I haven’t had health insurance since I left to go on my backpacking trip in April of last year. Before my insurance expired, I refilled all of my prescriptions. Even though I had gradually reduced the amount of medication I was taking – to make the supply last longer – as happens, it eventually ran out in the summer. I didn’t refill it until this January, when I was at the doctor’s, paying out of pocket for a completely unrelated reason. While I was there, I figured I’d ask how much I would have to pay for my prescriptions without insurance. To my utter bewilderment (not to mention pure joy), it costs less than 60 euros for a 3+ month supply. Wow. I had been expecting a bill of several hundred euro, which is why I had been putting it off for so long. Naturally I got both prescriptions refilled and began taking them again the very same night. Relief. Remember, I’ve been on the on/off medication train several times. Sometime last year, I finally accepted – and embraced – my meds, and their power to help me. I wanted them back.
So why haven’t I posted about this, considering how relative it is to my whole journey?
In mid January, I posted about self harm. What I failed to mention was the fact that I cut myself the same night I wrote the post. I didn’t want people to know. I want to give people hope, an example of things getting better. I want them to read my words and imagine moving past this negative stage and back onto happiness. I don’t want them to read my earlier posts of improvement and good times, only to then see that I’ve failed again. Because naturally, with a depressed mind, seeing me fall means there’s no hope for them either. That’s not the message I want to send.
Anti depressants are not instant fixes. They will not make you better overnight. In fact, often times, they’ll make you worse before they help you at all. But once you get past the initial tough stage, it becomes worth it. You can feel again. You can think again. You can get yourself out of bed again. You can socialize again – hell, you want to socialize again.
That rough spot began in early January for me, and lasted until about three weeks ago. I wrote that post, felt like a hypocrite for not telling the real story, and just left the blog alone. A little while later, I got a comment on a post, simply asking me if I was happy. I couldn’t bring myself to respond. I didnt want to lie. But I also didnt want to tell him the truth – that no, I wasn’t happy. At least not right then and there. So I just ignored the comment. And the blog altogether.
And then, soon after, the rough storm turned into a sunny afternoon with a beautiful rainbow. I felt better. Again, I had one of those “it’s working” moments. It’s funny how it sneaks up on you – gradually, you improve, but it happens over time and it’s hard to pinpoint when things got better. And then, one afternoon, I was sitting on my kitchen floor, listening to Sia and drinking a chai. And I smiled to myself because at that same time mere weeks before, I had called in sick to work because the thought of leaving my bed left me feeling crippled. I noticed how far I had come, and how calm I felt, and I smiled again, happy that I was back.
I haven’t posted because the first couple of weeks were spent feeling sorry for myself, while the remaining ones were spent surrounded by friends, good food and fantastic fun. I was so busy enjoying everything that I never took the time to write.
So, to the person who asked me if I was happy:
I’m not happy everyday. Sometimes, I go days, weeks, even months, being unhappy. I have times where I want nothing to do with being alive. I have times when I’m angry at myself, or the world around me. I have times where life seems pointless, and happiness seems fake.
And then, overall, above everything; all of the negative; all of the days I want to die, are the days where I am so, so, so incredibly happy.
After living in a dark, cloudy mind for so long, the sun seems to shine that much brighter once it finally does come out. I feel the joy a million times over. I revel in it. I spread it. I sing at the top of my lungs in crowded – and empty – bars. I cook (and also order, let’s be real here) delicious food with friends. I look forward to going to work, and planning fun activities with the toddler I am so lucky to take care of. I smile. I laugh. I make a fool out of myself. I have fun. I am happy.
Of course, sometimes that euphoric feeling is nothing but a manic phase. Sometimes I even have to ask myself, “am I happy or am I manic?” And I can never really know for sure. But it doesn’t really matter. The fact is I feel the joy and that’s enough for me, as long as I keep myself in control.
Any mental illness is a journey. Every journey takes a different road, or takes a different turn. Keeping up with yourself is important – checking in with your thoughts, keeping track of your feelings and major events. It helps to understand yourself when you can look back at what you’ve said, done, or felt, and view it with a different part of you. That’s what this blog is to me. I try to be as honest and open as possible, and then I go back and read through things later on.
So. To conclude, this rollercoaster ride is still going. I’m buckled in tight, and I’m not getting off any time soon.
I’m going to enjoy the ride as much as I can, when I can. And I hope you do too.