I'm a little down today, and in a certain mood, and random music lyrics are flying through my head. "When you're down, and troubled.." James Taylor. From my year obsessed with Les Mis soundtrack: Do You Hear The People Sing and I believe this entire movie and beloved (by me) soundtrack, with titles like 'Javert's Suicide' is one long depressing but enthralling score. It is my heart's desire our marching band would do a Les Mis theme, but alas, I'm not in charge. "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks because I listened to it on my little 45 record player, in the fifth grade, and contemplated life's shortness for the first time. I was ridiculed by some older girls who said it was the worst song ever written. Obviously I've forgotten their cruel derisive laughter from the edge of the skating rink, WHILE I was trying to perform my solo for the instructor.
I do as they say 'suffer from depression'. I've been on and off anti-depressants over the years. Mostly on, like now. But I still have days here and there, like everyone does, that remind me of life without medication. Enough stress can do it. Bingeing on sugar products and/or alcohol. Sometimes I feel my body is programmed to have days like this every 79th day or something, like clockwork. And having song lyrics fight for attention in my head, drowning out intelligent thought, is one way I know it is here.
I say thank God, praise be to God, for Prozac. It has been my life-saver. I've never tried to hide the fact that it gets me on an even keel so that I can be a productive human who can look outside her inner windows to the real world. I first was prescribed it in 1991. I recommend it. I refuse to read all the stories about America's over-medicated moods because for me, it is freedom. I remember after 911 I went off of it for a few years. Somehow, I thought, with things like that going on in the world, you can overcome a little depression without pills. Look at those people jumping from the skyscraper and grow up and get over it.
But, the flaw in that logic is, it isn't a problem that only affects me. It affects my spouse and my children, especially. They suffer when I'm losing my temper three times a day. When I'm refusing to leave the house or yelling at them just for slamming a door. And so at some point ten years ago or so I finally went back on my anti-depressant and stayed on it and am very happy that I have.
So back to the title, something to look forward to. Because a pill doesn't fix it all. Having something to look forward to is the #1 thing that helps me when I feel depression creeping in. I put something enjoyable on the calendar. I talk about it. I daydream about it. Right now I'm looking forward to my husband and I closing on our flip house in a couple weeks, a shopping trip with my sister in November, and attending an amazing writing workshop with my favorite author, Elizabeth Berg, who you've patiently read about in earlier posts. I wanted to share a link, just in case any of you want to give yourself this same Christmas gift that Chuck and I are giving me ;) Here is the description of the day she has planned: One-Day Writing Workshop for Women with Elizabeth Berg
But as deliciously anticipatory as I feel about this upcoming event, you don't have to go that extravagant to have something to look forward to. It can be, on a Thursday morning, I remind myself that Project Runway is on that night. It might be buying a new planner but not opening it yet, so that you know, when you need it you can go open that box and start writing and scheduling perfectly, just like Carol Brady. For me anticipating any kind of travel is guaranteed good vibe material, so I'm already weighing options for next June.
Sometimes I have to dredge down to the smallest things. Some days it is a dentist appointment that gets me out of work in time to see the sunshine. Yeah, I know. Or just knowing when I get paid that Friday, I get to buy mums, or pumpkins or (this week) some new black socks.
I know I may have lost many of you by now, but if you are someone who has dealt with depression, I think you are still with me. Because part of the treatment, is just knowing others have the same issue, they survived, and you will too. Everybody's story is different, but this is what works for me. A pill plus a plan.
And my best advice--don't make any major life decisions while in a low plateau. Stick to the socks choices. You're welcome.