I’ve been in and out of pretty hardcore therapy for most of my adult life, and probably should have started even sooner. After I had Stephen I was struggling with post-partum depression (fatal when suffered by someone who already has a history of clinical depression) and anxiety disorder complicated further by my ex losing his job and getting deeper in the bottle. It was bad. Big bad, so I made my merry way back to therapy to get a little perspective.
In previous sessions I had discussed my Doomsday theories (linked directly to my Pilgrim Holiness upbringing), and how these theories had convinced me that life was probably the greatest punishment anyone could ever receive, especially if life placed them in a generation that was sure to see the wrath of God visited on them and their young. Whenever my depression rears its head, the Doomsday fears start up again. When I have nothing else in my life to make me crazy, I know I can depend on my Doomsday fears to send me over the edge.
So when I returned to therapy in 2007, most of my concerns were revolving around 2012/2013. Obviously, I wasn’t all that worried about the actual things in my life that could be making me feel so bad…the hormones, the exhaustion, the chronic loneliness that had pervaded every hour of every day. Nah, I was worried about December 21, 2012, and the potential of being blasted by an asteroid. I had waking nightmares of the three of us in a vehicle, trying to escape in a panicked mass of screaming people, Stephen crying in the backseat. Nightmares of me holding him, unable to protect him from the destruction, and trying to make our deaths easier for him. Knowing that I wasn’t strong enough to be brave.
We worked through it, my therapist and I. We examined the real problems and some ways I could start feeling better. Learning to understand what I needed to make my days easier. Learning how to get some sleep. Learning how to make friends with whom I could be my true self. (Knitting friends, I am looking squarely at you right now.) As I worked through the problems, some good things and some really shitty things happened, but they all happened because I needed them to, and because I made the conscious choice to Get Better.
Did you know an asteroid was going to come this close today? I did. You see, when you have these problems you study up on everything that could happen. You learn it better than you learned spelling words in elementary school. I knew all about it over 5 years ago.
As my life turned in a brighter direction, I faced the upcoming potentials for tragedy in a different light. I didn’t know what the future held, but I did know how to think logically, and I knew how to recognize when I was allowing myself to get close to that precipice.
December 21 passed without a hitch. I remember waking up several times that night, most likely because my terror over that date was still ingrained in my psyche despite my highly effective therapy, but for the most part I was good. Then a couple days later it was announced that the trajectory of the asteroid was good, and it was just going to glide right by. What a great Christmas present.
I don’t know where this leaves me. At this moment I’m sitting and writing instead of dying a tragic death. I think this makes today a pretty damn good day, and I’m going to celebrate with a beer.
What are you going to do with today, and with the rest of this gift of life that we have been so graciously granted?