I met with my new medical doctor today. She’d actually read my chart and knew I’m bipolar and have been hospitalized for suicidal ideation. I’ve never had a new doctor come in prepared like that. It felt good to not have to bring it up myself, especially since I’m so prone not to.
On my way to pick up lunch today I saw this man in his car rocking out. Like, really just getting down with his car dancing. It made me so happy to see someone having so much fun in such a regularly dull part of the day.
This afternoon I had a customer come in and first thing she came up to thank me for the help I gave her the day before. She said it was just the boost of confidence she needed to get her jewelry legs back under her. I was so glad that I helped her and so touched that she took the time to thank me again.
I started being serious about taking medication for my depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and whatever else in September of 2015. I’d tried it on and off since I was a teenager, but I was never very motivated to take it and my compliance was incredibly low. I’d asked my primary care physician for anti-depressants once as an adult, but when it completely knocked out my sex drive I abandoned the whole idea.
Since then, I’ve seen a psychiatrist and two psychiatric nurse practitioners regularly. I also saw several different psychiatrists in the hospital and my stay in a psych ward last October. I currently have someone I see monthly who I respect and am confident in. Over the last month we’ve changed up my medications a little and seem to have landed on something that is working well for me. I am so incredibly grateful to my professional team and my prescription drugs. They changed everything. They saved me.
Nadine and I used to walk around Green Lake once a week. We’ve recently gotten out of the habit, but I’m sure we’ll fall back in. There were these two dogs who always seemed to be there the same time we were. Pitbull mixes with sharp ears and short legs, they walked around the lake as if they were on patrol. They owned that territory. One day, one of the dogs was missing. Then we stopped seeing them all together. But today on my run I saw both dogs back on duty. I couldn’t stop smiling.
My friend George–who I’ve known since I was thirteen–came to visit me the last couple days. Before he left today he tidied up the entire apartment and took care of a branch that was hanging right at eye level on our sidewalk. No wonder I’ve kept him around.
In November of 2013 I was happy. I like to hold onto that month in my memory as proof that it’s possible. Evidence I can shake this ache from my bones and stand up strong. I carry that idea around with me like a seed, try to supply it with what it needs to grow. But it’s mostly guesses as to how this all works. How to properly nurture it.
I know I was getting up at the same time every day and exercising at least forty minutes. Mason and I were doing a Whole30, so we were eating well and I was cooking most of our meals. I was also participating in NaNoWriMo. But that’s all I can remember about that month. Those things and the fact that I was happy.
Could happiness be so simple? Something that wraps itself into our daily activities like brushing our teeth or checking the mail. Perhaps it slinks in and out of our lives attached to simple habits we didn’t think made much of a difference at the time. Maybe it’s not all just the whim of brain chemicals and hormones. Maybe it’s the day-to-day things.
It both needs to be simple and couldn’t possibly. Could I get that feeling back just by working out, cooking, and writing a book? If I think it’s that easy, why I can’t I get myself to do those things? The strong hand of depression closes around me so tight I can’t seem to make the movements I need to free myself.
All of it sounds so easy in theory. Get up in the morning, go run, go to work, write, cook dinner. But each one feels so monumental when you’re wrapped up in it. When you’re in the midst of depression, nothing seems like it would make a difference. The things you know help don’t matter, because you can’t make yourself believe any of the things you know. But maybe I could start.
Maybe I could get myself to remember it’s the little things that make a difference. Maybe I could get myself to remember it’s simple steps in the right direction that get you to where you’re going. I don’t need an entire garden, just a little bit of soil.