I’m not going to give you any bull shit here. I am not my natural happy self all the time. In fact, I can be a real bitch. (no comment James) My favorite question from the husband, ‘why are you so crabby, did you forget to take your pill?’ Back off asshole! I’m crabby because you load the dishwasher like a drunk monkey that is blind and you can’t seem to remember that your clothes go in your closet and not on our bathroom floor!
As I was saying…
I take prozac. Just a small dosage. It’s called Sarafem. It’s for PMDD. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. (I know guys, I lost you at premenstrual…)
I seriously don’t know how I would function without it. And I want to tell you my story so you don’t feel bad about yourself, or guilty, or inadequate or whatever fucked up guilt trip you can place that most of us moms/women do to ourselves.
About 10 years ago my good friend Julie died of breast cancer. She was 41. It was in the gloomy post holiday month of January and I couldn’t seem to get a grip on life. Emma was not quite 2 years old and I stayed home with her, like I have done since the day she was born and still do for my kids. I had never lost anyone close to me. Not a peer anyway. Every day felt like PMS. Every day felt gloomy and lonely, especially home with a toddler where I had no interaction with adults accept for reruns of the Golden Girls and Oprah. My doctor put me on Sarafem which is for PMDD. Like PMS, but different. (Sort of a personality disorder, personality being- you are a bitch no matter what and you can’t blame PMS for it)
Thankfully the little dose of seratonin each day helps keep my chemicals in a happy balance. I am primarily a positive person. I stay cheerful for my children, my spouse and my friends. I don’t like to wallow. But there’s days, maybe weeks, I feel sorry for myself. And then I feel sorry for myself for being so lousy about feeling sorry for myself! I know there’s other people who have it worse, who live with cancer, who lost their job, who have addiction, whose spouse is overseas serving our country, or whatever else that burdens them. But my bad days are MY bad days. So I let myself have one or two, then slap myself across the face (sort of) and say pull yourself together.
And go buy a new handbag. Just kidding James. Sort of. Not really. Usually lipstick. Or shoes. Mostly lipstick…
My point is, I think we need to be honest about our bad days. What are we ashamed of? Who are we fooling?
Do whatever you can to help yourself. Seriously.
A woman in my neighborhood 3 years ago, shot and killed herself while home with her 4 little children. She was manically depressed. I always thought she was happy, managing her household of little kids. I was wrong. Every now and then, if she had said to anyone in the neighborhood, “please excuse me if you hear me yelling at my kids, they are pissing me off…or, sorry if I haven’t changed my clothes in 2 days, I am so exhausted that I can’t see straight”, then maybe she still would be with us and her children. Maybe she would’ve had that release of, ‘I’m flawed, and that’s okay.’ Although I think she had more mental baggage than just that. But I still think of all of us women in that boat of ‘how did the day go by and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet or organized the pantry shelves’, kind of day.
Another story comes from my cousin who found her best friend hanging from a rope. Another suicide, another depression. My childhood friend shot herself last spring. Depression, suicide.
Folks. When a woman talks about her depression or her medications for it, don’t tell her she’s weak for relying on something to make her ‘normal’. Don’t say that you would ‘never’ take something that alters yourself to be a functioning person. Those statements are so nauseatingly inaccurate, it makes my head spin. Depression is the evil beast that alters you. Not the medicine.
Of course there’s the argument of when people stop their meds, change their meds or certain side effects of meds that do alter their thinking. That is another discussion for another day.
All I can think of is the 8 children I already know without a mother. Will you tell them it’s a weakness to take a prescription for their mental health?
Do you tell diabetics they are pathetic for taking insulin? They should just change their diet, is that it?
If you haven’t figured out already, I’m pleading to us all to be more understanding, to not judge, to not say you’d ‘never’ do something when you haven’t walked a mile in someone’s shoes.
So I just wanted you to know, nobody is perfect,especially me. Maybe when we peel back the layers, take down the walls, we can accept each other and ourselves with whole hearts. Why do we punish ourselves, –there’s a whole lot of therapy in that answer. But start with loving yourself, and just go from there. Easier said than done, I know. But it will spread like pond ripples I am sure.