Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
The weather is getting cooler, and as I sit here in my kitchen, typing away on my laptop and listening to Taylor Swift on Pandora (What, Sweatpea? Pandora is ancient technology, almost as ancient as the cassette tape?, I can see – even if just slightly – the trees beginning to change their hue across the street. It’s hard to believe we’re approaching fall 2011. It’s the day after Labor Day. It’s a beginning for many – the first day of school, the first day of a new work week, the first feelings that the seasons are about to change right before our very eyes. It’s days like these that I realize just how much I measure my life in seasons, and for me, fall has always been a homecoming of sorts. But this fall, Sweetpea, I can almost feel that sense of homecoming deep, down in my bones. I had to smile when I received this comment recently:
It occurred to me today that you seem to be pack on your regular cheery posting schedule. I hope you take time this fall to relax and appreciate how strong you are! You are an inspiration to those of us that have bouts of depression and need to be reminded that we can get through it.
If this comment had been left in the summer, I wouldn’t have believed it. At all. I was, by my own insistence, never, ever going to get better. I was going to feel depressed for the rest of my life, and there was simply nothing I could do about it. And then, something happened: I started feeling better. Not overnight, of course. But little by little, those grey clouds began to lift. That fear I’d carried around with me for months was beginning to fall away from my shoulders. That self-doubt was beginning to give way to a glimmer of self-confidence. The pessimism of the past was actually beginning to feel a bit more like a sense of optimism and excitement about the future.
It was actually a very liberating and much-welcomed feeling, Sweetpea. It was something I hadn’t felt in months, and for the first time, I wasn’t worried that I would never get better; I was actually feeling better. I could recognize it for the first time. Granted, I’m not completely better – that’s going to take some time – but I’m starting to feel like myself again. It’s the best feeling I’ve felt in forever. It feels like I’m home again.
My mom found a photo of me over the weekend. It was one of those classic ’80s portraits from JCPenney’s or some other department store of yesteryear. I’m posing in one of my classic poses and clutching a stuffed teddy bear. There is a miles-wide smile on my face, and it looks like I don’t have a care in the world. I wonder what I was thinking in that photo, but I do know one thing: It’s nice to see that girl again when I look in the mirror now. As fall approaches, I feel like that girl is home again. I’m sure that you’re going to see that smiley girl is going to come out a lot, Sweetpea. You’ll love her. Trust me. Until we meet…