I have been reading about the correlation between all-or-nothing thinking and Depression. Apparently this black and white way of looking at the world is common among people suffering from Depression. And it causes a vicious cycle.
Even in people with unipolar Depression (without the excess happiness of mania) don't need much to experience an upswing in mood. We are likely to see everything as either wonderful or terrible.
The day is a complete disaster. I can't do anything right. I didn't accomplish anything I wanted to do today. Okay I have to stop coming up with examples of this because it is making me feel terrible.
And the one bad thing that colors the whole day can make you sink into your shell and not engage in the things that help your brain fight the Depression.
When in recovery for my eating disorder if I had one "bad" day I would give up for the rest of the week because that week was already ruined. Until one of my level-headed friends suggested that I just start the week over the next day. Who's to say that the week has to start on Saturday? Start the week on Wednesday. Brilliant.
It isn't more happiness that we need as people suffering from Depression-- it's more calm. Emotional intensity feeds that Depressive state. What we need is more evenness. Less dramatic ups and fewer plummeting downs.
One of my college roommates told me he never wanted to see me drunk because he had seen me at my highest (so to speak) and at my lowest without any chemical help and whichever way alcohol took me he didn't want to see it.
So how do you combat the tendency to think in black and white? Moderation moderation moderation.
And while in a major Depressive episode I don't get to experience the highs because I am stuck in the lows, it isn't soaring into the stratosphere of happiness that I need. It is something less. Something more sustainable. Something without the inevitable crash. We are addicted to the rush of intense emotional experience. It can be hard to let that go.
Quaker, teacher, parent,