This Other Thing I Have (had?)

A few months ago I wrote a fairly personal blog entry about my struggles with severe depression and other mental health issues. The post can be read here. 
I just wanted to follow-up because I've gotten lots of emails since that post from many wonderfully caring human beings. Your beautiful missives to me whether long or short, silly or serious, sad or happy, frustrating or joyous are my reminders: there's someone out there who knows you have an impact and cares how you're doing on the other side of that unleashed wave. Thanks, guys.

That's why I feel like I should follow-up on that blog entry on this marathon trek of my mental health.

I am okay.

As of two weeks ago I said my good-byes to my psychiatrist and therapist of three-four years. Something has ended, and while I am still trying to figure out *exactly what* it was that has ended, I know that I'm in a much better place now.
But then I think maybe nothing has really ended. Because sometimes the abysmal murk still sneaks up on me, and I still find myself caught in the tangles of stale thoughts that I thought I'd "defeated" and "over come." These moments are fleeting and they are like the words at the tip of your tongue that you just can't find, but you know they are there. Sometimes I am able to wrap my mind around those thoughts and know exactly what they are saying, most other times though - these days, thankfully - they just slip and fade. They are substituted (and god damn am I hoping like hell that someday they will be completely replaced) by all the things that my life is now, and all the things that still await me. So that's what I do when I get the sense old ways are sneaking in again, I scramble for the one good thing that happened today and pitch it for all its worth into the future to see where it might land. I am curious and I use that sucker on myself. In so many ways I am still like a toddler first learning to ride a bike without training wheels, "don't turn your head and look behind you, just look forward and keep on peddling."

But no doubt it was weird to have left my psychiatrist's office that day,
"Now I know you're really not into feelings and emotions and all that gushy stuff.. but you've made a lot of progress. And I certainly can't claim to have had everything to do with it, because I think so much of it had to do with you.." 
And after some drawn out speech about personal-pride, accomplishment, continuity, identity, reflection - words that I had tried to practice in my head on the trip there... I then left his office and I said "bye" without turning around to look at him. In October he will be leaving to head his own department at a hospital in Chicago. I had the slip of paper in my hand, the one where I usually bring to the front desk with my next appointment written on it. But this time there had been just a simple check mark in a box: "No Follow-Up Necessary."

It's weird to know that I don't have bi-weekly or monthly appointments, the regularity of those sessions were the cornerstones to my schedules. I would shape my class and work around those appointments, each semester or month I'd tell myself "you're organizing it this way because if you don't everything else falls apart." But now those appointments are gone, there's a vacancy in my google calendar that in a strange way I miss with a sense of nostalgia. It's even a private joke with myself, remember the days when I was a robot and had no feelings, like ever? The days when I didn't care whether I turned left, right, or off the bridge - because I thought someone else controlled my navigation? Sick and twisted maybe, but it makes me crack a smile for just a few seconds. And in those seconds I suddenly get this feeling that I know the full expanse of my life from when it began, to where it is going.. and instead of feeling like some alien foe I feel at home.

Because I am okay for now.

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