Normally, I'm a very energetic person. I teach, write, play guitar, cook, walk, ride a bicycle, and perform most other activities with tremendous intensity and vigor. I even sit and read ferociously.
When depressed, I lose almost all of my power. This is not only a terrible obstruction to getting things done, but it's a cruel insult to my sense of self. I am nothing if not intense, so if I'm not intense, it follows that I'm nothing. Logic aside, that's how it feels.
I shall first illustrate by way of music. My guitar playing is a little off, because I never really learned the things most guitar players learn, so what I do is based on a very vivid sense of alienation from music, actually. I play the guitar very much in the same vein that Ionesco wrote plays, if you dig that (and maybe three people will).
It's been impossible to play the guitar lately. I can't catch hold of the weird relationship I have to music that drives me to play and to write songs - the compulsion to make this thing do something it's not inclined to do. But there's nothing there. I hold the guitar in my hands, and I don't know what to do with it.
Cooking has been the same. I have a smattering of French and a bit of Northern Italian, and what I love to do is walk into the kitchen, decide on some fairly arbitrary course of action, and make madcap gorgeous food happen. Pork loin stuffed with fennel in a sauce Robert? Solid! How about improvising on prawns poached in court bouillon and served with a sauce of the reduced stock and cream, with chives? Okey-dokey. Whip that up.
Lately? Nix. I made black bean chili Thursday. It was the most creative I've been in the kitchen in months.
I think my definitive characteristic is ferocious, iconoclastically-bent invention. While depressed? Bupkis.
Depression is stupid. It makes my music and food stupid, too.