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Doing Better

Everyone I know has been noticing that I’m doing better.

And not just because I’ve been saying it out loud. It’s a lot more subtle than that in many ways. It’s sketched all over my face, written into my actions, and generally transmitted from my very being: I’m okay.

Please understand the gravity of my meaning when I say that that has never been true before.

I’ve had good moments here and there, scattered throughout my history. I’ve felt true joy, and hope, and gratitude, and that strange, undefinable euphoria that envelops you when you’re in love. All of those things have made themselves known to me periodically over the years.

But they have never been consistent (well, except for love, but that’s its own story). I’ve had moments of delight, but they were always just moments; they never stuck around for more than a few seconds, and it always took a Herculean effort to generate them.

In the past few months, however, feeling alright hasn’t taken any effort at all. Instead of being the (frequently unattainable) result of unbearably hard work, “okayness” is now my default state every day. Feeling okay all the time may sound like a boring existence, but the pain of being bored because everything in life is just alright is nowhere near as excruciating as the pain of being suicidal because breathing is agonizing and the future looks utterly hopeless from your thoroughly depressed perspective, which doesn’t show any sign of releasing its iron grip on your psyche.

The latter scenario describes my entire teenage and early adulthood experiences. During those years, I was hard-pressed to find anything I wouldn’t have given just to be bored instead of horrendously depressed.

In other words, “just okay” is a blessing when your whole life has been “kill me now”.

So I’ve been utilizing my bright new “okayness” to participate in being alive instead of watching life go by, idly wondering what motivates other people to leave their beds and actually do things instead of just sleep. I’ve stopped sleeping all day and started holding onto the motivation to leave my bed, which is a feeling that’s making itself known to me for the first time ever.

The indicator of my shiny new wellness that I notice more than any other, though, is my desire to converse with other people. Like, real people. In person. When I was sick in the Before Times – AKA my whole life – I was paralyzed by social anxiety whenever the opportunity arose to talk to another human being. Now, however, I find myself approaching strangers, starting up conversations, and speaking in a loud, clear, bright voice that’s articulate and full of personality. In those moments, I’m careful to observe myself as I operate at maximum capacity, and generally hit every social interaction out of the park. This is what I can be, I tell myself when that happens. This is my full potential that depression obscured for ten years.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life. I don’t even know what I’m going to do tomorrow. But for now, I’m happy just basking in the glow gently pulsating from my newfound “okayness”, which assures me that while my future may be unwritten, I can close my eyes tonight knowing that at least tomorrow won’t hurt.

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