While we were dating, Ben and I often went hiking on the beautiful Alaskan mountains. One particular morning found us at the top of Flattop a little after sunrise. I remember observing the gradual shift from dark to light as the sun’s rays spread across the land, leaving a kaleidoscope of shadows.
These last few days I’ve been reflecting on that scene in connection with my newly found happiness. For years I suffered under a cloud of despair: Seeing my future as hopeless and desolate. Looking back through time, I can only remember brief stints of joy splattered on a canvass of bleakness–my existence.
Up until a few months ago, before I recognized the need of intervention–in the forms of therapy and medication–I would wake with a rising sense of dread. The kids would watch hours of the Wiggles so I could sleep through the pain of severe anxiety and depression. When they engaged in normal child activities, the screwed up wiring in my brain produced reactions of intense and irrational irritation and anger. My husband was terrified to come home because he did not know what Amber he would find: the cheerful and supportive wife or the desperate and despairing wife. Multiple times a week I would have meltdowns complete with tears and dreary announcements of our future.
Under the guidance of a wonderful practitioner, I received the help I needed. After finding the right dose and mix of medications–to treat the clinical depression and anxiety–I saw a noticeable difference. The manifestation began by waking up full of hope and excitement for the day ahead of me, followed by joyful anticipation of the transition our family will soon make when Ben begins medical school, and capped when I no longer dreaded my husband’s long work week but looked forward to any time we had together.
The medication precipitated a symbolic sunrise in my life. No longer do I dwell in darkness; rather, the shadows are carefully dispelling under the gentle caress of the sun’s rays.
No longer incapacitated by mental illness, I am peeling away the layers and finding the person I have always been: Compassionate, optimistic, and happy.
Thank you all for supporting me through this painful journey. Your patience, kindness, and friendship has meant so much to me.