Friday, December 25, 2009

2009: Looking back on a year.....


"It's been a long trip with little days in it and no new places."
~Anne Sexton, "Flee On Your Donkey"


I have always had that quote run through my mind with great frequency during the difficult times in my life. However, I feel today that this past year has been a long trip with long days and lots of new places.

It's been a long year in some respects. On the other hand, I can't believe it has been an entire year since last Christmas.

This year, I broke my addiction to Diet Coke which had been a major part of my life for 19 or 20 years. I lost 57 pounds, gained ten back, so technically lost 50 (since April).

I saw my sister graduate from college after her nine years of struggling with financial and other burdens that made it difficult for her, and made her success all the more awesome.

I said goodbye to my grandfather.  I saw my grandfather die. I went to the first funeral I've ever attended.

I saw The Lion King in New York City on Broadway.

I completed my first year at my job at the college where I work, and where I sometimes go to school.

I watched Obama becoming president on TV, cheered along with all his other fans, and then got disappointed at the expectations he failed to me, like many other fans.

I started exercising regularly, several times a week.

I went back on Risperdal Consta injections every other week, because the voices and delusions were too frequent and too much a problem without that medication. I saw a decrease in symptoms after a few months of being back on injections.

I realized I didn't miss my ex-boyfriend -who broke up with me two years ago-anymore.

I went to a lot of movies.

I made people decoupage presents for Christmas - meaning I did some arts and crafts for the first time in the past few years, and I enjoyed it.

I listened to a lot of music, every day.

I learned. I learned to persevere more. I learned to be less afraid of the world. I learned to accept my imperfections as what they are - a part of my human self, more than I did before. I learned I didn't need anybody the way I used to think I needed certain people in order to survive/be happy/feel normal/live up to my dreams.

I dropped out of school. Again. I prepared to go back to school. Again. I am going to do it.

I wrote, on this blog, on Facebook, in emails, because out of all the things one can do with her time in this life, writing is my favorite exercise, and I no longer have a boyfriend living with me who makes my personality feel necessarily stifled.

I watched too much TV. I ate too much sometimes. I let my apartment get really messy. I cleaned my apartment up.

I realized I will probably never have a child. I thought about that.

I reminded myself to breathe more frequently.

I became more comfortable in my own skin.

I spent a lot of time talking to my therapist, who deeply enriches my life.

I became an active member of the National Organization for Women, went to several conferences, and donated a lot of my time towards feminist work.

I volunteered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is an another organization whose efforts I strongly support.

I realized once again that my dad and I are not close, haven't been close for a long time, and most likely will never be close again. This made me sad. Again. But I remembered again that this situation is not entirely my fault.

I walked around my neighborhood. I walked in parks. I walked on treadmills. I stopped going to physical therapy because the therapists decided I was able to exercise on my own. I stopped experiencing significant physical pain every time I tried to walk for more than ten minutes. I started walking for 20 minutes, then 30, then 40, then 50, then 60, at a time. I learned to love walking. I thanked the universe for my working, functional legs.

I worried about money. I worried about my car needing repairs. I worried about unpaid medical bills, bad credit ratings, calls from collection agencies, and a lack of funds with which the situation could be fixed. I worried about money for food. I worried about money for bills. I worried about money a lot. I felt jealous of people who don't have to worry about money.

I was grateful that I have more money now than I did during many other times in my life. I was grateful that I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and adequate psychiatric care.

I went for a second opinion on my psychiatric diagnosis at a university mental health clinic and learned that the second opinion was the same as the first. I continued on my regular regimen of medications and therapy.

I took thousands of pills, to keep myself able to function. I hated them all, or, ratter, hated the reasons why I have to take them. I thanked the universe for the pills because I couldn't live without them.

I stopped getting my nails done because it is ridiculously expensive and causes infections on one's fingers. I vowed to never visit a nail salon again, and never went back to one.

I felt grateful for my friendship with my closest friend who lives near me, and who I spent time with during many weekends of this past year because we like to see movies, and have long conversations in bookstores, and laugh together.

I missed my old friends who I don't hear from anymore. I also realized I can live without them.

I exchanged cds and little gifts and emails with an online friend who I am grateful to know.

I had periods of happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, gratitude, and calm.

I had periods of psychosis and terror and confusion.

I heard voices most days, at least a few times. I lived with it.

I was me.

2 comments:

Seeking said...

Thank you. Your writing is beautiful and honest and I am so grateful for your courage this Christmas evening. I feel hope again. It's been a while since checking in on your blog. This post made it worth the wait.

Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year!

Jennifer, aka beautiful mind, complex life said...

Thank you for your kind comments.It is always graifying to find out that someone is actually reading this blog, as I'm sure everyone who likes to write likes it more when they have an actual audience of some sort. I hope that your son finds the help that he needs which will work for him and be available for him. If you have any questions about life with this illness, feel free to ask.

Take care and Happy New Year!

Jen

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