Thanks to all of you who read and commented on my post from two days ago.
I was wondering why I was choosing behaviors that I knew were unhealthy for me. After reading your comments, I realized that my choices were directly related to some significant stress in my life at the moment. (My husband is in the middle of a career change; we have been in limbo for a long time now and we have big decisions up ahead.) It seems ridiculous that I hadn’t made this connection earlier – but such is the benefit of blogging about these things! 🙂
So there’s stress. And that means I need to be even more diligent about my growing self-care skills. I haven’t been mindful of that, and I think that definitely contributed to my day of self-sabotage.
But perhaps the biggest lesson I took from the comments is that I can write off a day as a not-so-great day, and start over again the next day. Janice from Crazy Good Parent suggested that I can channel Scarlett O’Hara: “Tomorrow is another day.”
The idea that tomorrow offers a fresh start may seem obvious but it struck me as being very different from how I usually approach things. I’m a scientist – by nature and by training – and I approach my depression with that perspective. I like to collect data, to analyze results, to identify trends and correlations. A bad day like the one earlier this week doesn’t stand alone – it gets added to the pile of data I’ve already accumulated and analyzed. I try to figure out how it fits with recent trends. Maybe the bad day confirms the feeling that I might be slipping. Or maybe it’s related to my menstrual cycle. Or maybe the fact that I had a glass of wine means that I’m not fully committed to removing alcohol from my daily life. Or maybe I should be working harder in therapy to prevent such poor choices. Or maybe, or maybe, or maybe.
I would be in seventh heaven if I could input all these data points to a spreadsheet and have it spit out a graph that summarizes my mental state.
But… I’m beginning to see that I overthink these things, and in so doing, I create even more anxiety about my mental state. Sometimes a day is just a day, plain and simple – with a beginning, an end, and a bunch of stuff in between. It doesn’t have to be analyzed in 14 different ways. I don’t have to draw profound conclusions and expand my lists of Things I Should Do When Stressed or Things I Should Avoid When Expecting My Period or Things That Could Possibly Indicate an Immediate Meltdown.
It’s just a day.