Things are feeling a little better. I guess I didn't realize how insanely stressed out I was last week, but getting to the end of it took a huge load off. Aside from the GRE, I had two interviews, two papers due, and a quiz. So once I got through it all, I just sort of fell apart emotionally. Although I'm feeling much more stable now, it still scares me how easily the depression and anxiety started to creep back in.
I think I need to do some serious thinking about how to make my mental health a priority. In one of my classes, we are learning about the idea of "self-efficacy" in promoting behavior changes. Put simply, self-efficacy means you believe in your ability to do something. If you don't have self-efficacy, it doesn't really matter whether you can actually do something or not, because you probably won't even give it a shot. If you don't think there's a remote possibility that you can quit smoking or can run a mile or can recover from your eating disorder, then you aren't likely to try. And in my case, I've decided that I have extremely low self-efficacy with regards to my mental health. I don't ever feel like I have any control over how I feel, but rather that my moods are solely a result of the circumstances. That's why I was so depressed last year; I felt that my depression was a direct result of my physical pain, so there was no point in trying to change my outlook. And then, alternately, starting in the fall I believed that my happiness was a direct result of not being in pain, so I never bothered to take precautions against future depression. All I could do was cross my fingers and hope the pain stayed away so that the depression would too.
But obviously that's not true. There is a lot that I can do to take care of my super duper fragile brain, which serves me pretty well in terms of schoolwork and test-taking and keeping my heart beating and blood flowing and all that, but NOT so well in terms of being normal and thinking positive and seeing the bright side of things and not catastrophizing about things that will likely never happen. The key is to remember that there is a lot that I can do, and that it's important to do them even when I feel fine instead of waiting until the bottom drops out. I can make sure to feed myself appropriately, get enough sleep, talk with Dr. P and my mom and my friends about stuff, and not let myself get as stressed out and overwhelmed as I have been.
And maybe most important at this point, I can TAKE MY GODDAMN MEDICATION. I've actually been better about it the past few days because feeling so low again scared me into compliance. I'm not ever opposed to taking it, but periodically I decide that I don't want to and maybe I'll see how long I can go skipping it. Like, what do I expect to happen?? Couldn't tell you. Anyway, I'm back on the drug bandwagon for now.
So, I guess here's to self-efficacy and my drugs and taking better care of my brain.