Tuesday, October 6, 2009

B*$ch is Crazy

The morning after my Junior Prom, my parents locked me in the basement. They told me I would iron my clothes and read "How to Make Friends and Influence People." They told me I would be happy.

In their defense, I had spent the weeks prior to this monumental event, sulking in my room playing a mixed tape of music I had put together for such a self-indulgent undertaking as mourning the inability to find a date for the prom, when the only person I really wanted to go with was my black boyfriend/best-friend who was too freaked out to go to my all white suburban high school dance. That and I was locked in the basement for this 'intervention' because above us our carpets were being cleaned.

They were worried, as any good parents would be, and freaked out that their only child was such an angst-filled mess and not just because of prom.

What they didn't know at the time was that they had a lot of rough years ahead of them. Life throw out a series of unexpected and incomprehensible events. Mixed tapes were the least of their worries.

Almost a year ago, I woke up and realized I wasn't dealing with anything. For the first time in over five years, I wasn't addressing, dealing, coping or recovering from anything. I was just living and I was just fine.

It was at that time that I decided to try anti-depressants. It seems like the majority of my family has dealt and/or struggled with some form of depression and for years I rebelled against their advice persuading me to try something, anything to help me deal with the common heaviness we share.

I was always adamant against medication, partly out of youth, partly because I didn't want to take something in lieu of dealing with the crap hand life kept giving me.

And then one day I was fine. Just fine. And yet the weight that I had always carried, the lead blanket, it was still there. So I decided to give meds a whirl.

I didn't tell anyone and I just did it. And I felt good but I was never really sure if it was the meds or the fact that my life had suddenly gotten a lot less complicated.

A couple of weeks ago I stopped taking my medication - not because I didn't think I needed it but sadly, because I ran out and I was too busy and distracted to go get my prescription refilled.

Yep. I am a smart girl.

At first, I didn't even notice. I had been so happy, I barely paid attention to the correlation with my medication. But after a couple of weeks I started to get that sludgy feeling again. I figure at that point the meds were working their way out of my system. That and there was an office wide case of mega-pms.

I eventually made time to get a prescription refill but not before waiting so long that I could once again experience life without medication and realize that the shitty feeling that started to overtake me was the exact feeling I had struggled with my whole life - and the exact feeling I hadn't experienced in a year.

And in that time, I was still me. I was just me without the extra pounds of emotional weight.

My dad and I joked on the phone about my realization that I will probably be on this for the rest of my life and that as much as I hate it, it is really no different than a diabetic needing insulin to live.

"So how much is it?" my dad asked.

"Four bucks a month."

"FOUR BUCK! You are telling me that all those years your mother and I spent listening to you cry and sob on the phone, we could have avoided all that for four dollars a month?!?"

"Yep." I joked. He and I know both know it would never have been that easy but the laughter makes it easier to acknowledge. This is who I am. This is the road I have gone down. And I have help for the future. Not a free pass but help.

I can live with one pill a day. It is a hell of a lot easier than the alternative.

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