Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Better Living Through Chemistry
It's been a long time since I've been on any form of psychoactive drugs. And I'm not even talking about the fun stuff that afterschool specials are made from, I mean antidepressant, antianxiety, generally make-your-brain-run-smoother type meds. A few choice chemicals helped me through some bad times in my adolescence and early 20s, but ever since being inflicted with motherhood and family life, I've had this weird, happy-type feeling. Almost like life was pretty good, or something.

There were a few dark periods, most especially about a year after Jacob's birth (when I wouldn't take meds because I was all up on the breastfeeding-no-chemicals thing, which I recognize was ill-advised but stuck through it anyway) and then again from early 2006 for several months after I dealt with the fact that I'd effectively sold my career for the price of a healthy family. I'd make the same decision again now, but this time I'd find a way to somehow be insured and not broke, so that I could go through the resulting readjustments with a little help from my meds.

But now we come to, well, now. I'm not depressed, exactly; things are pretty good for me, I feel happy more days than not. But between Emily being at camp and the resulting junk that's bringing up for me, my dad being in limbo in a job he hates and waiting for a new one and newly single after a long, slow train-wreck of a relationship came to a grinding, clunking halt, Willem being something less than his usual sunshiney, rainbowy self while he studies and braces for his comprehensive exams, and a pile of other small but transient concerns, I'm stressing. I'm not sleeping much at all, and not well then, and I'm letting myself get roped into small petty arguments (Willem and I snarked about spaghetti sauce for 20 minutes this afternoon), and generally not liking me a whole lot.

So I took what, for me, is a huge step, and called my doctor, and tomorrow will pick up a 2-week supply of Ativan. An antianxiety drug that works with each dose you take, rather than needing 4-6 weeks to reach optimum blood levels a la antidepressants. By the end of next month, most of my biggest, pressing concerns will have faded. Sure, I understand, you irrepressible optimists out there: they could all be replaced by new, even bigger concerns. But I'm working on activating my inner Pollyanna here, okay?

I don't need to be perfect, with smooth edges and serenity of soul and perky breasts. I just want to be good enough, and right now, I'm not.