On Monday afternoon, I had the strangest sensation. I’d slept pretty well, gotten up and read with my coffee, worked on a blog post, then got down to work. I rapidly cranked out a bunch of tasks.
Something felt different, but familiar. It was like, like …. I mentally squinted, trying to figure out what the heck that sensation was.
Finally it came to me.
I felt normal.
This year, the past 13 months, I’ve not been normal. Every day something was off-kilter or stressful or downright frightening. For large parts of every day, and sometimes the whole day and night, I was in a fog or depressed or anxious. I fought to hang onto reality; as recently as last week I endured long hours when that grasp was frail as a thread.
This week, something shifted. It was so huge that it felt planetary.
I’ve slept through the night with nothing stronger than mint tea. I’ve awakened looking forward to each day. I’ve made plans of what I needed to accomplish, and completed the list. I’ve exercised, read, written my blog posts, cooked good meals.
The biggest change is that I could get my work done. I didn’t stare at the screen and then turn away because I couldn’t solve the problem. I didn’t feel stupid. I didn’t feel terrified that I’d lost all my professional abilities.
I’m no longer pushing a Sisyphean boulder uphill.
In everyday activities, I’m feeling calm instead of frantic. I’m not rushing through the day grabbing at fragments of time. I feel like the world is moving at a normal pace.
It’s been a whole week.
I just kept going. And finally my brain has righted itself.
I thank my grandma Alma’s booties. I have thought of her every day in this trying time in my life. Her story is in me. She is what I’m made of.
I thank my Dad for that. He gave me this blog, and it helped keep me sane.
I thank Tom, who was steady for me even when he couldn’t walk.
I thank my brain surgeon Dr. Daniel Barrow, who told me that my brain was fixed and he was right, because he fixed it.
I thank my friend Paul, who reassured me when I desperately needed it. Exactly one year ago, he wrote to me,
As frustrating and difficult as this is, the good news is that in months (be patient young grasshopper, MONTHS not days) this is going to be a LOT better. … You are going to be in a much better place by next Christmas.
He was right. Despite everything else that happened this year, I am in a much, much better place than last Dec. 17.
I’m so normal that I put up a Christmas tree.
I’m in a state of normaltree.
Today’s penny is a 2015. The beginning of the year that wasn’t normal.