Whoops, I Feel Good. What Now?
Coming out of a depressive episode is confusing as fuck. For me, wallowing is a form of complacency. There's a certain acceptance I begin to feel when I'm stinky and in bed all the time. Is it relaxing? Maybe? I don't think so. The viscous thoughts that come with depression are not relaxing. But there is a certain bodily comfort in going, "well, I'm not going to spend any of my awake time with my feet on the floor today, so I may as well do things that make me feel safe and comfortable, like scroll on social media, body-shame myself, and masturbate till I pass out."
Not that masturbating is problematic behavior (unless you're on a casino bus or in a doctor's waiting room), but those "comfort zones" I find myself in when I'm depressed are generally peppered with things that will only sink me deeper into my bed.
Compare and despair, baby!!!
When I'm manic, I never want it to end. I find myself losing weight, more confident, more productive. I always feel like I'm the best version of myself. And the scary part about that… it's true. I'm on fire. I can approach anyone, speak with more bass in my voice, be brazen and take risks. It's AWESOME.
And while all of that is going on, I'm racking up $15,000 in credit card debt. When I was single and manic, I was going on 5 dates a week. I drink more and eat less. While I feel like the cock of the walk, I have far-less consideration for other people's feelings. I'm self-centered and egotistical. I'm Chris Motherfucking Russell, and don't you forget it. That's how it shows up in me. And again, in the moment, it FEELS GOOD, so why stop it?
Bipolar brain is a funny thing, huh?
So, what happens when I'm neither of those things? All this fighting and attention I give to these two fucking extremes consumes so much of my life. But what the hell do I do when I'm experiencing neither? That's something people who don't experience may not understand - the lifelong battle of grappling with both sides of this devil can blur those beautiful in-between times where you're neutral, for however brief.
I'm in a "good" right now. A "Dry Half-January" is helping. Getting back into kickboxing is helping. Writing and setting goals for myself is helping. Eating better is helping. Drinking less caffeine is helping. Watching award contender movies and feeling inspired is helping. Medication is helping. Therapy is helping.
Healthy routines are helping.
It's sounds so easy, doesn't it? Why not just do that all the time? You just listed a shitload of a bunch of sustainable habits, why not just continue to apply them?
Same reason we don't ask a basketball player, "you should probably just throw it in the basket every time." Or a baseball player, "If you hit it over the fence, you automatically score a run, so why not do that every time?"
Because there's a fucking 7 foot defender in your face, because there's a pitcher throwing 100 MPH from 60 feet away.
LIFE happens. Stress happens. Triggers happen. Unfair shit happens. Abuse happens. Global pandemics happen. I'm fortunate enough on this day, January 12th, 2022, that I am able to manage all of the problems in my life without spiral. OH MY GOD. THAT'S SO FUCKING NICE.
Do I just enjoy it? Am I even allowed to do that? Should I purchase a flight I can't afford on my credit card, the one I spent five years getting down to zero? Ya know, shake things up a bit?
Should I take a four-hour nap for no reason, just to feel shitty again? Because that's what I feel I deserve?
Or should I just ride this "good" out? Maybe go to the movies?
Or maybe express gratitude. It's a good day.