Anxious Happiness: How Long Will It Last?

It’s counterintuitive to be afraid of being in a good mood.

I know for other people, being in a good mood is just a normal thing. For me, it comes so rarely that it causes anxiety.

I know that it is a fleeting thing. I don’t know how long it is going to last.

Inevitably, something is going to happen that will send me into a shame or self-hatred spiral. I will embarrass myself and I will start thinking about all of the things that are wrong with me again.

It isn’t like the things I don’t like about myself are forgotten during this time. It’s more like they have been put on the back burner. They are there, and I can see them, but they aren’t the priority right now.

It is nice to have distractions, to have some things that are on the front burner. I am very focused on exercise, for example. It is something that I am very much enjoying.

I am spending more time with friends. It is less frightening right now to reach out to make plans, and when I do, my friends tend to reciprocate. I imagine them thinking/saying, “Oh! She feels like being social! Let’s get on her schedule while this lasts before she starts canceling on everyone again!”

The end result is suddenly finding myself with an almost overwhelmingly full social calendar. Rather than feeling exhausted or saddened by how busy my next few weeks will be, though, I’m feeling absolutely gleeful. Perhaps, even, a little over-excited.

Depression causes good moods to have a sort of manic quality about them. There is an anxiety that accompanies even the good times, a knowledge they will end soon and a constant fear that the end will happen at any second.

I am walking on eggshells constantly, afraid of doing something that will break the spell and cause a bad time to descend.

I’ve yet to figure out exactly what triggers the bad times. Alcohol? Loneliness? Sugar? Lack of exercise?

There is no formula or recipe that I have yet to find. There is nothing that wards off the bad times that I can pursue. I don’t know when they are going to hit. They just do.

Sometimes, I imagine myself having magical powers. To be honest, the first things I always think of doing if I had magical powers have to do with having a clean house and being skinnier, but shortly thereafter I think of casting some sort of spell for being happy and feeling strong and smart more of the time.

Right now, I only have brief glimpses of what those things feel like. If I had them more consistently, I can’t even imagine how wonderful my life might be.

I have, however, noticed some annual cycles. For some reason, beyond seasonal clothing changes and a preference to keep as much of my skin covered as possible, my spirit loves fall and winter. As the calendar stretches into August every year, my mood tends to lift.

Part of my current good mood contains some feelings of optimism. There is this idea that if I continue to exercise perhaps next spring and summer will be less miserable. Now that I have realized this seasonal cycle perhaps I can create this recipe or pursue this formula, and be able to avoid next year’s emotional slump.

The idea that I can perhaps do something to mitigate my depression helps contribute to my current good spirits.

For now, though, I try to be at ease with the knowledge the good mood will not last. I simply do my best to enjoy it while it is here.

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