Upfront Disclaimer: This is going to be less of a discussion post and more of a moment of reflection. Please indulge me.
It’s New Year’s, a day or moment I happen to loathe. It’s also a year since I made the resolution to embark on my Odyssey through 2001 — a decision partly responsible for the formation of this site. While I have, clearly, not been doing the best job posting regular discussions as of late, I have inadvertently wrapped up 2011 with a great deal more understanding of a decade ago. Perhaps needless to say, this holiday season has been a doozy.
Ten years ago, I reached a bottom that terrified me. I honestly can’t tell you where I was or what I was doing ten years ago today. I have no idea right now what I did for that New Year’s. I know I had finally been properly diagnosed. It was post-seizure, and I was prescribed 16 pills per day and wasn’t able to stay on any of them because of the side effects. I know I had been in the emergency room six times in December 2001 and had surgery scheduled for the first week of January. (Much like my mind, it seemed that my body too had cracked.) I know I couldn’t sleep, much like tonight.
With the bipolar diagnosis came some answers but no solutions. The medication they prescribed was no solution, and I didn’t have a therapist able to work with me. I was psychotic. I was paranoid. I was being taunted by voices without bodies. I was lying constantly. I was hiding. I couldn’t take care of myself. I was anxious. I was probably in a mixed mood. I was really very scared.
I thought months prior, when they finally figured out what was going on in my head, that it could be addressed and somehow fixed. I didn’t know that the worst, for me, was yet to come. By New Year’s 2002, I was barely there. And I was so very scared — sure that the life I had was gone, sure that the person I knew myself to be was gone, sure she wouldn’t come back, sure she couldn’t explain, sure that I wouldn’t survive.
I managed to work, and the work I did was not my best but better than decent. And no one knew what was happening inside me.
With this New Year’s, I suppose my Odyssey — at least in its formal sense — is finished. I made it through the year, and it’s brought me here: trying to remember a moment during which I was too far gone, too lost, to be able to commit anything to memory. Perhaps unsurprisingly or perhaps completely by coincidence, this week has been hard. I tried venturing out yesterday, and failed miserably at the hand of a terrible anxiety attack.
Four years ago, January 2008, I went back into treatment after six years out. And what comes next, after my Odyssey, is probably just what has happened every day for the last four years: More trying, more work, more dedication to getting by and getting through. More self-realization. More self-actualization. More reflection. All in service to my knowledge that being in my head is neither the same nor as meaningful nor as rewarding as being in the world.
Last year’s resolution — the decision to let myself examine what happened to me in 2001 — is the only New Year’s resolution I have ever kept. I will not make one this year. This year, I will only commit to continue doing what I’ve been trying to do every day for the last ten years: try.
Happy New Year to all of you. I thank you for all you’ve shared and look forward to much more as, together and individually, we keep trying and working and doing. Since I should include a question for discussion, and since I’ve never really asked it outright before, How are you?