The Emptiness In Me: Outside the Cave

(This is a follow-up to September’s post, “The Emptiness in Me.” If you haven’t read it, go back and do so, as this post may not make much sense without it…)

So. The insurance issue was resolved in a weird way. They ultimately denied my appeal on a ridiculous technicality (because of course they did), but left the claim in the hands of my employer to make a final decision. Fortunately, they did the right thing, and in mid-October, right before Merrimack, I was paid for missed wages. With that weight off my chest, I was free to truly relax, and have done so these last couple of weeks. Our short trip to Boston for the Merrimack festival was part of that relaxation.

Last week, I had a follow-up appointment with my psychiatrist. The medication is in full swing, and I can say I haven’t felt this clear-headed and focused in a very long time. Hell, maybe I’ve never felt this focused and clear-headed. It’s sort of like putting on glasses for the first time, when all that blurriness goes away and the world sharpens with clarity. Things that used to stress me out simply aren’t anymore. When I was at Merrimack, surrounded by all those people, I didn’t feel anxious or panicked anymore. I took everything in stride. Granted, the social interaction took its toll this past week, leaving me feeling exhausted for a few days, but I imagine the 7+ hour drives to and from Boston had something to do with that.

Anyway, my doctor cleared me to return to work on a part-time basis for the next four weeks. If all goes well, I can resume full-time work after my next follow-up in November.

Yeah. Returning to work. Where things aren’t good. In fact, based on conversations with friends in the workplace, things have only deteriorated more in my absence.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not nervous, but at the same time, I’m not pacing the halls or losing sleep over it, either. I’m honestly looking forward to seeing a few folks when I return tomorrow. And the knowledge that it’s only half-days for a few weeks is also a relief. It’s nice knowing that I can ease my way back into the job.

It’s still a weird feeling, going back. I’ve been gone since August 1st, sleeping without a schedule or alarm clock, spending my days with the cats. I feel like a hermit emerging from his cave to see the sun. Looking back on the last two months, I’ve had a lot of time to myself, to think on my emotions or lack thereof, my lack of energy, my hopes, goals, dreams, and so on. This new perspective afforded me by antidepressants has allowed me to see more of what I want, and more importantly, how to obtain it. I feel invigorated by this. Driven, even.

In summary, I feel somewhat whole again. The emptiness is still there–it will always be there–but it’s smaller. There’s more of me now. And it’s time to get back to work.