Ten years ago, I woke up Easter Sunday in Charleston, South Carolina, in my boyfriend’s bed following a night of wine, cigarettes, and brilliant conversation. I woke early because I needed to get to church.
Outside, on that humid morning, a congregation across the street was just about to begin its worship. Women in flowing spring dresses and huge, Southern hats milled about with handsome, suited husbands on their arms.
I attended church that Easter with a friend of mine because my boyfriend was agnostic at best but probably more of an atheist who thought it was super weird I went to church. (I did not marry this boyfriend; I actually met my husband five months later.)
I remember feeling nothing that Sunday morning. Easter, the cornerstone of my religious beliefs, felt like just another day. I think I might have even been bored during the service. The holiday came and went with zero fanfare.
That girl I was ten years ago? She feels like someone else. That entire life feels like a life that belonged to someone else. Scrolling through those memories is akin to watching an old movie—an old movie you didn’t even like.
Ten years ago, I was really unhappy in Charleston, South Carolina, despite the beautiful architecture, charming city, and rolling beaches nearby. Despite a boyfriend who thought I was beautiful and brilliant. I know I was unhappy then, and yet, I can look back now and not feel a damn thing.
Frankly, that girl from ten years ago isn’t me. I look at her now and ask, “Do I know you?” I know we met before, but I don’t recognize her. She is another life.
We live so many lives. I’m not talking about reincarnation. Over the span of how ever many years we get on this earth, we are so many different people. For me, there is college Sara. Bartender Sara. Sara in that relationship. Sara in Charleston. Sara in Phoenix. Sara after signing her first publishing deal.
Sara today, six weeks after starting Wellbutrin.
From October 2018 to March 2019, my depression was unmanageable. I was “barely there Sara.” Sara the ghost. Sara without laughter or joy. I tried the right things. I took care of myself physically. I sought therapy. I read self-help books and prayed. Nothing worked until my therapist suggested medication—something I once promised myself I would never do again. But I took her advice and started antidepressants.
In therapy this past Thursday, my therapist and I did more socializing than delving into issues … possibly because it felt like so many of my issues had disappeared. We both agreed: although there are some circumstantial things messing with my head, I have a chemical imbalance, and the Wellbutrin has given me back my smile, my energy, and a whole lot of peace.
That girl I was in March? She seems as far away now as that miserable woman from Easter ten years ago, and I feel okay letting both of these past lives go. The symbolism might be heavy, but like Jesus, I feel reborn. Like Frankenstein’s Creature, IT’S ALIVE! I know there will still be dark days because depression is an ambitious beast that continually creeps, but even the dark days might be a bit lighter.
Sometimes, a lifestyle change is necessary, but it looks like (for me), sometimes meds are necessary, too, as is letting go of things past. Let’s see what this new version of Sara gets up to.