I felt happy today for the first time in months. That sounds like an exaggeration. But since the beginning of summer I've had one trial after another, often at the same time, piling up on me. Not small easy trials - well, those, too - but big ones that I have a hard time handling even individually. I am strong, but I am not invincible. Inevitably, I cracked under the pressure. I had a full mental breakdown in the fall and have been fighting to rise out of the pit of depression every day since.
When you are suffering from active, aggressive depression, "happy" is relative. There is a deep, permanent kind of joy I feel for my husband, my daughter, and so many who love me. But it's hard for that deep happiness to surface from beneath depression's cover. Instead of seeing the world through figurative rose-colored glasses, I see through blue-colored ones; everything is a little "off."
What was so different about today? Maybe nothing. Maybe it was the rare Oregon winter sunshine. Most certainly it had something to do with a friend's anonymous, generous and much-needed gift. Maybe it was the slower pace of the day, some alone-time with my husband, and a favorite movie. Maybe all the things. All I know is that today was different.
I realized it was different tonight when we went in to change Lana and put her back to bed. As I held her in her sweet, sleepy, dependent state, my heart broke open with love too big for it. I was so happy I nearly cried. Okay, fine, I did cry. Then, as I settled back onto the couch with my husband and my dog I had the same reaction, only instead of tears it was a big, uncontrollable grin and a light feeling within. I felt the weight of my depression lifted off me and my heart fluttered and my lungs filled with air as if I hadn't taken a deep breath in months.
I hope this is not a fleeting feeling. It feels so good to be happy. I'd forgotten how deliciously liberating it is. But I'm writing this to remind myself that even if depression overwhelms me again, it will go away, and when it does the happiness is, at the least, equally overwhelming.
To those of you who read this, thank you for loving and supporting me through my darkness. I need you. You don't know how much. And I can't thank you enough for all the ways, big and small, that you keep saving me. I can't make any promises, but I hope I don't need so many rescue missions for a while. And I hope to be able to pay both forward and back the love that I've received.