.

lash505 said...

Lets see P= 2 slices of Wonder bread? You are a chick on the move. The depression I can relate, it comes and goes.

Karen B said...

Hi-this is what I needed to hear and to realize that I am not alone. I went through some depressed states in my last 3 1/2 years of sobriety. I just had an episode almost two weeks ago after running into an ex and new girlfriend at York Street and having a fight with my best friend and sponsee on top of it. I enjoy your blog it's honest and it lifts me up. Thanks for the inspiration.I am getting my life full with other activities as well as using the fellowship as my life line. By the way, sleeping in to me is until close to noon. My prayers for now.

Gwen said...

Great stuff. My doctor has told me you need all of those things to stay balanced. Medication alone will not keep you out of those illnesses. Mine is anxiety and panic which can lead to depression because it can isolate you. I have to be diligent with all of those things too. Sleep, food, caffeine intake, equal down time to work time and of course physical exercise. My weakness is the exercise and I know what a HUGE factor that plays in anxiety. I am trying to be gentle with myself and continue to work on it all and have not thrown in the towel on myself for today today. I love your posts and you continue to be an excellent example of a well rounded truly sober woman. For this I am grateful.