I haven’t sent out my annual letter yet, the one I tuck in with the holiday photo card. It’s all about bliss this year, but I keep thinking about what I left out. I love honesty in a synopsis, and my letter is truthful. I can say the year was grand, that I was able to see all the goodness in my life often.
Still, it’s unusual for me to leave out the bad parts. There was no giant leap into horribleness this year, though, so do I really need to put in that I still over-analyze everything? That every December I take a jump into my dark mind and it leaves me gasping for deep breaths? Who needs to know that a few days ago I finally sat down and wrote about that deep dive into despair?
Well, maybe no one or maybe you. Why not admit writing about preventing teen suicide for work was a real blessing for me? I looked back at my teen self, the one who struggled with a chemical imbalance and went on meds, and I said, “Hello, it’s really good to see you again.”
I really treasured talking with my mom about what it was like to parent me back then. To hear that it was the hardest thing but also for both of us to say how lucky we were. How the meds worked so fast, how I realized that they were working. How years later I was the one seeing a counselor because I knew I should be. How the counselor told me I would know when I needed meds, and how I did, how I asked for meds, and how they worked again.
I can hear an old friend of mine saying there is nothing lucky about that. But there is. Meds don’t always work. That’s lucky. Yes, it’s true, it’s more than luck. But the universe is funny. And I know to count my blessings, to thank my mom once again for being willing to talk with me when I feel so much darkness, to know I can call her and she will hear it in my voice and I won’t be let off the hook. “What’s wrong, Nancy?” she asks every time until I finally admit how crummy I feel.
I’m lucky to have her, and I’m glad I’ve learned the tools that work for me when despair hits. Maybe that’s not ripe for the yearly letter, but it’s something I thought about a lot in 2014. One of the most important things I did was write that article on preventing teen suicide. And no, I’m not tooting my own horn, or even if it feels a little like that, I’m saying for me it was good to swim through research on the topic, to talk to people in the field, to chat with my mother, to write about myself in the lead and conclusion, to say, yup, I’ve been there and I might be there again. And it’s OK. Have you been there? I’m a safe person to talk to.
Because we all know it takes half a life time to figure out who to talk to sometimes, that making a list of the people you trust with the really real stuff is actually a good idea. Yeah, a Facebook post will garner some support, but the friend you call week in and week out in any kind of mood, well, there’s no replacing her.
Since it is New Year’s Eve morning, I’m writing these words and thinking about how to dive into 2015. The sun is out, my husband is at work, and the kids are still sleeping. The house feels holy and I know it is. We live here in all kinds of weather and I, for one, feel so blessed. After a year of interviewing experts for work, I’ve already decided to honor the expert I know best in the New Year: myself. I’m the expert on my own life. I’ll keep gathering knowledge outside of myself, but I want to keep knowing that I’m the sifter, the one who knows what will work for me and my family. I guess this isn’t a blog post with a tidy beginning and ending, and it’s more real than necessary for some. But it is a typical resolution post for sure, and with it I send out a loud “Happy New Year” to you and yours.