XOMU: The other shoe
When feeling good is terrifying
You know how I’ve been talking about how good my mental health is? There’s been a small voice in my head for two weeks now, quietly whispering, “Don’t jinx it.” Sure enough, over the weekend I woke up back in The Bad Place. Low-energy, uninterested in connecting with my husband (or hiking, or even going to the gym—my reliably Good Place), and wondering if this was the day my mental health would take a sharp spiral back down to the ninth circle of seasonal depression.
To be fair, I’ve had some unique stress over the last week; some work-related, but mostly related to a personal event—the kind that still pushes the biggest button I have left from my last marriage and divorce. It’s understandable that I’d be distracted, stressed, and that my mental health might lose a little shine. But instead of handling it in a healthy, productive way—the way someone who’s been in therapy for decades and absolutely has the tools might handle it—I immediately shifted into self-sabotage mode.
Blow it all up
When I was in rehab (for the first time), I remember having the worst panic attack of my life after a group session that went rather well. I left the session feeling hopeful for the first time in years, and immediately began crying and hyperventilating. My therapist told me that I had become so used to the artificially-high highs and the correspondingly devastating lows from drugs that any time I felt good, I anticipated the crash, and my body behaved accordingly.
I noticed this carrying over into every area of my life when I got out of rehab too—and so did everyone else in my life. I remember my dad saying to me once, with great love during a heart-to-heart, “Every time things go right for you, you blow them up. It’s hard to watch.”