I think my primary takeaway from this year has been the annoyingly not-obvious observation that the future and the past, despite looking as though they are on a linear spectrum with one another, are very much not, and that the present moment can be used as a tool, at any point, to alter the trajectory of what comes next by making changes, even infinitessimal ones, to what is happening now. And I say this as someone who is by no means an optimist. But there were many realities at the beginning of this year that defined my life. A borderline episode landed me briefly hospitalized, and my intrusive thoughts (OCD) were putting me on a constant state of high-alert (I was registering them at 4-5 out of 5 every day), meaning I was spending most of my days with my eyes closed, at least when I didn’t have to have them opened. I had no idea how I was going to live through these symptoms for another year.
We get to the end of this year, and my life couldn’t be more different. In many ways I don’t understand how it happened. How, somewhere along the way, did I start being able to keep my eyes open during the days. How is it that now I see life with a sense of calm, that when I read journal entries written by me from years passed, trying to make sense of all the pain and suffering that was going on inside every minute of every day, I don’t recognize that person, let alone identify with him. Yet I know I was him, that I am him. And that moment of recognition is always a little tricky, because if I am that person, then those feelings, the ones that overrun and sweep me away, the ones that make cooperative dialogue difficult and relationships impossible, the ones that think, every afternoon quite casually, that I would be better off dead than alive, are still inside me.
I try not to dance down this road too much. The prettier (or, in this case, more dramatic) the flower, the farther from the path. I have a good set of therapists now (as opposed to the one from Mclean who refused services to me because she was convinced having just met me that I wasn’t being serious enough about my recovery. Someone out there might call her a b****, but I know three female dogs personally, and, they are some of the nicest people I've met. So, she’s a dickhead. There you go.) In any case, I have a good set of therapists now, one of whom often reminds me not to look for silver bullets. And, despite my predilections towards doing so, I agree with him. We’ve discussed how progress is often a thousand tiny steps, or nudges, or anything, small and seemingly fleeting, the culmination of which can steer that steamship out of the way of that iceberg. Tiny, tiny steps. And thousands of them. I suppose, for me, the key was to develop a practice. To keep going, no matter how stupid I felt the work was, how little it helped me at the beginning, even days when I didn’t have faith, to bear down and do what little I could to forge a different reality, a different life.
So. Have an excellent start to 2021. I generally don’t like telling people what to do, but I might go so far as to share something I’m doing for myself this new year’s, which is: stop saying how 2021 will be “better” than 2020. I mean, seriously, folks. Why would you do it? WHY would you DO IT?! :) But seriously, for anyone who’s read this, thanks for sharing in some random musings of a random muso. I look forward to seeing you at some point next year, which I now graciously accept, free of expectation.