Maybe a steady diet of saltines and store-brand sports drink for three days was the tipping point.
Maybe it was two days of sitting and lying down, not needing to do anything else, or thinking there was anything else to do (which was good, because I couldn't do it anyway).
Maybe it's a combination of good medications.
Maybe the moon is in its seventh hour.
Faithful readers will remember that I've had my ups and downs with chronic anxiety and its cousin, depression. I've probably been dealing with them for the better part of my life, but only recently with a full onslaught of better living through chemistry. And while things have improved, the nagging sensation remained that this is as good as it's going to get. The best I could hope for was an absence of outright pain, with a few enjoyable (albeit temporary) moments thrown in randomly. I didn't seem to see evidence of it getting better than that. What has been happening was all that was going to happen. Not because I didn't deserve it, or was unworthy, but...that was it. No feelings of impending doom, although the thought of another possibly 40 years of bleh didn't exactly charge my battery either.
If you've met me in real life prior to the last two years, this would probably surprise you. I've always been relentlessly optimistic. Perhaps foolishly so, and in several situations, naively so, but somehow I always knew that things were going to be OK...and probably a damn sight better than OK as well. And if they weren't, I just knew it was a temporary situation. Everything would come out in the wash. Even when I got divorced: it was painful, it was confusing, it was round one of major depression, it was self-isolating while I tried to figure which way was the hell up. But through it all, I knew this wasn't "me" forever. My friends circled around me, never leaving, but giving me room. They were there when I came up for air, and still there when the sun rose again. I knew things would get better.
This time, I couldn't see it. The situation so thoroughly shook my foundation that I wondered if I even had one anymore-or ever did to begin with. My friends were still here, but I couldn't come up for air like I did before. I managed to drag myself out of the deepest pits, and knew I was done being there. But that's where I felt I stopped. I wasn't in free-fall, but I wasn't moving forward. I began to feel like this was "me" forever. The wash had already come out, and someone ran black jeans in with the white towels. Both are still perfectly functional, but neither will ever be quite the right color again.
Then Wednesday happened. Yesterday. Around 4:00, literally. I realized that my body felt different. I sat for a moment, wondering if this was a new wave of nausea, but it wasn't. I sat a little more, and found that the space above my heart felt different. As in, space between my heart and my breastbone. Breathing room. As if a weight, like a ten-pound bag of flour had been lifted from there. Something came in that hadn't been there for a while, and that's why it took me a little to recognize it.
I'm not sure what exactly it is that was taken, but I feel no need to find it and pick it up again. I don't need its suffocating closeness, or its false sense of security. Whatever it is, it's gone. And what keeps going through my mind is, "That wasn't me forever."
I don't know what the future holds. I'm pretty sure that all my problems will not instantly be solved (obviously, or they'd be gone already, seeing as this happened yesterday). I'll still have to go to work, and teach lessons, and find a way to make time to do the things that make my heart sing in between. But my heart has room to sing again. A sense of possibility has returned, and while I don't know exactly where the road is going, I am able to see a road in front of me once more. if I squint a little, it looks like it's heading into a meadow of flowers.