I've found myself using the term 'breakdown' to refer to anxious or depressive episodes. Maybe an over-dramatic term when I really sit an think about it, but it get's the point across nonetheless. A more positive and articulate way of thinking of a 'breakdown' could be to say our emotions got the best of us in the face of an obstacle.
I have come across a lot of 'ah-ha!' moments recently. One of them being, the idea that how I feel does not define who I am finally started sinking in and feeling true to me. I mean this both in the short term and long term feels. Decartes' famous line 'I think therefor I am' suddenly made so much more sense to me than ever before. The underlying implications sunk in... A thought require a thinker. A feeling requires a feeler. An apple doesn't just grow on it's own - it's the result of a larger, much more complex system.
I am not my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions. These things can be temporary, volatile and misleading. They are a result of a complicated chain of neuroscience and conditioning I can only begin to pretend to understand right now. Learning to acknowledge the difference between my sense of self and those fleeting emotions has been a source of grounding and motivation.
This is all certainly thanks to the fact that I've begun to seriously embrace mindfulness and meditation. I've said this before, but it didn't stick with me. I think I just sort of happened upon the right blend of books and practice for it to click with me. As a result, I've grown more confident in my ability to tactfully manage these situations and ride out the emotional roller coaster that follows.
There's a very real possibility that I'll be confronted with teary-eyed flurries of depression and/or anxiety at some point again soon. That's life. The storm will pass & I'll still be.