Following my post on my recent depression setback, I heard from many readers who were comforted to know that they were not alone. As I said in that piece, if you suffer from chronic depression, you know all too well that setbacks happen, even to those of us who think we are doing everything right to protect our limbic systems from intense sadness and anxiety.
I thought I would follow up, then, by listing some nuggets or things to remember that help me when I’m in a bad place. I hope they might help you, too.
1. Watch the Panic
When my son was about nine months old, loving to climb on everything but not yet walking, we visited some friends of ours who had a six-year-old daughter. He saw their stairs and immediately began to tackle them. Sitting on the fourth step, she immediately pushed him down the stairs and with the panic of someone whose house was on fire, declared, “He’s going after my tea set!”
I always remember that response in the first weeks that my mood plummets and I can’t control the tears. “Oh my God! I’m going THERE AGAIN!” It’s the same shear panic of knowing that someone is coming after my precious teapot. Of course, there is no tea set. Even if there was, I’m sure it’s quite ugly and no one would want it. However, our minds are quite adept at convincing us of realities that don’t exist. When you panic and know for sure that you are headed for the abyss, for a depressive episode that is worse than the one that had you hospitalized three years ago, remember the tea set and loosen your grip.