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When I live October, I wrap myself with more tea, fresh flowers, long walks. When I live October, I collect the air; and though this October is different, I breathe in and let myself be. With my complications, with my qualities and the isms that I carry inside.

A few Octobers ago, maybe four or five, I decided I wanted to make a change in my health. After four years of taking what I called “happy pills”, I decided that I didn’t need to take them anymore.

The “happy pills”, or antidepressants, helped me through a difficult time in my late teens, though with them came a set of insecurities. They gave me the strength, however, to continue taking steps in my recovery, including learning to process and express my inner life.

I recovered relatively quickly, though not without complications. After going through a stable time, and perhaps when my mind began to ask me for the next stage in life, I decided that I was ready. I thought it through. I knew that the lack of “happy pills” would not make me stronger. It isn’t of the cowardly to take them and it isn’t of the brave to let them go. But I wanted to try it. With careful thought, advice and guidance, I did.

Years later, I see that letting go of the pills is not what has made me a stronger person. It was the right move for me, but it isn’t the indicator of growth. What has made me stronger is taking care of my thoughts. How do I live the ups? How do I live the downs? I have felt fear and anger. But I also have felt peace and joy.

I’m still learning to take care of myself. To give myself time, to let myself rest. I’m still learning to let go. To be more honest, to love myself and let myself be loved. Whole, not in parts. In process, not in secret.

And I continue to live October, remembering who I was and paying attention to who I am.