People ask me how I’m doing.
I don’t really know how to answer. I know the question comes from a place of genuine concern and caring. I feel pressure (most likely self-imposed) to say I’m doing better.
I’m not. I’m just functioning better.
Last November/December, I hit a dangerously low place. Work was unbearably stressful. My antidepressant wasn’t working. I could barely get out of bed, and I cried all of the time. I knew I needed help, so my doctors and I agreed on intensive outpatient treatment.
That did not go over well at work. To be fair, my replacements (yes, it took two), on the Big Account had just started, and I was needed to help get them onboarded and planning complete. My boss asked me to hold on for just another month. I wasn’t sure I could (and my therapists didn’t think I should), but we changed my medications, crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
Luckily, it worked out, although I think it was through sheer force of will. I wasn’t very pleasant to be around, and I’ve been making it up to my family. We got through Thanksgiving and Christmas and I took a couple of weeks off, which helped immensely.
The new medication has evened things out enough that I can get up and function every day. It’s had some unpleasant side effects (hello, high blood pressure and 30-pound weight gain), but it’s a decent trade off for being able to get out of bed and fake being human.
But it’s still a struggle. My fibromyalgia has been flaring quite a bit. Meditation helps and I exercise when I can. I’m trying to eat more plant-based foods and less sugar, always my crutch when I’m sad.
The reality is, my heart is broken. It will always be broken. I can function, and laugh, and be present for my family, but the sadness is always there and always will be. It’s just part of who I am now. Maybe it will lessen with time, but right now, 20 months after I lost my Charlie, it hasn’t. I feel it as keenly as I did the day I got the news; I just compartmentalize it better.
In the meantime, another spring is on its way. And as the air warms and trees think about budding, I remember springs past and my beautiful boy, who loved being outside and loved to dance for joy. I know he would want me to dance too. Right now, I’ll just hold on to the idea of dancing, and smile through my tears.