Last week my partner in crime went away to a huge festival (named pensic) where they took the kids and dressed in “garb” and carried money around in a leather pouch and observed battles in the company of others who like to do these things. Because this vacation involved other people and groups of other people who join in medieval role play, and because it involved sleeping outside in tents, I declined to join them.
Before they left, I made several contingency plans for things to do if I got really really sad and lonely. I didn’t have to rely on any of these contingencies!
When I went back to therapy on Monday, my therapist observed that I looked amused and surprised by how well my last week had gone. I do find it slightly amusing and very surprising when I’m not suicidal. I think most people who struggle with long term health problems or mental health issues develop this capacity to be pleasantly surprised by ordinary functioning. I haven’t cried yet today. In light of the world we live in and where I was emotionally a few weeks ago, that’s good news. At the same time, we are aware that normal functioning isn’t something to be surprised by – so we remain a little apart from it, as if it is someone else’s life that is converging on ours.
Knowing someone – my partner – who spends most days not crying and doesn’t quite understand the range of struggles I deal with internally, I do understand that wanting to live isn’t this hard for most people. But it has always been this hard for me. So the not wanting to die is a nice change, not something to count on for sure, but a pleasant surprise.