"How's the mood?" my doctor asked as I sat perched on the exam table in her office. She pressed on my face and looked up my nose and listened to my lungs and I had answered that, actually, my eyes were itchy.
"Good, actually," I reported with a smile. "I feel stable and happy and hopeful." She looked at me what I decided was fondness and a small measure of relief. We decided it was allergies though there might be the start of an infection. But despite feeling physically crappy, I was emotionally steady. And, for me, that's been non-trivial.
I have been watching the It will get better videos and find them impossibly wonderful. It's just an outpouring of goodness in response to something so terrible and also strikes me as profound in that people can look at their lives - and their respective progression through difficult times - and say 'I'm glad I'm here.' Because life can be both gift and curse and, depending on which it is for me, I tend to make it such for others.
"Who is this person?" I asked gently in a meeting. "Is she very sad? Can we help her?" My colleagues blinked at me across the table and I shrugged. "I know she's awful," I explained. "And I agree that she's making a huge ordeal out of a tiny problem, but I think people react that way when they're struggling with some situation." Then I shrugged again and frowned while the team decided on how to fight back rather than give her kisses and cuddles. Which maybe is appropriate but I felt badly nonetheless.
I have been thinking of late of what I'm trying to do here. We are approaching my five year blogiversary and the rate of the word count has certainly slowed since I joined Industry, but I'm still drawn to this space when I am happy or sad, confused or certain. It is no longer my lifeline - a desperate attempt to find a safe way to know people when I felt so alone and miserable. It remains, however, a spot where I can say 'look how well I'm doing!' and return in a week to say 'oh, hell, this is so hard and awful!'
Because there are cycles - both long and short - and sometimes a local maximum overlaps with a global minimum and, for me, writing it out helps with perspective. But I find - whether due to growing up or this particular drug or perhaps the therapy makes sense years after I stopped going - that I'm more capable of handling the difficult times. Criticism and rejection, arguments and hurt feelings. I can balance that with confidence and pride in what I've accomplished, awe that I've seen some of the world and have friends and colleagues who believe me to be gifted and kind.
I worry over Little One - her sensitive soul and quickness to weep bitterly over even the slightest trigger. Her great-grandmother and Aunt Katie both struggled greatly with depression, though I am around to watch over her and try to explain and intervene. And I think, sometimes, of what I'll say if my prayers that she be spared the mood disorder aren't answered in the way I want.
I'll explain that life is not a Disney movie - that a belief in God is not a free pass away from pain and struggle. Sometimes people hurt you for reasons you don't understand. Other times, people won't love you back or are careless or selfish or cruel. Sometimes you'll be the one who is careless, selfish or cruel and the guilt over those times can be vicious. Bad things can happen but eventually it's clear that there's a balance and contrast with greatness. Giggling with friends over guacamole or gazing up at the skyscrapers in Tokyo with a sense of awe.
I'll confess that sometimes it's about picking your battles and priorities. That while I want her to have everything, sometimes there are choices that may lead to the wrong people or places, but as long as you're learning something, there's opportunity for course correction. And there are moments when you realize you're in the right place. And are happy there. And are able to treat people with kindness and care and react with a sense of happiness and hope.
So whether watching the sunlight filter through the leaves or pushing my hair back as the wind gusts down the side streets, the mood is good. If I can control the allergy and/or infection, I'll be all set.