It has been a year. Three hundred and sixty-five long and yet intensely spiritual days since I first admitted publicly, and more importantly to myself, that I was drowning from depression.
I came here in those early days to share my first tentative steps forward. It has been here that I’ve shared all of my fears and vulnerabilities. It was here that I promised myself that I would become healthy.
It isn’t easy to fully describe the life that I’ve lived in the space of this one life-changing year —the shift has been profoundly monumental. There is truly no one who can understand from where I’ve come, and how I got here. That’s the way it should be, the way I think it will stay.
And yet, I was broken and this place offered me a safe and comfortable place from which to put the pieces back together. My words formed the path, and all of you provided the encouraging and supportive shelter I needed to keep taking each step forward.
For that I am deeply, and eternally grateful.
A year ago I retired to my bed. I was exhausted and spent. For a while it provided the cocoon from which to lick my wounds and gather the self-acceptance I needed to begin to once again to live my life. Over the long winter months I wrote and wrote of the pain and the darkness. I made changes in my life, important changes. I started to meditate and found a sense of serenity I had not known before. I questioned myself, every little piece of myself. I was raw, but I pushed through and let myself be vulnerable.
I cried. God how I cried. I believed I was broken, physically I felt myself scattered into a million little fragments. I couldn’t imagine how I would every feel whole again.
But I kept going: to therapy, to meditation, deep into my writing. I cleared my calendar, and started to acknowledge and accept my triggers. And because of that I set boundaries. I learned that I couldn’t do it all, and funnily realized that I didn’t even want to. I thought about the things that really mattered. I was honest with myself. That was the hardest of all.
And as spring started to bloom, there was a freshness in the air and in my heart. I was feeling better. I was doing better. The winter had been dark, long and hard, but the brightness of spring and summer dawned brighter than it had for many years before. So I sat with this new feeling, I just allowed myself to luxuriate in the sense that I was so much better, that I felt like myself again. For weeks and weeks I just let myself feel it. The whole summer actually.
The thing about coming through the darkness is that that the lightness can be addictive. This place I’ve come to. It’s just right. It’s not wonderful, it’s not perfect, there are still hard days. I still question and wonder so much about myself. I work at this contentment every day. And I never want it to leave. I cannot ever feel like I did one year ago again. I just can’t.
So this is the next part of my journey. It’s to focus on staying well, on practicing what I’ve learned, on reminding myself from where I’ve come so that I can live my life today. Because that is what it means to be human. There is glory in the good, and there is honesty in the bad and they both make us whole.
And so, if you ask me what I’ve learned this year—after all the reading and introspection, this hard, soul work—I’ve learned that this is just it. Today. This moment. Life is best lived now, not in the past or the future. If you can understand that, I mean really, really grasp it, then everything else either falls into place, or it falls away. All of it.