One bad day does not an episode make.
Lately I have been feeling the brief bleeps of depression sending a telegraph signal to me to double my portion size. Worry about everything ever. And definitely cry while eating pancakes. I may not have noticed until the results became cumulative, and my first instinct when this sort of thing starts to happen is to shout,
“Quick quick quick! Finish all projects, sever all ties, and run for the hills! The big depressive swing is coming!”
While there is something to be said about being aware of my symptoms and knowing to be wary when they begin to stack into something more unmanageable I have a serious tendency to immediately expect the worst. Doom and gloom, certain I’ll be hospitalized within months, ever starting at the ground floor and working my way back up.
The reality of the situation, however, is that this idea simply isn’t true. One day of crying over my pancakes does not provide a 100% certainty that the next day will be the same, or worse. In fact, there are many more examples of me bouncing back from a depressive or mixed day than there are big (note: several month long) depressive episodes in my life, but these larger episodes have generally produced so much fear in me that I would not be shocked to find that I’ve worried myself back down into one.
It seems the real trick here is balance, something I’ve always struggled with a bit. Finding a sense of awareness about my symptoms but not overreacting (or even underreacting) to them is the goal. One of the biggest ways I can help myself is to remember that I can’t see the future (though I did have a dream once that came true. It was about cupcakes. None since then though). Being able to feel prepared for the future while also not feeling consumed by it is ideal, and while I can’t say I’ve mastered that I am definitely working on it.
It can be easy for me to forget that one bad day does not imply an episode, but this concept is one that I am actively trying to remind myself of (naturally doing so in a goofy Yoda voice helps) to help stave off that horrible crushing fear that seems capable of grabbing hold of me and dragging me exactly where I didn’t want to go. Hopefully working harder to stay in the present (while maintaining an awareness of my symptoms and how they operate) is something that can help keep me from stumbling into another depressive self-fulfilling prophecy!