I’m always my best the morning after a night of depression. It’s so strange. I’ve suffered from depression for years, but I’ve also thrived from depression as well. Let me explain.
When you hit rock bottom, the only other place you can go is up. So in my darkest moments, when I spiral into self-loathing, doubt, insecurity, and imposter syndrome, I typically end my night by going to bed depleted. Then I wake up, and clarity is at my bedside.
The morning after an “episode” as I call them, I’m the most inspirational I’ve ever been. I give myself the best pep talks, I have the best ideas, I’m equipped with the most energy. It’s amazing. Maybe it’s a creative’s double edged sword.
I think of all the tortured souls who have produced beautiful works. I imagine that Robin Williams gave us his best performances after a night of darkness. All my life, I’ve pictured Edgar Allan Poe roaming around a dark and cold cottage with his raven giving him the side eye. Even Adele’s saddest songs are the most emotionally moving.
When I first started doing this, essentially doing a 180 after a night of “woe is me”, I thought I was crazy. I seriously thought I suffered from manic depressive disorder, because my lows would be on the farthest end of the spectrum, and my highs would too. Chemical imbalance and psychological instability were the only things I could think of to explain this. And it scared me. Then, it kept happening, and I learned to live with it.
Now, I embrace it. I let myself feel the pain, the angst, the anxiety, the overwhelming frustration of not being or not getting or not doing whatever. Then I go to sleep, like a tuckered out toddler. Then I wake up and feel like I could conquer anything that came my way. I have the energy to read, write, think, dream, plan, and create.
My challenge now is stretching those bouts of power, energy, and creativity. I have to seal the holes where judgement and insecurity seep through and dissolve from the inside. I have to learn to take those sprints, and pace myself for a marathon instead. And it takes practice.
Again, that practice involves a few nights of sorrow and isolation, but the practice will also involve turning those things around. The practice will involve a thought process change. It will involve not always retreating to my bed, but finding other ways to stop my downward spiral. I imagine it’ll be like mental rehab.
I don’t see literal rainbows after every storm, but I do see them after every “episode”. A reminder is always given that even my darkest moments can’t shadow me forever. A reminder that all bad things come to an end. A reminder that a crooked smile is better than a perfect frown.