Winter. Seasonally appropriate. Minor inconvenience. Eventually melts. Fun to skate on, not fun to drive on. A part of life.
Cold. Harsh. Bleak. Endless. Colorless. Lifeless.
Dreamy. Beautiful. Shiny. Perfect.
— __ — __ —
It’s just ice. It’s the same picture of ice, the exact same picture edited four different ways. Thus, it’s viewed a bit differently each time. From the normal to the black and bleak to the faded and dreamy to the bold and dramatic — it’s still just ice.
Like these photos, it’s easy to look at whatever I’m living through at any given moment in different ways.
“This is the way things are right now. These are the facts. There’s good. There’s bad. It is what it is.”
“This will never end. There is no hope in sight.”
“This will result in something absolutely amazing and perfect and wonderful.”
“This is obviously the worst thing ever and we are doomed.”
And it’s all the same thing.
It depends on how I look at it, how I frame my view, how I put my life skills into action and edit the situation at hand. I’m prone to a realistic if not slightly optimistic point of view. “Well, it is what it is, but wouldn’t it be lovely if there was a rainbow around the corner?” When my anxiety creeps in and I neglect to keep it in check, the view shifts a bit. “Well, it is what it is, and I’m pretty sure the way it is will never end.” If I fail to get that anxiety in check for awhile, things shift again. “It is what it is and we’re obviously all doomed.”
Last year, things shifted a few times. I blamed my back for the heightened anxiety, the negative thoughts that I faced at every corner, at every decision, at every hour I woke up throughout the night. After my back treatment, I was able to get active again and I thought, “Maybe I’ll start to feel better mentally now that I’m feeling better physically.” And I did. A little bit. But the truth is that no one should look at any given situation and feel like the only way that it could possibly be better would be to just walk away, forever; to disappear over the hills and never be heard from or seen again.
Things got a little bleak there for awhile, like the black and white photo.
It took me awhile to see that even though I was back on a path toward physical wellness, I needed to do a few more things to get fully back to me, to feeling like myself. It took me awhile to admit it to myself, even longer to discuss it with my loving, supportive husband, and even longer still to make a visit to my doctor. It’s probably vain to admit, but I didn’t want to go to the doctor and be put on a medication that would reverse the hard work toward reclaiming my body and figure. Yes, I put off going to the doctor because I didn’t want to gain weight; I’m obviously not perfect.
A few months into being back on anti-anxiety medication, I feel pretty good. For almost a month, I went to bed around 9:00 in the evening; I was exhausted. Calm, but exhausted. Slowly, that wore off and it’s like I woke up from a long sleep.
I see the ice as it is again. Shiny, but real. Beautiful, and seasonally appropriate. This ice will melt; this too shall pass. I breathe, I write, I photograph, I sit. I still yell at the dog because she’s a puppy and, goodness gracious!, she just wants to be where I am. I still snap at my children because they’re children and, well, they seem to have inherited my volume and love of talking and apparent stubbornness. I still occasionally tick off my husband because he is him and I am me and we are we, stubborn together. But I survived Christmas Day without an anxiety attack — my first in probably a decade. It was nice; I’d like to do it again sometime.
I like when ice is ice, when I can see the realistic beauty in the world and not second guess everything, second guess myself. I like feeling normal again, not thinking to myself, “Normal people don’t think these things, do they?” I like breathing, feeling, settling down with myself without fear of everything and nothing at the same time.
I am enjoying the act of enjoying winter — life, love, family, friends, work, everything — again.