At the end of 2016, I didn’t think any year could be worse than that one had been. Then 2017 showed up and, for most of the year, proved that things can almost always be worse.
I’d spent the entire second half of 2016 more or less wandering numbly through life. Somehow I managed to get it together enough for us to move someplace that was 700+ miles from both of our families, work my way into a management job, and learn what it was like to live in (the suburbs of) an actual, real, major American city.
Eventually the numbness faded away and was replaced by anger, fear, and sadness. I got a different job and that helped for a little while, but within a couple of months I was back to crying at work, breaking down over nothing, and becoming this horribly angry person I didn’t recognize anymore. I went to therapy and that didn’t seem helpful, so I quit. Mostly I spent a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons of various ways to die. Our fourth-floor balcony and the lofted, high-ceilinged stockroom at work seemed to be calling me over every time I passed by.
I talked to Dallas about how I was feeling, and he convinced me to go see my psychiatrist again, because it felt like the antidepressant I’d been taking for almost two years at that point had stopped working, and was dragging me back in the other direction. I was at rock bottom and had already given up on ever feeling happy again, but figured it would be a nice gesture to at least try what my husband was asking of me.
Long story short, I’m taking a medication that’s more effective for me, I found a new and amazing therapist I really clicked with and started taking therapy seriously again, and things are better. Last month, I even (with my current boss’s blessing) applied for a great job that would’ve probably been a foot in the door to a job in my actual field. I went through two interviews and then didn’t get it, but you know what? Something about feeling better has given me some confidence, or maybe some bravery. It’s a feeling I’ve come to really like. I’m not about to give up on chasing my dreams–that rejection hurt, but making it that far made me understand that this is something I can do and that I’m not aiming too high. I need to stop selling myself short. A year ago, I wouldn’t have even applied.
If you know me outside of my blog, you probably know that I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I make realistic goals. For 2018, I only have one: to continue to maintain and improve my mental health. Even before I knew there were names for the abnormal ways my brain is wired, before I knew that not everyone’s thought processes worked the way mine did, something about the way my thoughts were organized seemed distinctly wrong to me. Being able to call my mental illnesses by their names and recognizing that I have a lot of options to try has helped to make things a lot less scary, I just need to be able to remember that the options are all still out there. I’m lucky to have married someone who has a fair understanding of how all of this feels, because he constantly pushes me to take better care of myself. If he hadn’t convinced me to go back to the doctor, I wouldn’t be here now. I know that.
I’ll also probably be trying to write more (on my therapist’s suggestion), because it’s easier for me than actually talking about my feelings, so if this is your kind of thing, I guess you’ll probably see a lot of it in 2018.