It’s been so long since I just up and wrote a piece for the blog without thinking about it first. You know, mapping out my idea and how I would present it. Yet this morning I woke up with a clear head for once and wasn’t grumpy about getting out of bed. Although I did have a set schedule to start my morning (Yoga,walk,tapping for my anxiety…) I didn’t do those things because frankly I just wanted to see if this feeling was purely me if that even makes sense.
You see in a way when you’ve been on psychotropic drugs for 15 plus years and you’ve been under the care of a psychiatrist for almost 6 years…you start to wonder if your feelings from day to day are really your natural feelings or the chemicals you are putting in your body. I’m totally not anti-med by any means. I advocate for the use of medication in treating depression and anxiety and any other diagnosis. It’s just what you have to do at times. Maybe I can better explain what I’m trying to say by giving you an example of a conversation I have almost EVERY SINGLE TIME I see my psychiatrist.
Doctor: So how have you been feeling?
Me: Not too bad actually. I’ve been fairly happy! I’m not sure what it is but I feel good.
Doctor: That’s mania. You aren’t truly feeling happy.
Doctor: So how have you been feeling?
Me: Well I’ve been a little sad lately but you know I’ve had life throw some curve balls at me so I think it’s just normal sadness that anybody would feel.
Doctor: Nope. That’s your depression. You’re overreacting.
Well what the hell? I mean after hearing that for over 5 years how do you know? It’s almost like I’ve been brainwashed to think that my feelings really aren’t my feelings. Or are they? Sigh…who knows.
This morning though is different. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been having such shit-tastic days lately, that I finally feel good this morning and I’m elated. Part of my brain, the cynical part, is expecting something bad to happen at any moment and the other part is telling that part to shut the hell up and just enjoy today.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to choose to embrace whatever this weird cosmic gift is that I’ve been handed today and run with it.
Yesterday two very important things happened in my life. One was so profound that I have no doubt it’s changed my life and has something to do with my happiness today. I feel born again. Yet that amazing “happening” will have to wait for another time and another piece. I’m not quite ready to share that with anyone. And no hard feelings ya’ll. I’m essentially protecting myself by not sharing it right now and honestly I’m still savoring the whole thing.
The other amazing part of yesterday is a phone call I had with a nursing colleague that has the most intuitive way of experiencing the world and we brainstormed on how I can better fight this anxiety that has been crippling me. Maybe I gleaned some hope from our conversation. Who knows.
I have dreams and goals in life that I never thought I’d have at this age. I like to call it my own personal “empty nest” experience. Often when I think of the term “empty nest”, I envision an older generation who has twenty-something-year-old children and are expecting grandchildren as well. I have stereotyped them into this AARP group of senior citizens and I agree with what you’re thinking: That’s wrong! And it is because I am truly an empty nester at this point.
My only son is off making a life for himself at college and even though he comes home occasionally, his room sits empty almost 7 days a week except when he’s here for a quick change of clothes or to grab some cash for gas money. I still find it hard to imagine that I have a 19-year-old and that I am now 38. Does not fit my above idea of “empty-nesters” does it?
Yet I am facing a new chapter in my life and I have no doubt this new territory is one source of my anxiety. I really feel like some days I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t have any real ties to my life here anymore. My family is either dead or they don’t give a crap about what happens to me (OK with the exception of a few people.) and I really don’t know how to deal with that most days. I still have responsibilities in life day-to-day. Like earning some type of income and caring for myself both physically and mentally, but long gone are the days of school drop offs and running to the doctor for vaccines and check-ups or birthday parties at Chuck-E-Cheese and what not.
All my friends who are my age still have younger children living at home and so they have a life and I suppose I just feel out of place at times. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m OK with sitting over here in my own little cubby, drinking my coffee in the morning and attempting to plan out some sort of day for myself.
Then I think: Why do I feel like I have to have some sort of plan? Why do I have to have some rule book that says: “Welcome to Your Late 30’s: This Is Your Guide to Life Now!”
I don’t. So I’m learning a new language and learning about a new culture and I have real plans to travel next spring to the Middle East. And trust me, those three things are not accepted by many people who are close to me, but in reality I don’t care. It’s my new life now. I’ve raised my son and while I’ll always be his mother and he’ll always need me for something, I have no problem setting goals that may take me thousands of miles away from him at some point.
You know, I grew up watching my dad hang around and never really do anything exciting once I became an adult and started my own family. I’m not faulting him for that. I wasn’t making the wisest decisions in my life at the time and I’m pretty sure he kept his calendar open and catered to me because he was fearful that if he followed his own dreams, he might not be there for me. Then again, maybe he just wasn’t
the sort of man who needed or wanted adventure. I think sometimes I must get that side of my personality from my mom.
And so after all this rambling to you about what a great morning I’m having I guess my main point is this: I needed to put this down on paper so to speak so I don’t forget this strange feeling of happiness and elation I have about life right this minute.
Sure my day will be filled with the same things I usually do. Study Arabic, chat with my friends from across the globe and take the dogs out multiple times today, but just maybe something grander is going to happen.
So with all due respect Dr. L…I’m going to say these are my true feelings today. I really believe that I am happy because I’m happy and not because some chemical in my brain is out of balance and I need more pills.
I’m just happy.