The Night Before The Night

The children are gone until Christmas Day, so my house is quiet and I’ve spent the last few days thinking about 2014. It’s been a hell of a year in many ways. Financially, physically and emotionally there’ve been a lot of hurdles to jump and I see more on my path in the future.

Yet it occurred to me last night that I’m actually okay. Better than okay, I’m good. Over the last decade, no, even longer than that, I’ve gotten used to not being okay. Consistently in some level of coping with depression, every crisis and stressor (and there have been many) sent me spiraling downward. My awareness that things are changing started when I met an ex for a drink and he commented “You look good”. I laughed and asked him if he’d expected something different.

“No, you just so often looked sad before. You don’t look sad now, you look good.”

Someone else recently told me they could feel my self-love and that I seemed stronger. A friend I met for drinks last night echoed similar sentiments that I “looked good”. Knowing I haven’t been visited by the youth and beauty fairy lately, I can only imagine they’re picking up on the fact I actually feel good. Centered. Peaceful.. I mostly like who I am these days, even flawed and imperfect as I may be. Gone are the scary lows I’ve experienced before, even though life isn’t all roses and sunshine and I still feel sad, lonely, angry and uncertain sometimes. That’s just part of the human experience.

I know in large part it’s finding a medication that actually works and I’m so, so grateful to have the chemicals in my brain work the way they’re supposed to. I wish I’d found it 20 years ago, but I’m really glad I have it now. I’d like to think all the soul-searching and inner work I’ve done play a part as well. I feel like the medication allows me to climb to higher ground with the work I do and reach summits, rather than always struggling just to climb out of a hole.

There are situations I’ll probably always find challenging and people who are part of my life by necessity who will never be the person I would like them to be. I’m finding a measure of acceptance though, which is crucial for keeping my sense of peace intact. I still have trigger events and people and I still have lots of work I need to do on myself, because I’m alive and anyone living should be continuing to evolve! But I don’t feel broken anymore and I can see my flaws without feeling like I’ve failed.

For years I thought if I managed to overcome my depression, my life would be pretty perfect. I hoped everything would just fall into place. I’m facing the realization that isn’t going to happen. Life is often messy and complicated and hard work. It’s also beautiful and spectacular and amazing. I feel at peace tonight, but tomorrow I might hit a trigger and want to punch something. Overcoming my depression doesn’t mean overcoming my humanity. I still hurt and bleed and sometimes cry because life is HARD sometimes. There’ve been moments over the past 6 months when I would feel extremely sad and get panicked, wondering if the depression was returning. But I’m finally settling into the idea that baseline, rather than a negative, is my new normal. I’m still going to have negative emotions sometimes and that’s okay.

But I like to think that now I’m “good” more often than not and that it’s clearly showing. I’m excited about what life will bring, even while I’m struggling through some of my current challenges. My life isn’t perfect and the fact that I can feel okay about that speaks volumes about how far I’ve come in a year.

So…the night before the night, may I wish you all a beautiful holiday season, filled with love and magic and beauty.

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