Depression never really leaves you, once you've had it. Sure it'll die down if you get lucky and figure out its trigger before it claims you, but like the Hampster Dance, once you've seen it you can never quite forget its tune no matter how much you might like to.
I've had a short sharp shock from my old foe this week. I know exactly why, the prospect of a difficult meeting with a customer yesterday afternoon stressed me and sent me spiralling into a hell of a state for a couple of days. It's a crazy thing to have happen, because the rational part of you can see it unfolding and say as a spectator "I know what's going on here, this is crazy, stop it!", even though there's as much chance of that happening as the Hand of God helping an Argentinian goalkeeper save a German shot. Yesterday lunchtime was spent preparing with an extended version of my usual power walk, nearly five miles at breathless pace up the hill, down into the village, along the railway and back up to the office. Exercise and plenty of distractions are good depression therapy.
The really crazy thing was, the expected confrontation failed to materialise. The customer's anger was muted once his misunderstanding was corrected and we had a cordial and constructive meeting. There was even the promise of further business! And my depression melted away as though it had never been, leaving me feeling rather stupid.
I can't help feeling worried by the whole experience though. The only time I have ever felt my wife becoming disconnected from me was when I was at the height of my depression, I could so easily have lost her then so I recognise that in terms of my marriage it's the depression not the gender issues that form the biggest threat. To feel a stab from my old foe once more after I thought I'd beaten it is unsettling to say the least.
While out on my power walk I did have the good fortune to pass a cherry tree I had been unaware of, laden at this time of year with ripe fruit, sour hedgerow cherries rather than the sweet variety from the supermarket. Enough for both me and the birds, though in deference to my customer I didn't linger for too long. Too much ripe fruit just before a meeting can have such unfortunate consequences!