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Good Days and How to Appreciate Them

It’s a fascinating revelation as a person who is clinically depressed, anxious, or just naturally pessimistic, to realize that they are having a good day.  To wake up smiling and thinking back on recent events with love and joy is…well, a novelty.  While others may not give a second thought on how well a day went, this kind of person will sit, reflect, and even marvel a little at how it is even possible to feel this way.

That it is still possible to feel this way.

Last Sunday was the annual live Dragon*Con performance of The Blood Crow Stories cast and crew as they presented episode 1 of their upcoming Season 3, “The Neon Lodge.”  Earlier this year, through whirlwind circumstances I may divulge at a later date, I won the lead role for Season 3.  The hero of the season, Kesha Charles, is strong, resourceful, and confident, and doesnt take crap from anybody.

And I was terrified out of my mind on how, exactly, I was supposed to play her.

However, yesterday’s live performance went off smoothly.  The audience was engaged and really seemed to enjoy themselves.  By the time it was over, all I remembered were the grins of the cast and crew, the pride and excitement of my friends who came to watch (all seven of them!!  I have seven friends!! :O), and a strange, comforting calm as I (*gasp*) interacted with strangers.

Rewind to The Down Days

Last weekend was not a good day.

In fact, I would term last weekend as what I call “down days“–days that take you to the very bottom of yourself and sap your strength, your motivation, your emotions, and…in worst cases, your will.

Last Sunday was a day that I didn’t want to speak to anybody.  I didn’t want to leave my house, or post a blog entry, or work on my novel, or clean or text or care.

Yet at the same time, I wanted to talk to someone.  I wanted someone to sit quietly with me.  I wanted–needed–someone to hold me.  I needed that human contact to help remind me that I was a human being, and I existed. I wanted to shout and scream and expel all of the negative energy into the universe.

But I didn’t want to burden anyone with my stress.  So I called no one.  I ran the few errands I could make myself do.  And I told no one how much I didn’t want be alone.

Most down days last, as the name entails, a day.  This one stretched on through Wednesday.  More than anything, I wanted to avoid people and work and anything that prompted thinking or moving.  I had a chronic headache, shaking limbs and general exhaustion.

The last “down day” I had was five years ago.  If I made it through then, I knew I could now.  I had to.

And slowly but steadily…I did.

How You Know You’re Having a Good Day

But enough about the down days.  Considering that today is a marketable 180-degree difference from last week means that progress is being made.  Not only that, but I recognize that I am happy, that I enjoyed myself this last weekend.  And I know that I want more of that.

For those who also want to remember the good days as they come, here are a few signs that you are in the middle of one–that you are enjoying it to its highest potential.

1. You wake up smiling

Ever have those days when the world just feels like it’s in Technicolor?

Don’t know what Technicolor is?

Me, neither.

But, I know that Looney Tunes switched to Technicolor when re-releasing shorts, and classic Looney Tunes shorts are epic.

When you wake up on a good day, the world seems visually quieter, slower.  The sun is bright.

And you remember that you are alive.  You can do things.  And there are many things in this world that are still beautiful.

The beauty and vibrancy of nature.

2. You turn into a silly, happy fool

Oh, you know what you do when you’re happy.  You can’t explain it or help it–you just feel good.  And it’s been so long since you have.  Happiness erases years and makes you feel like a carefree child.

You play your favorites songs or involuntarily hum to the songs you hear on the radio.  You find the remnants of your favorite hobbies and think, “Ima start these up again!”  And then you actually do.

You call loved ones on the phone and chat in a way that makes them think in pleasant surprise, “WTF is she on?”

Or, you dance like this–and dang it if you don’t commit:

Arin Hanson Dances
Thanks, Arin Hanson–you know what I’m sayin’.

3.  Social media doesn’t terrify you

The term itself says it all.  Social media.

Present that term to a super introvert with social anxiety issues.

Even though I have FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram, I use them both rarely and poorly.  Even when I do take pictures of something I like, I lament silently on whether they’re public-postable.  Then, I overwhelm myself with questions on whether I’m impinging on someone else’s rights to post a pic of them in it, and is my pic too blurry, and nobody will like it anyway–

Aaaaaand then I freak myself out and don’t post it.

On a good day, the thoughts don’t go as long.  Either I post it cuz I wanna, or I don’t cuz I don’t wanna.  Mind you, it still takes me about 5 – 10 minutes to write the caption under the pic–but I do post it, dagnabbit.  And that’s what matters.

4.  You rejoin the world

Three years ago to this day, attending DragonCon was a far-blown pipe dream.  I never, ever could have imagined that not only would I attend it, but I would also cosplay in it and perform at a panel.  Just typing that sentence leaves me staggered, humbled, and absolutely ecstatic.

That being said…I think this vid sums it up a little better than I can.

Dragon*Con 2018, baby!!!

5.  You want to give, give, give

One of the main reasons anxiety and depression suck is because of how selfish it makes you.  You think thoughts like, “I am stupid.  Nobody likes me.  I can’t do anything right.  I don’t want to talk to anyone.”  Me, me, me.

The cruelest part of it all is, you can see yourself being this way, but you can’t just pull yourself out of it.  You want to–you want to so badly–but it doesn’t work like that.

If you do manage to pull yourself out, however–the welling of love and understanding is almost overwhelming.  The shadowy silhouettes that fluttered in and out of your life become actual people.

Friends.  Family.  People who love you.  Who like you.  Who want to help you.  Who want to see you succeed.

You finally recognize how long they’ve stuck around, despite your crappy moods.  And more than anything, you want to express to them that you know–that you appreciate it more than they can possibly know.  You love them, too!  And you just want them to please–please stay in your life.

Despite the times you can be an emotionless mess, canceling plans because you can’t find the energy to support them, or snapping at them when they’re asking if you’re alright for the fifth time, you love them and they mean so much to you.  And you will help them however you can, so just tell you want they need, so you can do it!

And most times, you want to do it all before the next wave of depression and anxiety returns.

Because, believe me–it does return.

When the Good Days Go

The bad news is, there is no immediate, one-time cure for depression or anxiety, social or regular.  Even if there is medication to help reduce the symptoms, medicine alone can’t fix it.  Finding the right combo of medicine, therapy, and inner strength are the best ways to maintain control of your life and keeping the good days coming.  It is hard work and long work, but it does reap rewards if you stay with it.  The frequency and the duration of the down days reduce, and if you can just make it through each one, you’ll start to acknowledge them less and less.

Another way?

Remember that today, you are in a good day.

Remember how good it feels.

Remember that, if the down days return, you always have the chance to bring the good days back.

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