The Rebuilding Year
I spent my 35th birthday last November waiting in line at the DMV and then getting a tire fixed. The two errands took most of the day. I was bummed, but now I realize it was setting the tone for the year to come.
2018 is a rebuilding year. And I'm glad, because gurl was in need of some renovations. Shit was leaking, pipes were bursting, mold was everywhere, floorboards were breaking, all from years of self-neglect.
Since leaving Chicago, my depression and anxiety has flared. Until recently, every moment was a combination of being convinced I'm the worst human on the planet and every bad thing that happens to anyone is completely my fault, and feeling like I'm watching life happen from the back of a very long tunnel because being present in the moment is just too horrific of prospect, so I'm constantly in a state of retreat.
By the way, I've suffered from varying levels of depression and anxiety for the better part of a decade (COMPLETELY UNRELATED: June will be the 10-year anniversary of my dad's suicide). Mostly, I've pushed through this fear and heaviness and sadness and hid it deep down like a good Midwestern Dutch/German male. I'm fine! Everything's fine! I think corn is a vegetable! I love Chevys!
But the cracks in the foundation were beginning to show. And I was tired. So tired. Anyone who knows me knows I can lift very heavy weights but this was too much, even for a Judith Light Sasquatch. Socializing was becoming a quiet nightmare, my fatigue was overwhelming, and doing anything creative felt like an enormous waste of time. The only thing I wanted to do was melt into my couch and become upholstery.
Moving to LA didn't cure me of my ailments, it ripped off the clever band-aids I had applied and has forced me to really look at the wounds and see how serious they really were. LA will do that to you, especially after living in Chicago, as you can no longer stuff your life so full of improv and sketch shows that you don't have time to notice how unhappy you are. I'm so fucking glad I'm in LA, as exposing as it feels.
I had to change something. And I'm a few sold pilots away from getting a much-needed forehead-reduction surgery, so I chose therapy.
About a month ago I went back to therapy for the first time in about 4 years. And soon I will start group therapy (or group play, as I am referring to it). And I'm now in the very exclusive Wellbutrin club (my new drag name is Auntie Dee Press-On) and had a reset of my anxiety meds. It's only been a week and a half or so since my meds changed, but already I feel steadier. I don't know if meds are a long-term solution, but for the moment I'm writing more. I'm listening more. I'm panicking less. I no longer want to be upholstery.
I need to do some healing if I want any chance of succeeding in LA. And there's no shame in admitting it.
Mental wellness is such a strange thing. Anytime someone else takes steps to improve their mental health, I'm like Yes! Do it! You go, girl! You are great! Self care! Get it, binch! But admitting to my own mental wellness needs is like solving a Rubik's cube of excuses and only sends me into further shame spirals.
I write this not because I've "figured something out" or that I'm all better and everything is dove farts and rainbow queefs. It's just to say I was falling and I'm not falling anymore. And that depression and anxiety are not abnormal, not wrong, not a sign of weakness, etc.
Actually, I guess I have learned something: to forgive myself for taking a break. And that rebuilding is just as important as building. And I'll never hold success in my hands if I don't let go of past failures and slights. You know, all that boilerplate self-help stuff.
I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and gosh darnit, one day I think I'll like me.
4/22/2018 05:36:20 pm
Well, well, butrin. Makes me see things so Zoloft is my game along with a touch of vitamin X in the night. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself. Nothing like a move and a big change to see things in a different light. A...Judith light. Keep getting well.
4/22/2018 07:20:05 pm
Thank you, John. It is really hard to rebuild. I appreciate your vulnerability. I took pictures of my shiny new basement after the rebuild of my foundation. There’s no dark scary corners anymore.... well, maybe there are still but ima shine a flashlight because I AM A WARRIOR.
4/24/2018 11:35:47 am
John, you are one of the all-around good guys, and it makes me happy that you are experiencing a period of growth—almost always painful—all that reaching and stretching, no doubt. I am in awe of your writing skills, as well as your ability to connect on s personal level, and loved the time I spent with you out in LA last month. I’m a dedicated member of your fan club! Keep on reaching and stretching! Love, Linda
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