Have you ever had a great time out and then suddenly when it's over with, all the good immediately exits and you are left with an extreme down?
Think about it. Do you come back from an amazing vacation and all of a sudden it's over and you're down? Maybe you had a memorable night out with friends and now that it's done it seems the happiness went with.
I've always known it was a thing, coming back from Florida as a kid I would always feel down. You'd think I'd be happy coming off of a nice vacation but no. My best moments are always followed by a low. I'm not saying these lows are my rock bottom but it certainly feels as if you are in a state in which nothing satisfies you.
Recently before this whole pandemic really took flight, I went for brunch with two of my best friends. I'm not some huge social butterfly and don' t have many friends so for me a simple brunch is a lot. Despite always feeling awkward and anxious when going out I had a nice time. Unfortunately, the second I got home I got hit with that wave. As if that hour and a bit never happened. Nothing seemed to please me. Reality kicks in!
So, Why is this a thing?
Of course, I'm no expert but a lot of it has to do with transmissions in the brain. One way I tell it to myself is to think of it as adrenaline. It's pumping and pumping but, as soon as it passes, you start to feel. I think the same could be said for our emotions during a good time. We're having a nice time doing things we love with people we love. You may even be distracted from our reality. Then when it's over our 'normal' steps back in.
I just want to add in, I'm not talking about Manic Depression, Bi-Polar or Cyclothymia. Some of the ups and downs may be similar to these but overall I'm strictly talking on a lower scale in our day to day lives.
Basically falling back into our normal routine can be hard, especially difficult if we were enjoying being out of it. They call it post-vacation blues for a reason. It doesn't even need to be a vacation or an outing we may feel it weekly. How many of you have had the Monday Blues? I know I used to. Going back to our routine sucks, even if we like what we do. So whether it be my brunch or your vacation it is normal to feel down.
I've had times in my life where I protected myself from even going out because I know how hard it can be on me afterward. I remember after brunch it felt like my world had stopped. All over something as simple as brunch. It goes beyond brunch. It felt like my emotions took a power nap and when brunch ended so did they. I'm not saying don't go out don't do fun things quite the opposite actually.
Here are 5 ways to Combat the Lows that Follow our Highs.
Appreciate it for what it was. Like I've said immediately following good times it feels as if my mind hits the delete button. That shouldn't be the case. You need to appreciate it, whether that be vacation, dinner or anything that made you feel good. Remind yourself of how you felt and tell yourself you will feel it again. I guarantee that's not the last brunch I have with those two. With my best friend, I often got sad when we were done hanging out. She calmed me down so I hated going back to my normal. What she taught me was if I dwell on it ending I never get to truly enjoy my experiences. It isn't easy but I try my best to attach to the good.
Look Forward. This is a difficult one for me because I get scared thinking about the future. A lot of unknowns that make my anxiety spike. Despite that, having things to look forward to always help. It can literally be anything from your next outing to my personal favorite, my next cheat meal. Having different stuff to anticipate is amazing. It can work in many facets of life. When I'm feeling suicidal I always look ahead to find reasons to hang around. I'm not saying plan your life out cause F#&* that. Simply having one or two things in the near future can make a huge difference. You can even go one step farther and plan ahead. Put paper to pen and make it happen.
Evaluate. Take a step back and ask yourself, "Is something missing?" This isn't exactly the case for me, but maybe you need to evaluate your life. Not on some grand ole scale but maybe something you do with friends or on vacation is missing from your day to day life. Did you go for walks on vacation and now you don't? Maybe you should! Do you enjoy talking to friends a lot? Reach out! I'm not saying have some huge mid-life crisis. Just be mindful that maybe there's a tiny void that you are capable of filling.
Memories. This one we are all capable of in one form or another. Remember what it was. A good time. For the most part, we are all capable of remembering, so often we choose to remember the bad. My challenge to you is to remember the good. You may also have physical or digital memories. Buy a souvenir while on vacation or take a picture with friends to capture the night. You can look back on it when the low starts drifting in. Remind yourself that you had a good time. Our mind is so powerful, let us use it for something good for a change.
Stay Busy. Lastly, it's important not to dwell. Stay busy. After that brunch, I had doggy school to go to. I was dwelling in my thoughts the whole car ride there and just wanted to be back at brunch. As much as I disliked dog school (school has never been my thing) it helped distract me and keep myself busy. I think it's important we do the same. The last thing we want to do is keep busy whilst down but it really does help. That being said I'm not someone who believes in constantly keeping your schedule packed to basically never allow time for us to thing and deal with our problems. That to me is avoidance and will lead to bigger problems down the road. Stay in the grey zone, acknowledge that our feelings are there, accept them, then try and do an activity or two so we don't let them consume us.
I experience this all the time in my life, anytime something good happens to me actually, so I know just like most mental health topics it isn't this easy. Mental health anything will never be easy. That would be too simple. The good news is this is normal, quite common actually. Just like anxiety, we experience these highs and lows time and time again and continuously overcome them. Yet we still are affected. How many Mondays have you survived by now? Stay Mindful. Stay strong and remember as always this too shall pass.
"You are the sky. everything else-it's just the weather" - Perma Chodron.
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