The reason that I began taking vitamin D was because eating salmon cured my depression and allowed me to escape from the lure of the internet. Although the vitamin was treating the dementia, I was still suffering from depression because of SAD. One day I was passing through my kitchen heading upstairs to the study when I saw a stack of dirty plates on the draining board and stopped, thinking that I ought to wash them up. As I stood there I got a fizzling sensation in the back of my head as I tried to hold on to the idea but it slipped away and I carried on my way up the stairs as if I had not seen the plates. As I sat at my computer, every so often I would remember that I needed to do the washing up. Each time I would remember that this thought had occurred to me before and each time it would simply slip away again. It became apparent then that it was not lack of motivation but that my brain was simply not initiating the task.
The summer of 2014 was unusually sunny and the depression lifted. In August I was able to renovate the window frames in my living room. There were many jobs that needed to do be done but by autumn I was unable to decide what to do next. As the days got shorter there were days over about three weeks when my head would be going through the things that need to be done over and over again. “If I fix the floor then it will take a lot of the stress away, but the window frames in the middle room need doing before they get damaged by condensation. Just pick something! Okay, how about starting at the front of the house and working back. Great. At last a decision. But then again if you did the kitchen floor…” I would end up feeling exhausted and going to sleep in the afternoon curled up in a foetal position. One day I thought of making a list of the things that needed doing so that I could prioritise them. I instantly dismissed the idea with groan and a smile. It would have been just one more thing in the decision making cycle that would never get done.
By October the depression was worse than ever. Even eating salmon no longer gave me a break from it. I was on leave from work from the 10th to the 18th of November 2014. There were three things that I wanted to do during that time:
By the 17th I had spent my entire holiday in front of my computer and I was in despair. That evening before I went to bed I went to take a tablet as usual. I inadvertently tipped two tablets into my hand and automatically put them in my mouth. I wondered if I should spit one out but I thought “It won't kill you” and swallowed them both.
The next day I woke up a different person. I have to pass through my study on the way to the kitchen. As I stood in there, I was planning a strategy for tackling the dirt. I had breakfast and then set about cleaning the study. I spent six hours cleaning and polishing my computer table and writing desk and vacuum cleaning the carpet in their corner of the room. The next day after work I wrote a reply to my niece's wedding invitation. On Thursday evening I called my father. On Saturday the 22nd I wanted to carry on cleaning my study but my brain wanted to sit down at the computer, telling me “Just check your e-mail and then do the cleaning afterwards.” I knew that if I did this I would spend the rest of the day at the computer. I had already had my morning tablet but I took another one and went to lie down on my bed to wait for it to take effect. After about twenty minutes I felt a buzz in my head. I got up and began the next phase of tidying up the junk on the study floor. At one point the vacuum cleaner was so full of dust that it overheated and cut out. I took a break and made some coffee. I was sitting unable to carry on until the vacuum cleaner cooled down but I had the urge to do something constructive so I began sorting out the books that were piled on top of my bookcase. I had gone from a state of being unable to do anything to being unable to sit down and do nothing. I finished cleaning the study the next day. Among the papers I found bank statements and letters from 2006.
At least a year before, I had got home from work one evening to find that float valve on my hot water cylinder was leaking and water was seeping out of where the overflow pipe joined the tank. Since then I had lived with the stop cock turned off, only turning it on occasionally to allow the header tank to refill or when I wanted to take a bath. Eventually the stop cock began to leak too when it was turned on. I put a container in the airing cupboard to catch the drips while I was in the bath. I left the airing cupboard door permanently open, knowing that it was futile, as a reminder to fix the plumbing. On Saturday the 29th, I wanted to go to the supermarket but I could feel the lure of the internet. I took a tablet and lay down while it took effect. When I got up I saw the open door and instantly changed my plans. I decided that it would be better to fix the plumbing first while the sun was up. I got a spanner and took the top nut off the stop cock expecting to find an o‑ring that needed replacing. Instead there was a nylon collar in there. All I had to do was tighten the nut a bit further and the leak was fixed in minutes. Within two hours I had replaced the float valve and fixed the leak that I had been living with for longer than I can remember.
The following Saturday I wanted to clean my bedroom. I had just taken a tablet and I was wary of taking two at once so I decided to check my e-mail and then take another tablet afterwards. About an hour when I wanted to take the tablet, the depression had taken hold again and I spent the rest of the day at the computer. After that I decided to take five tablets a day which keeps me out of depression permanently. It was easy to forget when a tablet was due so I eventually switched to two 25µg tablets and one 12·5µg in order to reduce the number I was taking each day.
Now that the depression was cured, several problems that I had not attributed to the depression also disappeared:
I used to do my food shopping every Friday. For a few years up to the end of 2014 I habitually bought tiramisu each week, sometimes seeing it in my basket at the checkout with no recollection of having picked it up. I would usually get home at around 4:30pm, take a vitamin D tablet and go to the supermarket at about six o’clock. One day in spring 2015 I needed to go to the supermarket earlier so I arrived there shortly after having taken a tablet. I was surprised to discover that I was able to take the decision not to buy tiramisu. Thereafter I delayed taking the tablet until about twenty minutes before leaving for the supermarket.
There was a time when I used to buy a bottle of wine to have with my Sunday dinner. I would have two glasses one week and finish the bottle the following week. Some time in the mid nineties after I found myself drinking the entire bottle in one go three weeks in succession. Not wanting to end up an alcoholic, I stopped having wine with Sunday dinner. I rarely bought alcohol for home consumption. If I bought a six‑pack of lager with the intention of drinking two cans per day, I would end up drinking four cans on the first day. One day in early 2015, the supermarket had a special promotion on craft beers. I bought a selection of six bottles and was surprised to find that I was able to limit myself to two bottles a day. I can now enjoy alcohol at home once again without drinking until I get drunk.
© Copyright 2020 Andrew Jarvis.