I’ve gotten a lot of messages over the past couple months from old friends and acquaintances saying they’re glad to see I’m doing “better.” I suspect this is a polite way of saying “you spent most of 2017 in a state of emotional turmoil and embarked on a multi-month meltdown that made Lindsay Lohan look tame.” Hey, they’re not wrong.
What a fucking hurricane of a year. I went through hell and back mental health-wise, relationship-wise, house-hunting wise, everything-wise. For those who followed my sad, sad spiral, you’ve seen me through it all. So, let’s do a quick recap on my second year (plus an extra month or so) in the Real World:
I had a lot of ups and downs this year, but I don’t think I was “good” until late April. After a year of therapy and minor improvement, I finally caved and went to see an actual psychiatrist to get a prescription for antidepressants. I had always thought that pills were a crutch for the weak, and didn’t want to add more substances to the shitload of Vyvanse that pumped through my veins daily. Holy shit, was I wrong. Zoloft makes all the difference in the world. I can actually feel… something resembling joy??? I can wake up and not wish I was dead??? I can breathe and exist and not hate myself??? WEIRD.
This past May, I was driving back from a psychiatric appointment on the West side when I realized Google Maps was going to take me straight through my old neighborhood. Mind you, I hadn’t been there since I moved in September, because I’m so terrified of the time in my life that place represents. I exited Google maps and drove straight to the Whole Foods 4 blocks from my old place. Memories loomed at me from every corner, but I pushed them aside long enough to buy some vegan cupcakes.
A month earlier, I couldn’t have done it, but I was fine.
You know what else is really cool? Kissing the dude your teen self crushed madly on 7 summers ago. 2011 me is FAINTING. What’s meant to be will be.
In the summer and early autumn of 2017, I reunited with someone I shouldn’t have, and it ended about as well as one might expect. I gave my final fuck (pun intended) on that situation awhile ago, I don’t want to rehash it.
I did get into another relationship this past spring, which I have since ended. I learned a rough lesson there, too: as much as I like to think of myself as a bulwark, someone who weathers any storm, sometimes I’m… not. Everyone has their limits, and it’s okay to admit that a need is not being met. It doesn’t mean the other person is inadequate or that you’re a monster for having needs, it just means that you can’t handle as much as you thought you could. Sometimes, that means walking away. It’s okay to be the one who leaves. It was difficult, but I think I grew from the experience.
Another not-so-great lesson: do NOT chug 3 margaritas at Disneyland and then ride the teacups. Trust me.
Sometimes, you have to admit that you were the toxic one, you were the villain in someone else’s story. As badly as I’ve been hurt, I can give just as good as I get. I have a quick tongue and a quicker temper. I can brand myself a martyr better than Taylor Swift. I have a petty streak the size of Dodger Stadium. I have such acid and vitrol within me that if I was a celebrity perfume line, my name would be Revenge. These are not traits I’m proud of. I am trying to accept my own faults and stop playing the victim.
The worst part of the past 13 months, though, was how long it took me to go on antidepressants. I wish I had learned my depression was a chemical imbalance instead of wallowing in my misery for so long. I could have had literal years of my life back if I had just done this sooner. I didn’t start taking them until April, and it’s soul-crushing how much more of my youth I could have enjoyed had I not been trapped in the hellscape of my brain. I let so much of my life be wasted by my mental illness, when there was something I could have been taking to prevent it.
As of 3 months ago, I’m (dare I say it?) doing well. I spent most of the year as a shell of myself, and I think I’ve recovered enough that I can be grateful for what I’ve been through.
On a happier note, there may or may not be someone who recently re-entered my life and makes me smile like an absolute moron. I may or may not finally be becoming the person I always wanted to be.
I’m a million times better than I was this time last year, and that’s enough of a victory for me.