Wednesday, September 21, 2016

As My 36th Year Comes To a Close

As my 36th year comes to a close, I'm faced with a range of feelings. First, there's the idea of getting older, which normally I don't mind particularly, but my 37th feels a bit rough. I think it's the whole "getting into my late 30's" (aka approaching 40) thing. Partly because I'm quickly approaching probably already past the age where I think "Man, I really should have my shit together by now, WTF happened?" Plus, particularly for women, as you creep into your late 30s you realize that, at least in certain arenas, time isn't necessarily on your side. For instance, my therapist recently asked me if anyone in my family had gone into early menopause (!!!). Which was actually a fair question, since anxiety can manifest itself in symptoms such as feeling hot/flushed/sweaty, dizziness, etc. She was trying to rule out other medical possibilities before she addressed what seems to have been worsening anxiety. Then my OBGYN gracefully told me, in nicer terms of course, that I'm no spring chicken as far as fertility is concerned, and if I want to have a biological child I should probably get a move on it. Again, when one is childless, hopes to still have a family, and 37, this isn't a huge shock, especially given that I have to go through the whole process of weaning off meds, which is kind of a crapshoot time-wise in that I have no idea how I'll adjust and this could cause setbacks. But I think it's the fact that these question's weren't unreasonable that got me. I can't say "Well, they're just being a dramatic, I have plenty of time for that!" I may, but I really don't know.

On the flip side, year 36 was a year of getting myself (a little more) settled. After the passing of my beloved Cinn a year ago, and a couple of months of mourning, I realized being dog-less simply wasn't for me, and I adopted Gracie. She's my wacky, funny, cuddly, overly enthusiastic three-year old pup that, despite not even having for a year, I can't imagine not living with. Our relationship is very different than mine and Cinn, but that's to be expected - if it were the same, she'd always be living in Cinn's shadow.  But she's so different, so unique - hairy elbows and all - that I can't even possibly compare them. And she's full of youth and excitement that keeps me on my toes and challenges me, which can be difficult, but also helps me from ever becoming complacent.

Last December, I went on a first date with a man that I had known a little, but not super well, in high school. We'd not kept in touch, but reconnected via a mutual friend on Facebook, and it has changed my life. In him, I have found the most understanding, loving, patient partner and best friend. Life with a mental health condition is not easy, and yet he knew all about it going in. He'd read much of my blog before he'd even asked me on date. The fact that he has not run away screaming, that we are actually planning a future together, to me is not much short of a miracle.

Shortly before Christmas last year, I bought a condo in Philly and I moved in at the beginning of April. After almost 10 years of renting, being a home owner again is a big change. My walled thinks so too. But in all seriousness, it's nice to feel that it's mine. It feels settled, and when you have a brain that is decidedly not, having grounding, settled pieces in your life is a huge help.

 So I approach this birthday with a mix of emotions. Mostly though, I feel lucky. I battle a good amount of crap with my brain, but I also have watched friends and loved ones battle much more. I have a loving family, partner, dog. I have a home, and a job (two, actually). And while I'm not one of those people tout positive thoughts and gratefulness as the cure-all, because they often aren't particularly possible when depression and anxiety rear their ugly heads, I am feeling thankful as I write this. I hope that in year 37, I can take this feeling of settling down (not settling, there's a big difference), stabilizing my life as much as I can, and continue to move forward with it. To all who have been with me through this incredibly topsy turvey ride of a year, thank you. I don't think I would have made it without you.

The only "family photo" we have to date. 


  1. I met you on a tweetchat and have checked out your wonderfully honest blog. First of all, happy birthday!! Savor each year, and turning 40 isn't so bad. When I was treated for breast cancer in my 30s, the chemotherapy put me into early menopause. I adopted a baby girl. I found my way. However you decide to build your family is your call, your reality. Hang in there. As you say, you have many great things going for you. Your pup is adorable!

    1. Thank you Beth. And I'm sorry to hear all you've gone through. Yes, there are numerous ways to start a family. The best one for me will work out and I need to focus on that. Thank you for reading!