Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wrong Way Up? Damn Straight.

I wanted to post this to coincide with the approximate time 3 years ago, that my world began to change for the better. But I won't be available, so I'm gonna just do it now.

I'm not positive of the time, but I'm making a rough guess that it was about 10 minutes or so into the performance of Wrong Way Up that I started thinking: huh... wha... and after 90 minutes I thought HUH... WHA.... and what the fuck just happened to me?

Three years later I sometimes still think Whaaaaat? But only in the best possible way. I think how insanely lucky I am, and how utterly blessed I feel every single day because of that wha-huh moment that turned my thoughts towards healing instead of self-destruction.

I am celebrating the third year of my miracle today and I am thrilled beyond words to say I've made it 3 years -- three years without a major depression. Three years without a major mania. Three years with only a very tiny period of deep blues ( and that was due to a little too much of a medication I now know to be wary of so I don't really count that so much.) Three years - unprecedented for me.

For me, reaching three years is a huge achievement. I set three years 'clean' as a goal for myself because that's longer than I've ever gone without hitting a deep depression. My feeling being that if I could make it three years, staying in the same good space in my mind and life that I could feel safe in believing that I was well. That for the first time since my first major Depression at 17 that I could feel there would be no more hell inflicted on me by my own brain. That I could relax and trust that I was indeed healthy - for real.

Today is three years. Today is a very, very good day.

The past three years have been, without doubt, the best, happiest, most exciting three years of my entire life. Not so much because of any achievements, accomplishments or life changing events but because for the past three years I have been happy simply to be. Well... for me, I guess that is a huge achievement, accomplishment and life changing event.

To be Happy in my LIFE not happy because of anything outside or anyone outside myself. Just happy to be alive - and grateful for the chance to finally know how good that feels. Every day, good days and bad, I have been grateful for my life. And grateful for the miracle that opened my eyes to a different way of being.

In the last three years I have done things I never believed I could. Certainly never believed I would. Doing those new and impossible things has made me crave more. Trying more things - going new places that have always scared me -- and no, I don't mean travel. I mean places in my own head, places in my heart that have terrified me. Have I done EVERYTHING I want in the past three years? Of course not! I doubt I will even be able to say I've done everything I want to do before I die (hopefully when I'm very old, during great sex, possibly in Mexico) but I am just fine with that.

A lot of my life, 25 years or so, worth of my life, has been filled with pain; not an insignificant amount of that pain came from my illness. I mourn that time because of what it could have been if I'd known then what I know now. But I try not to dwell because the past is past and now is all we ever really have. Besides, going through hell may have hurt at the time but it made me what I am; it gave me a lot of insight that I can only hope may help someone else. So I can't regret those 25 years... I can be a little cranky about it, but not regret it. Oh come on... I'm only human!

Sometimes I still worry about dealing with loss. I fear the loss of loved ones. But I believe I'm even stronger than I realize now and I know that I can survive anything. In the past three years I have extricated myself from poisonous relationships I saw no way out of, except suicide. I have found that I can fall in love - and I am strong enough to admit it, even while letting it go. I have found that love does not have to be forever to be real, and the end result of having loved does not have to be devastation. I have found that I can take care of myself while taking care of others without losing myself. I have learned to tell the difference between genuine caring and self-serving bullshit and I have learned to accept the former and steer clear of the later. And I have found that it's okay to accept affection, and give it. It doesn't have to be painful - or terrifying. And on a lighter note: I've found that a Brazilian bikini wax is not nearly so painful as I was led to believe.

So many little things have changed in my world over the past three years

In the past three years I have found that nothing is scarier than not trying. Over these three years my biggest, most all encompassing fear has been that I would become suicidal again. That something so unforeseen would happen that I could not handle it, that my medication would no longer work, that I would slip back into that darkness that could only end with a razor blade to my wrist.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't still somewhat nervous about that. Though I am letting go of it a little bit - I don't worry about it every single day any more. Sometimes several days will go by without even thinking about it. Though when I'm less than cheery, it's a little tickle in the back of my mind - a wariness, a watchfulness, a little caution tape I keep an eye on "just in case". I think that wariness is a good thing. A reminder of how things were - and how they are now. At my two year mark I was thrilled. But having three years of healing and strengthening has made me feel that I can breathe easier.

I wanted so much to mark this day, which for me is so huge, that I decided to do something else that scares me. It didn't used to scare me, I used to do it with some regularity, but I learned to be afraid and so I didn't do it any more. Tonight I'm doing it. I'm throwing a party.

It's not the kind of big, everybody come, everybody sleep over to sleep it off kind of party I used to throw, but it's the first one I've had in. . . let's just say decades are involved and leave it at that.

I'm a little scared it will flop. That it will be a bore, that the food will suck. But you know, those are just fears and how can I possibly be afraid when I've made it three wonderful years and every day becomes better and better? So I've hung some twinkle lights and some papel picados (thanks again Kori for getting those to me!) and I've made (what I hope is) some good (attempted) Mexican food, good margaritas and good cupcakes for my friends for without them I would be nowhere. Literally. So we'll celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, The Day of the Dead, a few days early. We'll celebrate life. Vive Fiesta! No one is more excited to celebrate life than me right now. I wish I could make everyone feel as joyful (sorry, that name...!) as I do.

I am so grateful to be alive. Three whole years. Who'dve thunk it?


Tony said...

What a wonderful post!

While you are the hostess of the party tonight, try to keep it in the back of your mind that you're also the guest of honor... In other words - let yourself have a little fun, will ya?

I'll be there in spirit...

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Here's to many more! Congratulations Joy!

Have a wonderful time at your party. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you.

Salty Miss Jill said...

Happy anniversary, honey!
A toast will be toasted and drank in your case your ears start ringing.

Be good to yourself, sweetheart.

Love, SMJ

BetteJo said...

Meds are my friend. Glad they've helped you - no - SAVED you! I'm happy you are celebrating this milestone, it's a wonderful thing.

May your party be a huge success and you have many many more years to celebrate!

Bella said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad that you did mark the day with a special celebration -- what better occasion than a celebration of life?

CrankMama said...

Congratulations Joy! I am so happy and excited for you as you celebrate this anniversary. I'll be drinking a margarita in your honor and sending a very special toast out to the universe…Here’s to you Loving and Living Life!

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I bet the party was a great success, and we are all lucky that you're still here. Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite holidays, since i think it's more about life than death, connection to everything past and future. There was an odd article in this morning's Chronicle about how every day we pass the anniversary date of our ultimate death without knowing it. That, in itself, is reason to celebrate every day and embrace all of the mysteries interconnected with all that we don't know.

kimy said...

congratulations joy! celebrating dia de los muertos is a celebration LIFE...the magic of 3...and many more!

Shauna said...

Hi there!

Excellent post, and I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am alive after 3 times trying....between severe depression, (undiagnosed), bipolar illness, and chronic back pain, all I could do is think it was so much better if I was not here.

Your blog WILL catch that one person's eye, that ONE person who just happened upon here....and as you say...just hold on a bit longer....

Shauna :-)