Tuesday, March 20, 2012


About this time last year, the question everyone was asking me was "How are you doing?"

The answer I gave everyone was "I'm doing the best I can." The best I could do, however, was really not very good at all.

Picture your life, as you know it, as you are comfortable with it. ("Comfortable" is a term I use loosely here, as comfort does not always equal contentment. By comfortable I mean familiar, routine, expected). Then, imagine taking a sledgehammer to that life: completely and utterly destroying everything about it, one violent stroke at a time, until you can no longer recognize anything about it.

That was last spring.


There is a scene towards the end of the movie "The Artist" that brought me back to last spring. In this scene, George Valentin destroys his life's work, his legacy, because he doesn't see that he has any options left.


That is EXACTLY where I was last year. Out of any other options, as far as I could see, and willing to abolish everything that surrounded me and was familiar to me.

When you have an outburst like that, and you finish your destruction, and you look around at the rubble of everything you have left in the wake of your rage and fear and desperation....then what?

Initially, there is an overwhelming calmness. The destruction is DONE. There is no undoing it. The damage is permanent and irreversible. What was too much to deal with is no more.

Then, panic and disbelief sets in. What have I done? What was I thinking? How could I do this? Now what am I going to do? What now? WHAT NOW?

Lastly, fear and sadness take over. I experienced periods of intense sadness followed by periods of absolute numbness. Often it was easiest to trick myself into believing I could go through life feeling nothing. I went through each day just going through the motions until I could thankfully crawl back into bed, into my safe place, and sleep the nightmare of my every day away. On occasion, when I allowed myself to feel, I could ONLY feel sadness, and I could do nothing but cry until I was out of tears.

This was what spring was for me last year.

Fast-forward one year later and today is the first day of spring. What have I learned?

I've learned that life goes on. I know that sounds so trite, so simple, but it is a hard thing to see in the midst of horrible depression. When you are feeling that defeated and that sad, one of the most difficult things to do is to acknowledge that the way you feel at that moment is temporary. That a tomorrow is coming, and that tomorrow has the potential to be better than today. Possibly this is the most important lesson I learned this past year.

A year later, I have a new life. It is far from perfect, just as my old life was. But it is becoming comfortable, familiar, routine, and expected. Furthermore, it is a life that is bringing me contentment.

When people ask me, one year later, "How are you doing?" my honest response is "much better, thank you."

Last year was the destruction of my life, followed by reassessment of everything that I ever thought mattered to me. This year is a continuation of reviewing and reassessing my life, followed by a period of rebuilding it. Today is not perfect. But today is not yesterday.

And tomorrow is coming. And that tomorrow that has the potential to be better than today.