It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while I’ll have a bit of time where my mood is fairly neutral. When I consciously notice that, it sets off a whole crazy train of thoughts.
One thought is that I’m not sure I can believe that it’s actually real. I’m suspicious that it’s some weird trick of the mind to get me thinking everything’s ok before throwing me right back into the depths depressive hell. In the past, this was the point where I’d get stuck. I’d think recovery was a possibility, but I was convinced that those particular moments were not actually indicative of recovery. As the course of my illness has evolved, though, full remission seems unlikely. That means I don’t stop at this particular station, and instead the crazy train keeps on chugging.
Right behind that is the thought that I wasn’t actually depressed in the first place – that I was faking it. Logically I know that’s not true, but we’re not talking logic here, we’re talking crazy caboose. I start to doubt my judgment, and question whether I actually know myself. I can recognize that line of thought is pretty out there, but it keeps on chugging for a while.
Then comes the thought what is wrong with me that I’m making such a big production out of this? Isn’t neutral normal(ish)? So what’s wrong with me that I can’t react to neutral in a neutral-normal kind of way?
Then eventually I realize that the crazy train has left the station and it’s time to wave goodbye and let those thoughts of faking it fade off into the distance. Just like the everyday anhedonia, it’s not worth making a fuss over. From a mindfulness perspective, I need to just be present in those moments of neutral, and focus my attention on observing some guinea pigs or woodpeckers to keep my mind from erratically hopping around to past and future.
Stop, breathe, and watch the guinea pigs. I can do that. Maybe.
Do you have times of feeling better-ish when you start doubting yourself or reality, and start to think you’re faking it?
Embrace Acceptance: A Guided Journal draws on concepts from acceptance and commitment therapy to help you move towards a place of greater acceptance. It’s available FREE from the MH@H Store.