The thing is, though, I don't feel love when I look back to a year or so ago. I'm pissed off at losing a chunk of lifetime to a bad brain.
I'm trying to move forward.
It heartens me when I compare myself to a year ago, though. I no longer cry in the shower. I don't cry when I put on a little mascara -- which was rather counter-productive anyway. I don't have anxiety attacks from getting in my car to drive to work...two miles away, and I don't have to sit in the parking lot at work wiping the tears off my face. I don't come home from work on a brilliantly sunny day and curl up on the couch with the blinds drawn to watch a crappy episode of Friends and end up in bed by 8:00 before the lightning bugs are even done.
Now I just have what I call regular anxiety and a little depression. It's livable. I know there will be times when the depression will dip a bit lower.
I got so used to the very low, though. You'd think I'd be totally rejoicing now, and yeah, part of me is. The other part is confused about how it all changed.
The other day, in my ongoing efforts to conquer the driving phobia, I drove 20 miles, on a highway, by myself. I merged into a line of trucks and even passed some of them. That was a big deal. I couldn't stop thinking of high school driver's ed. I think Mr. Llewellyn drove with me on that same road. I cheered when I arrived at my destination. Dork.
I ended up at a woodsy state park along a pretty creek. My therapist told me that I would benefit from being more in nature, which, yeah, duh, I know that. Oh, and here's your forty bucks. Thanks. No, no, no, I'm kidding, she does much more than that. So I made a concerted effort to walk on unpaved trails during the weekend. On the walks, I kept admonishing myself to let go of the icky past and look forward.
But, I realized today, on another walk, that letting go might be impossible. I think the key is to look back in love not in anger. If I can learn to look back and not feel shame, disbelief, confusion, fear and self-loathing and instead accept my bipolar-disorder-gone-bad experience as just another laughable part of me -- like my frizzy hair, or my little toes, or my bad vision -- if I could learn to laugh about it more, that would be another big step.
Of course I have a song for this. It was playing in my head during my quiet walk today. I heard it on the CD "DIY Teenage Kicks U.K. Pop 1976-1979" and it's probably one of my least favourite (note the U.K. spelling) songs on the joint. But here it is: