A New Year Not Filled with Resolutions

New Year’s morning I woke up after a good sleep and a night filled with a movie and sparkling apple cider.  I had spent the past few years feeling like the worst is yet to come, at the worst time possible.  After a couple of years of debilitating panic attacks, I knew life was only steady moment to moment.  My husband, a musician, was out of town for a few days for a New Year’s gig, but as I made coffee and busied myself getting ready to leave for my part-time retail job at the mall, I had a curious feeling that was so unfamiliar I almost didn’t recognize it: hope.

Maybe this was the year I would go down on my medications, or at least find one that didn’t make me feel and look as large as a whale.  Maybe the marriage counseling really would work, and my mental illness wouldn’t stand between us like a shadow.  Maybe my husband and I could find good, steady jobs and buy a house.  Maybe I wouldn’t be scared to be in my own body.  Maybe I would enjoy sex again.   

I am not an optimist.  In fact, in the years since I had been hospitalized and gone on medication, I began to feel like life would never again be okay; it would never be recognizable as the kind of life I used to have in my twenties.  I had given up that I could ever look the way I had before I began taking antipsychotics or be as carefree or energetic as I once was.  I didn’t go camping anymore.  I was scared of bears even though I had been camping hundreds of time with little fear of them.  I had accepted that I had a lifelong sentence of being fat and never being able to tell anyone that I was overweight because I took psychotropic drugs, not because I ate fast food or didn’t exercise.  I had accepted that this mysterious thing I couldn’t see – my mental illness — had wormed its way in between me and my husband and changed our relationship for the worse.  

But that morning, I didn’t make a resolution.  I simply accepted the feeling for what it was – the winds of change, perhaps.  Maybe no transformation would occur, but just being able to accept the possibility that it might was something I could hold with me for that morning and revisit when I surely would need to remember it.