It’s not much, but that’s the idea that sustains me.
Developing coping mechanisms for depression (and actually seeking treatment) before the world went into a state of isolation and fear is something that’s helping me keep perspective.
No matter what today throws at me, or how disappointed and weary and angry I might feel at the end of the day, I made it to the end.
Tomorrow could be better. I don’t know yet. I have to get there to find out.
Because no matter how hard I think about the things I could’ve done differently in the past to make this a better day, that’s a fruitless exercise.
There’s a name for a mental habit connected to depression: rumination. It’s all about focusing on the past, mulling it over, trying to solve it like a problem.
There’s a passage in The Mindful Way through Depression about it:
When we ruminate, we become fruitlessly preoccupied with the fact that we are unhappy and with the causes, meanings, and consequences of our unhappiness. Research has repeatedly shown that if we have tended to react to our sad or depressed moods in these ways in the past, then we are likely to find the same strategy volunteering to “help” again and again when our mood starts to slide. And it will have the same effect: we’ll get stuck in the very mood from which we are trying to escape…
Rumination invariably backfires. It merely compounds our misery. It’s a heroic attempt to solve a problem that it is just not capable of solving.
Dissecting the day doesn’t make it any better. And analyzing how you would make different choices about today doesn’t necessarily apply to tomorrow, since every day might feel the same (especially now, when so many people are isolating themselves and their families away from the rest of their communities), but it won’t work. No two days are the exact same.
Today is already written. There’s no erasing it or tearing out that page. I can’t make tomorrow simply a more polished revision of today.
So I need to turn to the next blank sheet and start again. Start over.
Because tomorrow could be better.