Friday, March 20, 2009

It was all yellow

I haven't been around much, maybe you've noticed. If I have any readers left, I mean. I wish I had a better excuse--or any excuse, really, some singular thing to pin this on: the weather, these long long months of unusually sleety, snowy, relentless Seattle gray. Missing my father. The heartbreaking demise of one of the local print newspapers, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose weighty, creaky, neoned globe revolving slowly overhead used to scare the crap out of me when I was a little girl--I never trusted it not to fall. A soy allergy, like Sis is currently being tested for. Something. Something to point at, to identify and then eradicate from my life in one smooth gesture, problem solved. Doctor, it hurts when I go like this.

I've fought depression, off and on, for years; I have been periodically medicated, with pills and sometimes with, you know, loaves of bread. Also brie. And I know that I have some legitimate reasons to be blue--2008 was a tough year. For a while, now, I've wanted to feel whatever it is I feel, to allow myself unmitigated, unmuffled emotions: of grief, yes, but also of excitement at the new job, relief at leaving the old job, screamy joy at a friend's adoption referral finally, finally coming through. I have these little spikes of happiness like that, out with the girls for pizza and beer or whatever, laughing and laughing and carrying that feeling home like a little coal. But more often than not, lately, it winks out overnight. I have insomnia, thrashing around at 3 a.m, 3:45, 4:17, 5:02...and then at 5:30 my bed is the most magnificently comfortable place on earth and I can hardly bear to leave it. I think--I know--that I would feel better if I went to yoga. I would feel better if I made a beautiful risotto, an hour of chopping and patient stirring. I would feel better if I wrote. I do none of those things.

A couple weeks ago I had a moment, an instant I can describe as a genuine physical and even visual experience. I'd gone to one of my coffee haunts, armed with a notebook and good intentions, fortified with caffeine and a donut. I sat down in front of the blank page, and I glanced around the room at all the other people, the couples and families, the folks intent on laptops or entertainment listings, everyone seeming opaque and obscenely happy...and I felt depression rushing back over me like a physical entity. I saw it, a shock wave rolling over the horizon, this undulating ripple that was going to knock me to the ground, and all I had time to say to myself was "oh, no." Oh, no. There it was. Here it is.

So. I made myself an appointment today, to go back to the doctor and suggest, a little grudgingly, that perhaps it is time again for a chemical cocktail, some new crazy pills to even things out a bit. Considering that antidepressents worked fairly well for me in the past, with minimal side effects, I'm amused and perplexed by my own reluctance, by how stubbornly I have tried to bully and bluff my way through. I'm grouchy! I don't want to take my medicine! Even if they made it in grape flavor! God! Why can't everyone just leave me alone oh my god come back I am sorry help. Shut up, serotonin, god!

Having actually made the appointment is, surprise, half the battle--the shade rolled up a little, it's Friday, the Gordian knot in my chest loosened one loop's worth. This morning at Fancy Gym, they were handing out wee bunches of daffodils at the front door, celebrating the first day of spring. I took mine to the office and plopped them in a vase on the corner of my desk, where I could see them all day just at the corner of my vision: sunny, dopily defiant, a tiny blaze of yellow unfolding in a plain white room. The belt around my lungs has loosened one more notch. I can take a deep breath, and another.

(photo stolen years ago from, I think, one of those P-I photographers--sorry, person, and I wish I could credit you now)