NEOWISE is still visible in my part of the world. When something comes around once in a lifetime, you have two choices – be like Lin-Manuel Miranda and not throw away your shot, or miss out.
5 years ago today, I was tattooed with my semicolon butterfly. My first tattoo. Representing so much.
What do tattoos and comets have to do with each other?
Well, before the tattoo I was sick. So sick I wasn’t sure I would survive. So mentally ill that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t.
I was scared all of the time. I was terrified to go out for dinner with friends. I was afraid to let anyone else drive me anywhere. I needed to know where every single washroom was before I left my house. My beautiful friend planned running routes with public washrooms on them, so I would feel at ease. I nearly lost that friend, due to my reluctance to understand that mental anguish does not have to be a way of life. Fear didn’t have to be in control.
5 and a half years ago, I would have missed seeing NEOWISE, because in the middle of the night, where there would not be easy access to a public washroom, I would not have been able to bring myself to go. I would have told myself I would see another comet one day, and it was fine. I would have thrown away my shot, and cried. I planned my life in 30 minute intervals, and left no room to relax. I couldn’t relax because relaxing let the fear seep back in.
5 years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and a generalized anxiety disorder. 12 years ago I had postpartum depression. 20 years ago I was in one of my first major depressive episodes.
Today? Today, I proudly take the antidepressants, and do yoga, and talk about my problems, and seek therapy, and breathe. Today, I share my pain because bottling it in a vacuum feeds it. Because maybe just one other person will feel less alone.
Maybe one more person will get to see their comet.
NEOWISE is still visible where I live tonight. Thanks to family, friends, doctors, and medications like Cymbalta and Amitryptaline, I am here to see it.