There have been things I’ve noticed about myself lately that let me know my general mental health is improving. I am better able to contain the things that I say. I may still say strange and inappropriate things at the worst possible times, but I’m learning what is considered mean or nasty, and have been able to refrain from saying the majority of those comments, even as they threaten to burst forth from my mouth. I am able to let things go easier. Of course, I’m still bothered by many of the same things that people say to me, whether they are trying to be hurtful or not. I am no longer dwelling on these comments as much, and not becoming as upset over them, though. Each comment I interpret as mean no longer throws me for a loop, messing up my entire day (or week…). I feel like doing more during the day than just laying on the couch, watching TV and drinking. Of course, I still enjoy doing this, but I also have started feeling motivated to do other things. Jay and I have been going for lots of walks downtown and drives through the country. Overall I have been FEELING better. I still have down days. I still get into weird moods. I still struggle with confidence issues and many of the other things I have been struggling with, but I think I have more positive moments throughout the day than negative.
One of the main ways I can tell that I’m feeling better is that I’m laughing again. Not the weird, nervous laughter that I use instead of words when I don’t know what to say, but real, actual, oh-my-God-this-is-so-funny-I’m-shooting-milk-out-my-nose laughter. (Don’t get me wrong, the weird, nervous laughter is still a big part of my work day!) I used to have to force myself to laugh at things. If someone told a joke at work, I would make myself laugh because everyone else laughed. If I was watching a movie with Jay, I would make myself laugh because Jay’s laughter told me that scene was funny. In truth, though, I really didn’t find anything funny. I would watch comedies stone-faced. I didn’t understand why people could laugh at what they did. I didn’t find joy in anything, and I had lost my sense of humor.
I have noticed in the last couple weeks that I have had to stifle my laughter. Jay and I have found a few new shows to watch on Netflix, one of them being “My Name is Earl”. I never watched that show before. I thought it would be some stupid redneck hillbilly show. It kinda is, but it’s really funny! We will be watching the show, and I will start laughing, loudly, and feel the need to quiet myself down. Jay has even commented that it’s good to hear me laugh again.
I know that it is a slow path to “recovery”, if that’s even possible or what it would be called, but it’s nice to be able to actually see the improvements. There were so many days after I started dialectical behavioral therapy and individual therapy that I thought I was getting worse. I didn’t think I would ever be able to feel better. It’s very encouraging to me to be able to remember the dark hole I was lost in, and compare it to the way that I feel now. Little by little, I really am doing better. Things don’t stay crappy forever, even though it feels like it when you’re going through it.