I have been crying.
Like, more than I have in years.
I've been crying at unexpected moments, and expected ones. I have been leaking tears everywhere.
It feels, in a word, amazing.
About ten years ago, as a brand new mother, I found myself falling into a depressive illness so pervasive I actually felt almost nothing. The only emotion I felt consciously was a paralysing anxiety—the kind where you never, ever sleep, because if you do, you might miss the moment you are needed. I slept in half hour bursts for about 2 hours a night.
Somehow, I survived a year like this.
A year into my son's beautiful new life I was stick thin, sleepless, hopeless, and entirely derailed. I couldn't imagine things would ever get better, and I couldn't see a way through. Those days were unbearably dark.
I felt frozen. Trapped. And I almost never cried.
People I love helped me seek help. And three counsellors and two specialist doctors later, I finally agreed to go on medication.
And I thought, How has it come to this? Who am I, and who will I be after I take this small, white pill? How can life ever, ever be different from this inescapable dark?
I began my journey to wellness with those small, white pills. That crazy ragged edge of anxiety was smoothed, just a little, just enough, so that I could sleep.
I began to see a counsellor regularly. I began to exercise. We moved from the US to Australia to be closer to my family. I began to spend more days wanting to be around than not. I took those small, white pills and began to save my own life.
I took those pills for almost 9 years.
In that time were moments of enormous beauty. In that time were relapses of depression.
I gave birth to my girl. I walked the dog to the beach and watched him lap creek water along the way. I planted a peach tree and watched it grow tall. And once I was completely undone by seeing a friend's cat killed by a car. Life was complicated and life was hard, and glorious, all once.
And through it all, I still almost never cried.
And then, I decided I was ready to stop taking my small, white pills.
I spent a year and a half weaning myself from my already low dose…a long time…spent waiting to be ready…waiting to feel I could go out into the world on my own. Eight months ago, I took my last pill.
And a curious thing began to happen.
I started to cry.
I don't know when I first noticed it; perhaps a song here, or a kind word there, a sappy moment in a dvd, but I realised I was leaking. More and more often. Plus there were those regular hard moments, when I realised I was having a good bawl; tears actually flowing out. Pouring out, coming out in droves.
It felt extraordinary.
Six months ago, someone said things to me that I found hard to hear. I cried and cried the sorrow and anger out. I cried off and on for a week.
A month ago, I cried because a friend gave me a book, a special book she had bought for my girl. I cried at her kitchen table for her simple, kind act.
And just this week, I have cried (sobbed actually), at a concert I went to with my mum. Lost it (lost it!) watching the end of Toy Story 3 with the kids. And on Friday I listened to a lovely woman sing a jazz song she wrote for her son. Cried and cried.
Quietly and with so much gratitude.
Because I feel everything now. I feel depths of joy, depths of sadness. I worry, I laugh. I fret and feel unhinged and I marvel at birds swooping the high hollows of the sky.
I feel it all.
And the gift given to me by those small, white pills, was they helped me to this place. This place of freedom. Of life. Of being.
I cry and my heart creaks.
I cry and I'm alive.
I cry with love. I cry with gratitude.
I cry because life is extraordinary.