I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about what’s happened recently. The short version, that I’m doing better now than in months, really doesn’t cover it as well as I’d like to. But I’m not sure that I can express adequately the changes in thought that have led to this. Yeah, I know, I’m a writer, I should be able to do that, but right now I’m not confident in my ability to paint the picture. I’m going to try and maybe I’ll be able to feel a bit of my old faith in my words.
As I said, I’m doing better. Not 100%. That will take months. Maybe even years. I don’t know, and for the moment, I don’t care. I’m not going to worry about that right now. Instead, I will appreciate what I have, how I feel and so many other things about this moment.
That’s really one of the things that has allowed me to improve and feel this way. It’s called mindfulness, a living in the present and I’m practicing it consciously. Both in my individual and group therapy, we talk about it a lot. It’s not easy, but has made all the difference.
I was doing better, but then had a very painful couple of weeks where it felt like all the progress I’d made over the last month or so had been wiped away. This only made it worse, because I began to wonder if getting better was even possible.
One morning, about a week ago, I woke up and decided I had to change things. I had to let go. Of the things that had hurt me. Of the people involved with that. Of the past. Even of all ideas of what the future should hold. How things should have been.
I’m not sure that really conveys what I did, or how hard it was. I don’t know if I can really make anyone who has not been through something like this understand. But maybe you can a little?
It was more than just letting go of the pain and the things I feel like I’ve lost, even if some of it may never have been really real.
I decided to be grateful for even the simplest of things in my life. Sitting and patting my fluffy cat, Zedd, or burying my face in his fur as he purred away to me. The taste of my coffee. Sunshine. The sound of rain falling.
The amazing thing was how immediately it made a difference. By the end of that first day, I was smiling again. By the second, I felt like my brain, my poor overloaded, exhausted brain, was actually working again as it hasn’t for a long while now.
This isn’t to say it’s been easy. Sometimes “should have been” comes up and bites me in the ass. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping because I wake in the night hurting. But it’s progress. And every time this happens, I practice mindfulness. Zedd’s very helpful that way, often coming over in those difficult moments to bump my hand with his head for pats, his purr going full out. I love my cat so much.
I’m also grateful for the friends I have. The ones who send me a note to say they’re thinking of me. The ones who have commented on the painful posts here to tell me I’m not alone, or even just to offer hugs. The ones on Twitter who have accepted how much or little I was able to be there. The truth is that until this past week, I haven’t felt comfortable there. That’s a bit of a story all it’s own and the truth is that I don’t want to share it here.
More than anything, I am grateful for the friends who, over the past several months, have taken it upon themselves to check in with me, on FB/Twitter/Text, when I withdrew from everything. Most of those weren’t questions about how I was. They were just being there. Sharing a funny picture, or catspam or just talking with me about their stuff. I suspect I owe a lot to those people, maybe even my life, and I am so deeply appreciative of the effort these people have made. Truly, I am lucky.
I’m on the road to getting back to work. I feel like I can maybe handle it again now, especially after talking with my manager. Life is starting to move forward. I even have a story I’m slowly toying with. I’m not trying to dive back into the torrent as it used to be. I may never get back to that and I don’t care. It’s just nice to feel the stir of a story again.
Every day, I work at my mindfulness and gratitude. At recognizing the good things in my life, focusing on that rather than the things that went horribly wrong. I work at my peace. It’s like a garden to me now. I tend it and it grows. One day, it may cover my whole life, my mind and my heart. One day, but this present is enough for me.
Thank you to everyone who has stuck by me, who has helped me through this just by caring.