I woke up this morning intent on using the day to celebrate the holiday the classic way. I ate an all American breakfast with a friend, then headed to the pool with a cooler full of beer and my best friend. I wondered if I would meet friends to watch the fireworks brighten up the night sky.
All the while, the darkness tugged at the edges of my reality. I felt drained. I wanted to have fun, and yet there was this sinking pit in my stomach. I laid in bed till 12:50, and only got out of bed for said all American breakfast because my friend didn’t give me the option not to.
It took me two hours to prepare for the pool, because I drug my feet and battled inside my own head.
Finally I laid in bed ready to “relax,” which in the world of my depression means to stare at a wall and speak to no one. My mom called up to my room that she needed tin foil to cook the BBQ Ribs.
I wanted to respond that I could not care less whether she cooked them or not, because the ache of numbing depression in my stomach had filled me up plenty. But instead I offered to go buy some and headed downstairs.
I don’t even remember what happened to lead us to this point, but as we were talking my mother said “I see a storm coming. The wheels are falling off the wagon, the recovery wagon. Just because I haven’t said much, doesn’t mean I don’t notice, and I’m worried.”
I prepared to get irritated, to deflect with a laugh, or to just walk away, but instead words poured out of my mouth.
“Meg is gone and my motivation went away with her” I croaked out over the lump of tears I felt in my throat. Then the sobs came.
For the first time in almost six weeks I began to cry. And cry and cry and cry. They were the kind of sobs that racked my entire body. The kind that only come when you let go.
As I told my mom that she was right, that I was broken, that my therapist moving away had nearly destroyed me, I cried harder than I’ve cried in a long time.
I felt the numbness that has occupied my brain since my great grandmother passed away a few weeks ago break, and I was overwhelmed with feelings.
Sometimes my depression numbs me out for so long that I forget how it feels to actually feel.
So yes, I cried my eyes out, but it needed to happen. Just because processing and experiencing an emotion isn’t pleasant or fun, doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary.
I feel 1,000 times better having felt what I needed to feel and I finally remember Meg’s words coming back to me. She always said that there was a certain strength in vulnerability, and I had forgotten that, or maybe I knew it all along and just denied it because it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
So on this day, I’m using my independence to be truly free from a prison I created within my own mind.
Freedom from oppression is great, and there is no greater oppressor than mental illness, so break free and be strong, even if that means shedding a few tears.