Day 27: Explain a “good” day.
A “good day”…
In a prior post I wrote about a typical day in my life both when I am ‘well’ and when ‘sick’. Thankfully there are more good/well days than sick/bad but often there will be spatters of anxiety mixed into an otherwise good day. Now that I understand the low and anxious feelings I have had for most of my life can be better regulated, I have been able to identify what tends to make things worse and I can feel when a depressive episode is coming, for the most part. Although I have not, and I hope to never, feel the way I did at my lowest. It was then that I came to be made to understand that I was sick. So for this day’s writing assignment I will instead describe my first ‘good’ day since the day I thought I wouldn’t come back from.
For weeks after the crash (breakdown/rock bottom/”losing my sh@t”/near fatal depressive episode) I walked around more like a zombie than a person. Everything was exhausting; even breathing. I went back and forth between punishing myself for not being able to pull it together and wishing I could just disappear. This still was an improvement from that day. The day I wanted to extinguish myself. It didn’t matter how terrible or painful it was. I deserved it.
I didn’t deserve it. I knew that now but the day to day of coming to terms with what had happened was so much to confront. But day by day this lessened. Some days were much better and I would find myself able to smile. Then the next I wondered how I would ever smile again. And then a day came I realized that I would be okay.
Some old high school friends and I found out that another of our friends (who became a professional musician after college) was performing close to us in a few months. We had gotten back in touch via Facebook and discussed the possibility of getting tickets and driving up to see the performance. Getting caught up in the idea, I agreed to go and arrange for our hotel rooms (I am in the hospitality industry and can sometimes arrange for discounts or trades with other properties). A few other friends decided to go and so we made the notation in our respective calendars and began to look into the show tickets.
In theory, I looked forward to going but as that date got closer I started to regret my commitment to go. I had fond high school memories of these friends, most who I would be seeing for the first time since graduation. But since my hospitalization, I hadn’t done much aside from trying to put myself back together again, go to work, and spend time with my parents and children in between my doctor and therapy sessions. Even that was overwhelming at times. How would I be able to leave town for a weekend? How could I act well for so long? Would they know that I was crazy now? Will I fall apart and crumble into a huddle of tears? They might see my scars! My medication…they will know I am not like them anymore. I am not one of the ‘normal’ ones. And everyone from CHS will find out what a screw up I turned out to be. Yes, I was terrified to go on this trip.
They day before we were to leave I went to see my therapist. I talked to her about my fears, about not knowing if someone like me could make this kind of trip. Should I put other people in the position of having to be with me for that long? I had convinced my parents that I could do this but I had not yet convinced myself. My therapist listened patiently to my concerns and thought for a moment as I waited for her to tell me it wasn’t a good idea for me to go. She leaned forward and put her hand on my very shaky arm and said, “Christine, you absolutely should go. You are doing well. You will be okay.”
I will be okay? I will? She looked sure. She was confident in me. And she was a professional. I sat there for a minute and let it sink in. Maybe I could do this. Maybe I really can be okay again. No, not “okay again” because I wasn’t really ok before. Now I could be, though. I know what I am dealing with. I have done the work, the research. I have taken my medication and going to the doctors and therapy sessions and even the occasional support group. I have started to spend some time with friends again. This step makes sense. I will be okay!
I began to really look forward to going. I chatted with my friends and even got in touch with our musician friend’s Mother (we all knew and loved our friend’s parents in High School because they seemed to adopt us all and cheered for every one of us at every choir performance and solo). I also got in touch with an ex boyfriend of mine, who had since become a great friend, who was in medical school in the town we were to see the show in to see if he wanted to join us for the show. He was also a fan of contemporary opera and I thought it would be comforting to see him. He didn’t know about my recent diagnosis or recovery from hospitalization either but I thought if he noticed something was different with me, he would be someone who I could talk to about it without fear of being rejected. He was one of the most accepting and empathetic people I had ever known.
The day came when we were to head out. My kiddos were settled in with my parents for the weekend, where we all lived anyway, my bag was packed, and we had a plan for the weekend. I felt good, excited even, about seeing everyone. I arrived at the meet up spot early and awaited everyone else’s arrival. There were four of us riding up to Fort Worth together where we would check in to our hotel, and meet up with Mike’s (the star of the show and our high school friend) parents at the theater. My friend, Robert the med student, was to meet us at the theater as well.
The road trip was fun. My old friends were as fun and sweet as I remembered them to be. We reminisced about good times in school and things we have gone through since. We even confided in each other as if we hadn’t spent one day of the last 18 years since high school apart, spilling our guts about lost loves, career highs and lows and even some dark secrets. So I chose to reveal mine. That was the first time I told someone who wasn’t told about my hospitalization while I was in the hospital about what had happened, what I had done and how my life had changed since. They didn’t judge me. They only offered support and none of them looked scared of me. I could have cried and hugged them all but I didn’t. I instead began to feel…okay. I felt something and it was good. No guilt or shame or pain. I was okay.
We met up with Mike’s family and my friend, Robert and watched the show. It was increadible (since the showing it has been immortalized on CD and you can buy it on iTunes. It is called ‘Glory Denied’). After the show we saw ‘our Mike’ and we all went to dinner together and later Mike took us out on the town to one of his favorite hangouts which, unsurprisingly was a western honky-tonk dance hall with a live band that brought us back to the kind of music some of us had grown up around. Some with exception of me because my parents were all about 70’s rock and heavy metal.
The next morning, for the first time in as long as I could remember, I woke up looking forward to the day. Not only that; I looked forward to my future. A future that just a few months prior I didn’t want to endure at all. I was sad to leave that town because I was afraid if I left, the enormous uncertainty would return. But it hasn’t. I have been able to find some joy to look forward to ever since that trip. I wrote thank you messages to every person who was a part of that trip that healed me so easily. I feel like they gave me a part of myself back. I won’t ever forget that first ‘good’ day as long as I live.
I AM going to be okay. ❤