Sunday, July 30, 2006


So. I've turned 35. 35 feels like the gateway to middle age.

I spent my actual birthday first getting up at 7 and tiptoeing out of the house for coffee at Fuel, by myself. That done, I walked to my yoga studio. I did all kinds of radiant poses and one headstand.

Later that night, M took me to see The Raconteurs. It was not the hottest night of the year (that was last Saturday when I went to see The Long Winters at an un-air-conditioned Neumo's), but you wouldn't know that because we were seated in the sweltering second tier balcony.

The Raconteurs delivered a good, old-fashioned rock show. I loved it. I just wish I could have been closer. The first thing I love about Jack White is his music, but the second thing I love about him are his teeth. Standing so near to the domed ceiling, I didn't have a chance to see his teeth. But I could still feel his madness.

Are you wondering why I'm babbling about all this stuff I don't normally babble about?

Well, I need to give it all a rest. I am not currently depressed. After the last episode, my doc upped me to 40 mgs of citalopram and that has cheered me considerably. Plus, I'm tired of writing about these matters.

This means I also have limited enthusiasm for the blog right now.

But I have lots of enthusiasm for other things. Yes, Other Things. The rest of the whole wide world. Could this be health?

I'd like to think so. But I have noticed that during these peak periods I feel like I'll never be sick again. I start making plans to get off the meds, consider cancelling therapy, etc. Inevitably, I either crash or take a nice curve back to a normal state. I'm hoping for the nice curve. The last crash wasn't so long ago.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Motherhood as a Risk Factor

This just in:

“The single highest known situational risk factor for depression is being a homemaker caring for small children, a condition that increases a woman’s vulnerability to depression by two and one-half times.”

And there’s more:

“That’s not too surprising, since caring for children is a high-stakes job with many competing and conflicting demands, little predictability, no breaks, no pay, isolation from adult company, and no genuine societal appreciation of its importance.”

That’s all I’m saying.

[Quotes from When Words Are Not Enough; The Women’s Prescription for Depression and Anxiety, by Valerie Davis Raskin, MD]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Little Bit Spiritual

“I am becoming a little bit spiritual, which I’m sure is not a side effect Eli Lilly reports in its literature on Prozac.”
From Prozac Diary by Lauren Slater

I read this line and smile to myself. I remember when I started taking Paxil in January, I noticed a calming effect and a new ability to float. It was Zen, the way I could just notice something lovely like, say a robin hopping on the lawn, and think, “How lovely.” Gone were the cobwebs in front of my eyes, gone was the heart-pounding feeling that I should be noticing this more, feeling it more. A bird! I should be exclaiming to myself, like Walt Whitman. Is there nothing more perfect than this bird, this moment? On Paxil, I didn’t have to dredge up the appreciation. It was there, and then, like the bird, gone. There was no problem.
This is the relief I feel when the medicine is working. The pain is gone. I am almost a normal functioning person. At least normal enough, for me, to do my life. I can do all that I really need to do. I can write, and take care of my children, and have a relationship with my husband, and see friends, and read, be interested in the world, and keep the minimum requirements as mistress of this house.
My illness placed a scrim over my vision, and a levee around my heart. What I can feel, now drugged on appropriate levels of serotonin, are things like synchronicity. Fleeting beauty. Direct connection between the sun and my soul, my child’s eyes and my heart. Zap. Zing. Ah. It’s not operatic ecstasy, it’s life as good as anyone could want it.
In Prozac Diary, Lauren Slater finds she can enjoy sipping a latte for the first time in her 26 years. Rocking in a rocking chair, just for its own sake, is pleasurable. A former anorexic, depressive, and sufferer of OCD, she grows very suspicious of this ability she suddenly has to contact the beauty of daily life. She asks:

“What does it mean, for instance, that my burgeoning contemplative bent does not come directly from God but from Prozac? Might this mean that Prozac is equal to God? What an awful, awful thought. So turn it around. Primitive cultures often use drugs as a means of accessing their gods. That’s better. Maybe Prozac is to the modern world what peyote is the to Indians.”

As I feel myself as more healthy, I can feel other things, too. It’s as if I have gotten out of my own way, and oh, what a beautiful morning! If this isn’t “real,” I don’t care.
But it is real. I’ve been here before.