Lala was SO sweet to me last night. I was in a terrible mood, grumpy and on the edge of tears all evening. All she did all night was try to make me feel better. She offered to drive in the rain and dark to a friend fifteen miles away to borrow a couple of pills for me (I’ve run out of my SSRIs due to a shipping snafu – hopefully I’ll get them in the mail today – if not, I’ll go wait in line at Kaiser). She offered to go get ice cream. Wait, a minute, maybe she was just trying to get away. I wouldn’t blame her. I wanted to get away from me, too.
And it makes me realize (again), how debilitating depression is. I had this moment with Mom when she was sick. She had severe dementia for about three days as the calcium flooded her blood, and I wondered how can people watch their loved ones go through Alzheimer’s. It was unbearable.
In the same way, me with my low–grade, treatable depression – I realize when I’m low that being clinically depressed or having major depression is like nothing I can even imagine. I’m not trying to compare anything here – emotions and brain chemistry are exactly individual. But I feel deep, desperate empathy for those suffering interminably. My depression is and always has been driven directly by hormones. My hormones are out of whack, and the SSRI helps with the lifting up of serotonin or whatever it is that makes me feel better. I tried diet, exercise, and meditation when it landed on me five years ago after my hysterectomy, and the only thing that helped was the anti-depressant – it made me feel normal. (That and it helps hot flashes, which is great, as I grew back an ovary after full hysto and am now going through SECOND menopause at 45 – allergic to estrogen and phytoestrogens. Right now, 3 days off my medicine, and the hot flashes are fifteen minutes apart. I’m about to give birth to the sun.)
But I have that option for my depression. One little pill can make me feel normal. Not happy or sedated or perked up. Just normal. I hate that everyone doesn’t have that option.
Again, I’m stuck staring into the fact that I’m so incredibly privileged, in every way, and instead of dodging guilt about it, I’m just going to allow myself to feel gratitude for it.
I’m grateful that I have health–care. That there is a rug beneath my feet that I can sink my toes into. That my dogs are cute. That I have a passion for my work. I’m so grateful for Lala.
And for coffee. Always, for the coffee. (I’m back on it. One cup (sometimes two) a day. It’s amazing. I’ll probably give it up again at some point for health reasons, but right now, the coffee is in my life and DAMN, is it delicious.)