See, I was doing so well. Hell, I wasn't just doing well. I was doing amazing. I passed my fourth hysterectomy anniversary on July 3rd, my second anniversary for quitting smoking is coming up on September 9th, and my first anniversay for sobriety from alcohol and drugs is in two days. My summer and early fall are populated by gigantic milestones that point to my ability to kick life's ass and stay alive, but...
It's August 18th today, and, although the sun still feels warm, there is a cooler undercurrent in the wind, and the days are getting shorter. Autumn is nearly here, and my seasonal depression and anxiety is dropping in for its eight- or nine-month visit.
Where another person might be thankful for being four years post-cancer, two years into improved health post-smoking, and discovering their ability to make it through the first sober year of their adult life, this person is worrying that she will be diagnosed with cancer again, is still missing the tasty security of cigarettes, and is struggling to really accept the new sober life she has fought so hard to win, because, while it is very good, it is very unfamiliar.
And then there are all the other things that have made August an intense experience: BlogHer '11 raised me high and laid me low as it does every year, loved ones are mourning the death of their father, my own grandparents are struggling through dementia, my parents are struggling with their struggle, and I've been called in for a pap smear redo (which makes any cervical cancer survivor panic). The onset of my fall anxiety and depression takes all of this, multiplies it by twenty-seven, and then sits on my chest threatening me with gobs of spit.
Also, my heart feels broken.
I'll figure this out like I do every year. I'll up my dose of St. John's Wort, take valerian root when I can't sleep, and take extra time to mellow the fuck out in a sudsy bath. And I'll likely have an uneventful pap smear next week and my overall sobriety will likely weather the stress of its anniversaries. I will remember to eat my vegetables.
It's just that this part of the year is so damn hard. I feel like I am mourning some great loss, some unrecoverable history that is already being forgotten.
It's hard to remember that this is not the reality of the situation. Nothing is being lost. Everything is where I last saw it. My emotions right now are a reaction to reality, not the reality itself.
Somebody tell me something good. Here, I'll start.
I HAVE A NEW NEPHEW! AND I'M A FIRST-TIME AUNT! My brother and sister-in-law brought this gorgeous little being into the world just over a week ago, and I am, quite literally, reduced to tears when I look at pictures of him.
Now you. What really happy thing can you tell me about? We're turning this frown upside down, people. UPSIDE DOWN.