I recently read something written about me in another blog, to the extent that all these good things happen to me and I am blasé and unenthused about it all. My first instinct was to roll my eyes dismissively, because people have gotten the wrong idea about me before and besides, I get excited about little things all the time. I am all kinds of animated and passionate. Then I thought about it some more, because I would hate to come across as a jaded and aloof New Yorker--or worse, someone who is ungrateful for the positive facets of their life.
To clarify, I am really loving life these days. I love my routines and independence, and the balance I have between the regimented (diet, exercise, work) and the free-form (social activity, solo time). I recognize that I am enormously lucky to have a nice apartment with a lovely roommate, a job that doesn't make me want to slit my wrists every Monday morning, a loving family, more friends than I can do a decent job of keeping in touch with, good health (namely a sturdy liver), a strong line of credit, and a certain amount of intelligence and attractiveness (the exact quantity I leave to be determined by others).
The odd thing is, most of the above was true four months ago, too, yet there were days, weeks, when life was painful, dark, pointless.
I chronicled my autumn depression here to an extent, but I never wrote about how bad it got. It got pretty bad; I don't even want to go into detail, because it saddens and frightens me to remember it. Suffice it to say, there were moments where I conclusively knew I had never been more miserable in my life and didn't know how I'd make it from one day to the next. The scariest times weren't when it hurt, but when it didn't, when I felt a profound indifference to the world around me. It was the lowest I had ever been.
It's difficult to say how much of the depression was circumstantial and how much of it might have been chemical; I do know that when I started taking better care of my body, my mental state improved (thank you, endorphins!). My mood improved even more when I started writing creatively again, when I rediscovered the ability to be inspired. Some of it was merely a concerted effort to dig myself out of the hole, to like life more and like myself more.
What I'm getting at is that I am enormously relieved and grateful to be where I am today, to not feel like that anymore, to appreciate life again.
While the focus of this blog tends to be dating- and relationship-oriented, it has been a much smaller focus of my life for the last several months. To put it in perspective, if I did a pie chart of my thoughts, I'd say 5-10% would have to do with dating, crushes, etc. I wanted to mention that since there seems to be some misconception about how carried away I'm getting with my emotions. Quite the contrary.
I'm doing a lot of rebuilding these days, and I know this new happiness may be fragile and fleeting, so I am doing everything I can to protect and sustain it. Right now, that means keeping a bit of distance between me and other people. Eventually, it might mean allowing for more closeness and vulnerability. I don't see that happening for some time, though. Which doesn't speak to a lack of joy or passion on my part, but a sense of growing awareness and caution.
It's comforting to have this emotional scaffolding around me; I need it while I continue the repairs. I like to believe that when I'm stronger, better, I'll be capable of even greater love and happiness. It won't be long.