They say it’s the mother of all emotions.
I woke up today, a week since switching to a new antidepressant called Abilify, and felt a switch had flipped inside me. Very simple: the glass was no longer half empty. I was looking at the same things as before, but instead of seeing them as less than what I needed to feel whole, they felt like blessings on top of a sturdy foundation.
My days have been in flux since leaving my full-time job running a theatre. I have little to no day-day regularity. But I’m doing almost exclusively what I love to do these days: teach, write, perform. And I’m making enough money to get by. This is huge!
I may long for intimacy, but I also haven’t fully loved myself in a long time. We all know (or you should if you don’t) Ru Paul’s famous quote, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else?” I haven’t been dating in awhile, because I’ve felt like shit, and that’s ok. This swell of gratitude today makes me feel I could once again look forward to a first date.
I may not have a human partner but I have Star, my big black Labrador, who is my best friend and companion. Her predictable excitement around simple things like eating food and going on walks and killing pigeons makes me smile daily.
I have friends that, though they are scattered with a million things occupying their life in NYC, pick up where we left off in five minutes. Friends who understand me both in and out of context of what I do — they know who I am as a person and they know my flaws and they still like me. I have friends who are honest with me and challenge me and help me grow, and I love them.
I have a father who, after not being close to him as a kid, has become my closest ally and confidant. He is the #1 person I know I can reach out to when I need to talk, and he’s always there to lend an understanding ear. He doesn’t pretend to know answers when he doesn’t know the answers. He is simply willing to listen and support as best he can.
The biggest roadblock to my own happiness is my mood, but I am realizing I have control over it, and I’m also thankful for getting professional help when I needed it. I have a fantastic therapist. She doesn’t give me easy answers. She doesn’t even answer my questions; she guides me toward my own realizations. It’s excruciating at times because I want her to just tell me what to do to fix the problem! My therapist’s way is the longer road, but I think it’s the stronger way to build belief in myself — by having to come up with my own solutions. She is there to reinforce, listen, and act as a mirror to my own thoughts.
I am fortunate that I am not in any real trouble. I am not in a ton of debt, or addicted to opiates, or lacking hope about the future. I have drive — probably too much of it which makes me impatient — but I’m grateful that I’m willing to work hard for what I want.
And even in my country’s overwhelming current political climate, I am moved by the unity of the protestors. I showed up on the steps of the courthouse the night the judge stayed Trump’s deportations, and I felt the collective power of the resistance to our government. It is waking up the fighter inside me.
Above all, it feels great today to just write something completely positive for once and mean it. Though I can’t control the outcome of how today’s events will unfold, I feel grateful for being on the journey.