Yes. So. I made it. Another year. Etc.
Maybe, for the first time ever, I can look back and think I actually made some progress this year. That my life is better than it was. That there is some hope. Which is nice.
I have learned a lot in the past year, mostly the hard way. Is that the only way we ever learn anything? I think so.
I’ve learned that recovery from depression is harder and longer than quitting smoking, which I did 3 years ago (I guess, because my memory is apalling). It is so much work. Eternal vigilance, slapping oneself around a lot to avoid slipping into lazy thoughtforms to which one has become accustomed but are no longer the only alternative.
I feel a lot like it is only until the last year, kickstarted by the stability brought on by dedicated prozac swallowing, that I have had the chance to start becoming the person I have always felt capable of being, that depression prevented me from being. Sounds nice, but there is something terrifying about no longer having an excuse for being useless. Well, I have an excuse for finding it difficult, but not for failing completely.
Everything I do is now a distinct choice. If I feel tense, angry, miserable, I know now that there is probably something I can do about it, however hard it may be, to shift my mood to somewhere else. Previously I didn’t have that option. Nothing I did could break through the depressive fog. Or I was too messed up to even want to try. Willpower is not something that is in plentiful supply amongst the depressed.
So recovery is a huge responsibility, especially as I have a relationship I actually care about, and therefore am required to make some effort. Every time I manage to switch mental gears and break out of a stupid moood something clicks inside though. The next time is a little bit easier. Of course there are still bad times, times when I have neither the ability or the will to break out, but I try to ride through those now, try not to take them as signs of the ineffeable pointlessness of all things, but merely what they are, a mood, that will pass.
I am helped in this by my partner. Who understands, but does not enable. Is there when I come out.
So this birthday is something of a new feeling. Not just a waypoint of hopelessness. Something to pin my misery on.
This year I can actually look back and smile (in my mind obviously; if I actually smiled my face might crack).
Things are getting better.