12May

Uncaged

When I’m 85, the smell of Bath & Body Works’s peach nectar lotion will remind me of that unsettling coaster ride of an autumn with my first boyfriend. The smell of carpet shampoo will remind me of walking into my college dorm room with an armful of books and giddy expectations. The smell of hand sanitizer will take me back to the NICU where infant Natalie recovered from surgery, and the smell of lemons will remind me of this spring.

The lemon trees and perfume and homemade limoncello and lemonade (more on that soon) have swirled deep into my perception of life this spring, and I have to tell you: I am infatuated. With lemons… AND life. Remember how crap-coated existence looked in January? And in February? And in March? Man, March was a doozy. I didn’t share most of the horror that was my brain this last winter out of embarrassment and pride and a respect for your collective wills to live, but my personal journal entries are like something out of Mordor.

But then… One afternoon toward the end of March, I was researching psychiatry in Italy in preparation for the next day when I was going to beg my skeptical doctor on my hands and knees for antidepressants. If I was going to grovel, I at least wanted to be prepared. I learned that “antidepressant” is “antidepressivo” and that “panic attack” is “attacco di panico” and that around 75% of women taking Yasmin end up on depression medication. Huh, I thought. Could this be as easy as going off the Pill?

It was. Only seven weeks later, I am a completely different person. Actually, I was a different person within seven days. I can hardly believe how easy it is to get out of bed each morning now that homicidal hormones are no longer running around chewing holes through all my happy thoughts. That endocrinologist who assured me I certainly did not have a hormonal imbalance owes me one year of lost happiness and a delivery truck of Lindt chocolates, at least as I see it.

I figured I owed you all an update now that I’m on the outside of the cage. So many of you have encouraged and supported me through a truly crap-filled (and -coated and -battered and -fried and -garnished) time. You’ve sent me e-mails and earrings and reminded me that I have some worth as a human being after all, and I am a thousand kinds of thankful. The future holds promise again. The world is habitable again. My creativity is waking out of its coma, and when I look inside my brain, I finally see myself. And when I’m 85, the smell of fresh lemons will remind me all over again how lovely it is to be.

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8 comments

  1. It is quite nice to have you back my dear wife =D

  2. Wow! Wow! Wow!!!!!!
    Wow! Yea … (I just did a happy dance for you!!!) … sharing in your happiness! … and freedom!

  3. A delivery truck of Lindt chocolates indeed. I am so, so happy that the remedy was easy and that YOU ARE HAPPY AGAIN! Yay! Welcome back 🙂

  4. I am so GLAD! *smooch* (for both of you, and your darling kiddos)

  5. What a wonderful post =) I’m glad you’re finding your way back to you! Also, you should really go for those Lindt chocolates.

  6. oh i am sooo happy for you. god. hormones, right? they are some crazy creatures when they get ahold of you the wrong way… i am glad it is spring and the scent of lemons is bringing you joy.

    Also–that first paragraph is so, so lovely. I love writing that starts with lists… and then takes the reader into something else.

  7. bethany-
    I am so glad to hear this…

  8. I’m sort of kicking myself because I’ve had SOO many conversations recently with women who were affected the same way with the pill and I never thought to suggest to you that it could be you’re freedom. I just watched my best friend go through the process of this and the realization and the freedom and I’m happier for you than words can say!
    LOVE!

    p.s. I just received my birthday card!! It was amazing!! 🙂

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