Close-Up Portrait Of Woman : Stock Photo

Today was therapy Thursday.  I actually asked my therapist how he was doing which I have never done before.  I ask everyone how they are but never doctors because it just seems so clear I am there to talk about me.  And then I joked around and made him laugh.

I will be 43 in 6 days.  Today I told my doctor that the last 7 months have been good. I gave examples of bad things that happened which upset me but I moved on really fast.  In the past, I would have been marinated in it and unable to muddle through the molasses. Everything moved in slow motion through my eyes while the world moved at a healthy clip outside my zone.  Today I said the words “I’m happy.”  I am functioning as my true self.  Now don’t get excited.  True me is still sarcastic and irreverant.  I am still a realist.  I have odd superstitions.  I get fired up fast and I say stupid things without thinking.  But that is genuinely me.  What I don’t have is that sticky coat which prevents rational, forward movement.

I have never had any moments in my life like this.  Never.  Can you believe that?  Never any kind of break from depression.  Medications I have been on have helped me function better and accomplish a lot of goals because I need to be that person.  I can’t be depressed in bed.  They have evened out bad depressions by making them less bad.  That was ok.  It was the best I ever thought I could get.  I accepted I would live a life of people calling me “Debbie Downer” and laughing at me, complaining that I could never be happy.  Duh!  You think you are annoyed by me?  How about being me?  Far more annoying.  But I was alive and getting things done.  That was ok enough.

I still have PTSD but it’s a lot easier to manage without the depression interlacing fingers with it.  I see things in my life 180 degrees differently than I did a year ago.  Less than a year ago I was afraid I might kill myself.  Now, I sometimes marvel at what I am experiencing and wish the time wouldn’t go by so fast – like being out with my girls and Shawn last week.  I just wanted to freeze that night and never let it go.  I am excited about my life and things I have planned, records I break at the gym, risks I have taken and the way I spend money on experiences now rather than things.  I smile.  Several times a day.  No reason.

43 fucking years without ever experiencing this.   Do you have any idea how awful that is?  Had I gotten married, I would have faked some of that joy in front of people because I would still have been depressed at the altar.  Think about that for a second.  Really think about it.  I would have faked the happiest day of my life because I have never not been in some variant grade of depression.

Today’s realization made it okay for me to admit that sometimes I am depressed and there is no reason for it.  Growing up, I didn’t have the tools to articulate my pain so I drew attention to myself in other ways.  I thought I had to have a reason to explain the way I was so I lied about things to get attention.  But it wasn’t attention for the sake of getting attention.  It was attention because I needed someone to know something was wrong with me and I didn’t know there could just be an illness where something would be wrong with your moods for no reason.

I dropped out of UNH my senior year because of depression.  I didn’t know that’s what it was.  At the time, I was anemic.  I slept all day and wouldn’t get out of bed for classes.  I would even let my boyfriend drive me to campus and when he drove away, I would hop the bus back to my apartment and go back to bed.  When he came back later, I’d have sex like a girlfriend would, make dinner and watch tv with him.  I felt sick all the time.  I had to have a battery of tests done because some of my symptoms seemed like cancer.  It was just fucking depression my own body was subconsciously trying to provide a reason for.    Because there was no reason.  I couldn’t just tell my parents I was depressed.  They would want a reason and I didn’t have one. Therefore, I believed no one would think it was real or valid.

I could spend several more paragraphs covering all the “reasons” I came up with from about 21 to somewhere in my 30s.  But they were just challenging life events everyone has.  I was just depressed for no good reason.

But then I got the jackpot Marathon Bombing with the added bonus of a 2nd mental illness in PTSD.  This I could talk about.  People easily understood my crazy.  I had a good reason and my illnesses became acceptable and explainable.  But you know what?  I was still just a fucking depressed person who happened to survive a bombing and the smell of burning flesh and hair in my own hair and clothes.  Had I not experienced that, I still would have been a depressed person.  Now I am just a depressed person with jitters, nightmares and a fondness for shots and bar strangers and social media addiction.  The bombing is the reason I have PTSD.  That’s legit.  But the rest of it….the bombing wasn’t the reason.  I have just gotten away with that for the last 4 years.

I am not totally naive.  Eventually, this medicinal miracle could wear off and I would need the Regina note in a book she buys from my future book list which reminds me my life has value to others.  I will need the sound of Charlie running to the door yelling “Auntie Chris” and hugging me to remind me how to take care of myself because my goal in this life is to take care of him.  So if I backslide, there may be absolutely no reason for it and that needs to be ok.  I am exhausted trying to come up with reasons to make people feel better about what happens to me.

I am 42 and 6 days shy of 43.  I have a recess from depression for the first time ever in my life.  I am functioning at my best self able to show you all the real me and able to be happy with the real me.  Honestly, I think this girl is the shit right now.  I am totally enjoying her right now, so super cool at the moment.  I never believed this could happen.  Like a typical depressed person, I had no hope.  I am happy right now for no particular reason.  I just am.