This morning, in between telling TheHusband to continue smacking the snooze button so I didn’t have to quite get up, I watched the sun rise from our bed. Half propped up on pillows, for about 45 minutes I just watched the sky change from brilliant red to a deep orange to a medium pink and finally fading into lemonade yellow. I thought of nothing as I watched but I was also struggling between being fully awake and the call of dreamland and our fantastically cozy bed. When I was close to being 100% lucid, I enjoyed the spectacular sight that was ever changing in my window until I had to absolutely, positively had to get out of bed.
Ages ago when I was hopping on and off Weight Watchers, I remember in the beginning one of the section leaders giving a lecture about personal love. Not just sexually, but remembering as we struggle with our challenges, regardless of what they are, to always do something for ourselves which can be as tiny as reading in a hot bath with favorite scent in the water to buying a new THING or could be on a much grander scale, like a trip or a large purchase.
The point being is to always remember to love you.
A few years later when I started dialectical behavioral therapy, much of the same concept applied — you need to create a room, a space, a THING to soothe you to bring you back from the edge of whatever it was you were feeling frantic about. This is kind of the underlying architecture of DBT, with the idea of changing one little thing and creating a safe haven for yourself can create a whole new world.
This is something I think everyone struggles with regardless of the state of their mental health; the ability to actually say to themselves in the mirror, “I love you.” And mean it.
The weekend had a potential, much potential, which at least gave me some breath of hope. I’m now on day 4 of no Lithium and so far, I feel okay. The worst of the side effects, with the Lithium and the tapering off, have passed. I don’t feel like I’m floating, face up, under water as much as I have been. Even if the days are not extraordinary, the more the drugs are emptied from me, the more hope for them to become extraordinary increases.
I’ve started collecting moments of the day to create touchstones to reach back to when things start getting rough. Watching the sun rise in bed, smiling randomly at a stranger, a particular outfit that works well, or writing a random note to someone just because. If I create a fortress of these touchstones, then nothing can stop me as I battle this disease, this taker of life.
And I will win.