I don't know if I'm feeling a greater range of emotion because I've stopped taking my medication or if I'm just prone to feeling at all because I've removed the highest stress-producers from my life, but I am nearly bursting with . . . happiness. I hesitated to write that. Is it really true? Am I happy? Is it that simple? I got through it? Is it over?
I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Depression is like alcoholism, in my opinion. It never really goes away. You have the risk of "relapse." The things that cause depressive episodes always reside in you and can rear their heads when you least expect it. But for the first time in a really, really, really long time, I'm optimistic that I'm past this episode. It was a year and a half of my life lost, but perhaps I have my future ahead of me again.
There are still things about me that frighten me, especially when I'm feeling hopeful, because there is so much to lose when things are better. I still, occasionally, fall asleep fighting thoughts of my professional failures. I still stumble to explain that I'm a "lawyer by training, but I'm not practicing right now." Most of the time, that feels like sugar-coating, as does the "I am so happy to be spending this time with my children," argument. I still struggle to shower on a daily basis or to bathe my kids as regularly as seems expected of me. I still get up every day and feel like I should be doing something, going to a job, contributing in some way.
I see bright spots too though. I spent an hour rolling around on the floor tickling my son this morning. That joy has to be worth something. I've been making dinner from scratch, without recipes, with things we have around the house - something that requires a creativity that I had completely lost for some time, and that I missed. Parenting, taking the hard, right road, has gotten easier. I'm engaged. I make decisions based on what is best, not what is easiest, more often than not.
This balance, this dark countered by light, is recovery for me. I'm bursting with hope, with happiness and while that is countered by caution, I'm going to turn my face toward the warmth of this optimism.