In 2002 I lost my mind. I was doing the dinner dishes. A pile of recycling had accumulated on the counter and threatened to spill into the sink and onto the floor. Yogurt containers, beer cans, an egg carton. I lost it, it all came pouring out: my pent-up pain. Through tears I raged against everything that had piled up in that kitchen. When I was done, I turned and saw my children in the doorway. They were 2 and 4.

I started with Prozac, which made me “not feel”–something better than the crushing pain I felt before but not a good state. I remember imagining that both of my children died, hit by a car, and found myself incapable of generating any sort of emotion related to such a disaster. I couldn’t cry, couldn’t empathize. When I switched to Lexapro, my emotional range grew. I emerged from that alternative fog.

Now weaned, I find myself racing through memories. Thoughts of my earlier depressive episodes. In the summer of 1990, when I returned from three-week trip to Kenya, I isolated myself from friends–convinced they didn’t like me anyway–and cried at the slightest provocation, and slept and slept and slept. My parents’ friend, an infectious disease specialist, tested me for every conceivable third-world disease. Nothing. Nothing until late summer at a friend’s wedding, where I partied into the wee hours and something let go, something lifted. The parallel story: after leaving a PhD program in English at the U of Arizona, I moved home for the summer and took a job working with kids in day camp at the Salt Lake County Recreation Center. My illness coincided with my post-Africa, post-Tucson stay in Salt Lake City. By the end of the summer I had moved into my own apartment in the Avenues and started a new PhD program at the U of Utah. I guess transitions are hard.

There are more episodes, but I’ll stop here.

Prozac Culture – I related to this piece a lot.

The God of Depression – Thanks to William Styron for speaking out; you didn’t cause it, you can’t control, and you can’t cure it. So suicide may be the only option.

Why Writing Matters in the Age of Despair – Reminds me why I write–to keep track of the trivia that comprises a life. And of course we all need a room of our own–a place to breathe freely, to let our minds race, to gather ourselves together and return to the hearth.

About BJ

living the dream in northern Utah
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s