Friday, January 18, 2008

Lexapro To the Rescue

Because apparently I never learn my lesson, I tivo’d Martha Stewart the other day. I want to like her, I really do. I respect her; I think she is smart and savvy and conversant in all matters home-related. Everything about her, abstractly, I like. But I hate her television show.

I don’t want to seem mean, but she is so stiff and awkward on TV. And sometimes her show just seems like a bragging vehicle for her. I tivo’d a show for the other day and yesterday I had a moment to watch it when the girls were sleeping. The episode opened with “Hi. Good Morning. Don’t you all look fantastic. Such a great audience. Nice. I have horses and uh I needed to uh get new blankets for them….” Scattered throughout are lots of nervous laughs and little you-know-what-I-mean smiles and her general awkwardness/stiffness. She has a sly way of bragging that is so sublime it seems like she is not bragging, like everyone talks about the things she talks about (yachting in Canne; yachting in Maine; watching her boyfriend take off in a shuttle to space).

She proceeds to talk in DETAIL about buying new blankets for her freaking horses. Because she is the most generous person in the world, she decides to donate her old blankets to needy horses (yes, there is a charity). The best part is, she ADMITS it was her stable manager’s idea, to donate, not hers. That was a mistake. She continues to talk about this for minutes and then trots out her stable manager and shows videos of her horses and lovely farm that will be getting her gift of old blankets that apparently aren’t good enough for her horses but are good enough for poor horses.

Martha flaunts her wealth all the time. Remember back in the 80s when there was Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? We actually needed that show, with its screaming, monotone British host Robin Leech, because people didn’t flaunt like they do today. Back then, we all had no idea what was going on behind the 14 carat ostentatious gold gates of people who had ridiculous money. So catching a glimpse of Joan Collins’ or Oleg Cassini’s or Ricardo Montalbon’s life was a thrill. He had a car phone and that was, like, the most outrageous thing in the world. She traveled on a private jet and that was the most decadent thing.

But now, with so much attention to the ultra wealthy and such ridiculous conspicuous consumption, nothing is shocking. That Cribs show, magazines, newspapers, internet, it all focuses so much on it. But show life in the projects or poverty and almost everyone turns the channel or flips the page and looks away. We stare at Maybachs but avert our glance when we see a homeless person. (I mean “we” in the “some people” sense, so I am not saying everyone is cold or heartless. It’s just too clunky to write in the “some people” paradigm.)

So it is kind of annoying when I have to sit through Martha and her stories about her Arabian horses and her [stable manager’s] generosity, as if donating ratty old blankets to poor horses is noble. And if they aren’t ratty and old then why is she buying new blankets? I just want to show me how to bake bread and make crafty things. I know I have a choice and I can choose to not watch the show, and I usually din’t, but I keep hoping maybe it will focus less on her Great Fabulous Life and more on what I want to see.

OK, diatribe over. Anyway, she wasn’t the most interesting thing about yesterday. I went to the doctor for my yearly physical, a two-hour event marked by the conspicuous absence of two little babies. It was my yearly physical, which I haven’t done in maybe 15 years. I promised myself that I would be more diligent about these sort of things (doctors’ appointments, health) so this was me being diligent.

My doctor is great and very, very attentive. She spent an hour in the room with me. An hour. She also wrote me a small stack of prescriptions. Most of them were for referrals: baseline mammogram, an ENT specialist to investigate my hearing issues, and a dermatologist to inspect a small cyst like thing that could be either be a single shingle or a reaction to my bruised tailbone (from pregnancy) or maybe (and I shudder to think) another pyogenic granuloma. Good times. This cyst thing is tiny but it has been on me since I was pregnant and has NOT grown, so I am hoping it is not the latter.

Blood work comes back in a week so I still feel this sense of boding. I hate going to the doctor. Hate it. I can’t separate the TTC experience from my general health experience anymore. So whenever I do blood work, I think back to beta hell. When I see a needle, I think of beta blood draws. And whenever I sit on those tables waiting for the doctor, I remember those interminable, insufferable waits for the REs for a sonogram or a follicle count or a D&C. Even the good moments in a RE office were tinged with such anxiety and heart-in-my-throat fear and dread. And because of my magical ability to extrapolate pain and frustration, I recall this dread every time I am wearing a gown opened to the front.

I went in for a prescription of ambien (hello, sweet sweet sleep) and walked out with a prescription for Lexapro (hello, goodbye melancholy). I have never been on any sort of antidepressant and I am excited. Is that an appropriate reaction?! I took one pill (half, actually) and I was running around thinking, do I feel different? Is anything happening? Do I feel any side effects? Yes, I thought maybe just maybe I would feel something within five minutes.

I have always had a sort of low-grade melancholy that exists just under the surface. This is what happens when you bury pain in a sloppy, not-really-dealing-with-it way. I do a pretty good job ignoring it but there are times when I just can’t. It’s a very strange thing: I am happier than I have ever been. I feel so lucky and fortunate and I am thankful every day for Nicole and the girls and my whole life. But that happiness, I don’t know how to describe it, but when I am happy it sort of makes what you are NOT happy about stick out like a fluorescent, pulsating, sore thumb. So those messy parts in life are glowing right now and have my full attention and distract me from my happiness. When I am depressed, everything sort of sucks so I don’t really focus on one thing. I don’t know if that makes sense.

I have been depressed before. Like really depressed, in scary ways. And I am definitely not in that place now, thank goodness. But for me, it’s like yo-yo depression. I’ll be happy for years, then sad for a while, back and forth, all my life. It’s been more happy than sad, all things considered, but there always is that sadness just below the surface. To an extent I get that this is normal, that life is hard and difficult and sad and marked with highs and lows, but the fact that I have experienced this yo-yo-ness since I was a child makes me think that maybe (hopefully) a little dose of serotonin is going to help. At the very least I hope it gets me through this slump which I still need to write about.

Pictured above, me showing Avery the joys of pulling your turtleneck up over your face. She isn’t loving it like I do. But how cute is that turtleneck? A hand-me-down from her cousin Leif.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Avery has skills. We have a lamp in their room that was broken. We figured it needed a new bulb. Normally it lives on their changing table, but because they like to twist to touch it and knock it over, and it is made of breakable marble so it will break we placed it on the floor until we figured out what was wrong with it. Yes, we thought maybe it would fix itself if we ignored it. Anyway, when my backed was turned Avery fixed it. I have no idea how. But suddenly the light was shining. I think we are going to have to get this one her very own tool belt and hammer.


Jen said...

Good for you. I hope it helps, and I hope that Avery learns the wonders that are turtlenecks! :)

Shelli said...

it took me about 2-3 weeks for my Lexapro to totally regulate. I'm on the lowest possible dose, and it's really been a life saver. I was So worried about all of the erm, side effects, but really? Not so much!

And I still feel things, and I still cry, and I still get anxious, just not so much in the totally gasping for air variety.

Mazal Tov!

K J and the kids said...

I think Martha Stewart is on the spectrum.
Good luck with those pills....I always said that everyone needed little pink pills :)

Melinda said...

Delurking to say that I see your Martha and raise you an Oprah. "Hi, I'm a role model to the poor and downtrodden -- now here's my list of Things You Must Own In Order To Be Happy, each of which costs over $500."

Also, I just got prescribed Lexapro on Monday. Like you, I've never been on anything before. I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of us. :)

nailgirl said...

I have been on celexa and I swear by it. Good luck. As for Martha..... Yeah she is stiff, you could freeze ice on her ass.

CD & SP said...

Prozac here--and yes, I was actually excited to start it. It made it possible for me to deal with the years of hard-core guilt and rejection from my family and start a new career and life with SP. Good luck!

CD & SP said...

Whoa, I totally did NOT mean prozac. No no. PAXIL! Sorry. I was on paxil, not prozac. Paxil, little pink, happy Paxil.

JAMs Wife said...

I hate the new format of the martha shows as well. I wish they would switch back to the prerecorded versions with no audience so they can edit out all of her silly comments.
It is great that you went to the doctor, it is so important that people ask for help when they need it.

Blue Pearl said...

I enjoy your blog. Your ruminations over worries is intriguing --- I see my own reflection decades ago. Here's to more days of smooth sailing for you! Raising children can be "a wild ride over rough terrain".

Unrelated to worries, here is a novel you might enjoy, if you haven't already read. "Year of Wonders", Geraldine Brooks.

UtRus said...

please update us on how the Lexapro goes - i am VERY interested. and studies do say that all anti-D's work better combined with therapy.

how's the cyst thing? i still think about your pyogenic granuloma. that was... truly amazing.

I have shingles right now!! not so bad because i got on the anti-virals right away. the thing that tipped me off that it was shingles was that the skin tingled and itched for a few days before a rash showed up.

Kerry Lynn said...

I had shingles when I was pregnant. trust me, you would know if you had shingles. It literally feels like you've been burned in a fire.

Lexapro: It took about 6 weeks on it to get me to feel "normal" although I was suicidal when I started taking it so I had a far climb to feel normal. That was 5 months ago and I'm starting to fall back down. not sure why but I need to talk to the doc again.

I really wish you would try melatonin before taking ambien. Melatonin seriously makes me sleep like a baby (well, a baby that sleeps well). I know I must sound like a broken record but that's how serious I am about it.