Peace and Lexapro
Somebody sent me a link to the New York Times article about Seasonal Affective Disorder. I've had this problem all my life but it didn't have a name until a few years ago. Maybe this post will help somebody.
I start to go downhill when the dread Christmas season begins; houses festooned with twinkling lights might as well be decorated with cobwebs, evil clowns, and Bride of Chuckie waving a knife as far as I'm concerned. I hit bottom around Valentine's Day. I'm back to speed by St. Patrick's Day and slightly manic by the end of June.
When my kids were little, I self-medicated by eating and reading: one year I lay in bed for most of January reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's entire oeuvre.
S.A.D. is not my only problem, I've always been jittery. When I was in high school, kids used to sneak in the door of my homeroom and tap me on the shoulder just to see me jump. I got an astrological reading from Stephen Forrest once; he said "you were born freaked out."
Then there was a pretty bad decade - I divorced my husband, got into an awful relationship, eight trees fell on my house during Hurricane Fran and crushed the roof, my dad died, my beloved aunt died. On New Year's Eve 1999 I had to have a tooth crowned and, miserably alone and woozy with Novocaine that night, I just laughed: "Next year has GOT to be better."
The next year, 2000, my son Zed was diagnosed with brain cancer. So much for prognostication.
I come from a long line of extremely eccentric women and fear following in their footsteps. So I'm glad I finally found a way to dig out of the hole. After trying herbal remedies and a lightbox (that helped a little), what really did the trick was Lexapro.
Now, as the shadows lengthen in November, one day I'll I notice myself muttering "NOTHING IS WRONG!" quietly but audibly as I push my cart in the grocery store; then it's time to start taking Lexapro. The dark fog I used to call Dread gradually lifts, I sleep better, I'm not as jumpy or despairing. When the days get long again in early spring, I quit the Lexapro.
When I started Pratie Place, Zed was getting ready to go to college and I was anticipating the Empty Nest Syndrome. I thought a blog might sop up some of my anxiety. It did - when I woke in the middle of the night I wrote in order to forestall pointless obsessing.
Somebody actually made fun of me for writing too often - "I can't keep up," she complained.
Once Zed was in college and my worries for him had subsided, I realized I needed more creative outlets in my life. A friend turned me on to the "Artist's Way" and I started writing "morning pages" every day - it's been more than a year and I'm still writing in a series of journals which have led me to painting (how thrilled I am to enjoy it even though I'm so lousy), studying Yiddish and Spanish, reviving a musical partnership with Bob, and a number of other things which all take time and make me happy.
When I was lying in bed late this morning (7:45) and just - feeling good - I remembered the therapist my ex-husband sent me to when he felt I needed to be fixed. This therapist said, when I complained of sadness: "But artists are supposed to be unhappy." Do you agree with that? What a conundrum! If I were jittery and miserable would that be better?
Have you noticed how many more songs there are about heartbreak and sorrow than there are about being happy? In my opinion it's because happy people have less motivation to write songs.
To be continued some other time, perhaps...
Technorati Tags: Lexapro, Depression, Anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder