So, here's (one of) the thing(s) that's been bugging me ever since I officially got my "Depressive disorder not otherwise specified" diagnosis.
How will I know when I'm better?
"Oh, you'll know. One day you'll know," people tell me. Y'know, just like they said I'd definitely know when I was in labor with BG. Ahem.
"You'll feel like you again."
But which me will I be exactly?
Will I be the me that wore penguin socks and a fluffy pink tiara to teach Antigone to tenth graders and made everyone do spirit fingers every time they saw a tragic flaw? Who pretended to be so sick I had to leave school when I had to meet with my principal to discuss an observation during which my eighth graders had been bouncing off the walls? Who ate lunch in my classroom with crying students almost every day? Who was overwhelmed by papers and ducked emails from parents wanting to know why that essay from January wasn't graded yet? Who went to happy hour and talked about nothing but my students because I didn't know what else adults talked to each other about?
Will I be the me who lived in the tiny apartment with my grad student fiance, substituting to keep the bills paid, going to the library every week to get a new book to keep me busy? Who made my own bread and salad dressing and ketchup and read The Tightwad Gazette cover to cover? Who went to the gym and got a CSA vegetable basket and planned a wedding and didn't have any friends in the whole state of Indiana?
Will I be the me who read a book on the bus on my way back to my campus apartment so I didn't have to make eye contact with anyone? Who made excuses and gracefully demurred when invited out for drinks by classmates and then regretted it? Who stole a wet floor sign and ate too many chicken nuggets while watching Star Wars with her roommates on Valentines Day? Who loved words and college and getting A's and wondered all the time if maybe she wasn't doing it right?
Will I be the me who stayed up way past when her parents thought she was asleep, scribbling bad poems with convoluted and paradoxical lines like "I can't see because of the light" which I thought were both fresh and deep? Who did my friend's algebra homework in the cafeteria because I knew her mom had had chemo the night before? Whose friends threw me a thank you party just for being me, and pitched in and paid for my yearbook when I didn't realize I needed cash? Who skipped breakfast and lunch every day for years just because no one was telling me not to?
And the me who is sitting here right now, with my laptop in my lap, Daniel Tiger on the TV, a baby on my boob, a three year old wearing a candy necklace laying on my shoulder wonders what exactly it would even look like to be me again, knows that none of those things are things I could even go back to if I wanted to. I just don't know who exactly I'll be.
Maybe I'll be someone better.