no, this is what recovery is like. this is what being depressed is like, and it’s why we stay. because even when we’re sure this is it, this is the last day we can put up with it, this is the last hour, the last second – some part of us remembers these moments, and thinks – what if tomorrow has one of them.
i used to joke i have bad days and worse days. i almost never do well. i feel like i keep barely a nose above the water.
but in those rare, rare, rare seconds where the waves stop for one second and i catch sight of something other than dark, i see it. the way a rose looks after a rain. how my mother smiles when she knows it’s my favorite meal that’s cooking. my best friend looking over his shoulder to flip me off again. the bike i rode at 7 and crashed at 17. a little bug struggling with five little legs – but walking, walking.
recovery isn’t smashing into these moments and realizing it’s finally happened, what those people said is true and it “all gets better”. recovery is remembering those moments and deciding – i want them back. it’s looking for them. sometimes it takes hours. sometimes days. sometimes months without any sight of them. but you look, you search even when you’re too tired to keep your eyes open, because you promised yourself … tomorrow. tomorrow will be the day we find one. a four leaf clover we know is our sign, the rainbow, the wishing well – the way out.
and when you find one, they get easier. four leaf clovers always grow in the same patch, after all. and your eyes get sharper. you figure out what makes any small part of you happy. you figure out that you might not be happy, but it’s good enough to stick around to watch the way oil looks in puddles and how she always cries at new year’s. and it might not be blisteringly, soul-crushingly happy in the way other people seem to feel things – in that mind-numbing wordless joy that shines in them, that glow i’m so envious of, that effortlessness – but it will be like this, just quiet, a moment of rest, of the shouts dimming for a minute, a peace.
it’s easy to say “i’m depressed, i’ll never be happy.” maybe. i hope not, because i’m still looking. and in these moments i’ve rediscovered that i am funny, that i like the color pink, that kittens and puppies never fail me. in these moments i’m still depressed, still me, still fighting an illness that wants to end me. but i’m fighting. i seek these moments in every second i get because i’m here and breathing and after all this i’m going to be pissed if this gets the better of me.
maybe i’ll never figure out how to feel effortless and free. but i know that i feel love when the music is blaring and my hands are out the window and i feel love somewhere on the beach and i feel love watching salamanders wake up in the mornings. it’s not other people’s love, it’s far-off and it’s distant and it might not be “normal”, but it’s goddamn important to me.
i didn’t wake up better. i forced better to come fight me. i’ve been walking towards recovery since i was 19. five years later and no, i’m not cured, but i see a lot more of these moments. or maybe they were always there, and only now am i realizing what i got in front of me.
and when it’s been bad again? when i’m not even breathing? when it’s been months since i felt anything, when the stress is too much and the sky is dark and the moon in me has fallen silent? i say: hang on. tomorrow might be the day we find it. tomorrow might be worth the fight.
the best part about this? eventually, i’m right.