Long before I found Prozac, I was a walking disaster with a half a mind ( just that–to keep things together). NOW, I’m a bike riding half-disaster with a pill that keeps my mind calm 75% if the time.
In the beginning of my prozac/fluozetine experiment I was a broken shell of myself. I had hit the deepest depths of my self-loathing, anxiety, depression, rage, and discombobulation. A man that I thought I loved was running me through the mud, I was homeless, and my seemingly last attempt at having a career (self-made or not) in artistic teaching had fallen apart in one big clusterfuck of “ugly cry”. At one point I was sitting across from a guy sleeping in the elbow of a church while screaming and crying on the phone to my then ex that wouldn’t admit that he couldn’t make up his mind. I told him that I could die and no one would care. That night I told my sister and if I remember it correctly she said, “well that’s the choice you made”. I guess she was drunk at the time. I called my mom and scared the shit out of her because she was my last hope of sanity. She had no idea what to do and neither did I. Her love kept me from actually doing anything.
Before that I was seemingly a very happy person. My cousins and sister were very protective. I had a lot of friends of many different kinds. I made jokes in class that even the preppies laughed at. People I just met would say, “Lisa You are going to be a child forever!” and they meant it as a compliment. The compliments that I received almost on a daily basis were about my smile and my sense of humor. I lavished in these as my identity since my teen years. I said, “This is who I am; the fun girl, the silly one, the adorable freak, up on a pedestal of stoner, grunge-rock, royalty.
On the flip side I was also the innocent one, the secretly poetic one, the girl that slept in on school days and pretended to be sick–don’t drop her– she’ll break. The artsy sweetheart. The virgin. The daydreamer. The slightly annoying girl that somehow charms everyone temporarily with her never-ending silly, clever, cheerfulness.
I kept up this charade for the most part for much of my life. No one knew how I really felt, not even me. I touted my honesty and reallness “to a fault” even though I knew in the back of my mind, always, I could fake anything if I really wanted to. When I drank, I couldn’t keep it all together. I was mostly a “happy drunk” because the sadness was buried SO DEEPLY that even one night of binge drinking didn’t bring all of that out. What it did bring out was a part of me that gave no fucks: highly sexual, loud, risk-taking– the girl I actually always dreamed of being IRL (lol before IRL there was my-shy-sober-self) Of course even in that role, I never went as far as anyone else. e.g. At the infamous “naked party” I stayed outside the tent and gave a guy that I didn’t like some hand-attention so that I didn’t have to sleep with him and also didn’t have to be alone. The guy I actually liked left way earlier without even barely talking to me. The guy in my sleeping bag later told everyone that he knew. YEA! Crushed it bro! The shame on my face when a male friend of mine told me that was probably obvious but I pretended he was lying and went home to cry alone.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago at a party here in Boston with the Berklee European Contingency (my own name). There I was at this crazy party, trying to be a responsible drinker, trying to connect with people by playing games, dancing, and making jokes.
” Why are you faking? You’re smiling and acting like you’re happy, but in your eyes, I see sadness”
I diverted that attention by telling him how beautiful his eyes were and convincing him to make out with me.
He had no idea then, I think what he was really cracking open and how impossible it would be for anyone at that party to begin to understand. But there we were, turn up the music, pour down the Glühwein.
I had a therapist that picked up where he left off nearly 2 years later. I was still sure that I had ADHD and that was the end result of all my problems. I was still grappling with my fathers death and my disruptive fears of death and success (isn’t it somehow a kind of death to actually succeed? ). But I wasn’t ready to shed this coat. I told him that I was feeling things that I didn’t understand. I told him the sad stories of my dad and laughed through them. “Lisa, I don’t understand how I’m supposed to take this. You are laughing when you are telling me this incredibly painful story. Your jokes are even funny enough to make me want to laugh, but I feel that it doesn’t honor your truth.”
He was the first to really crack the mask. That planted a seed. My nervous giggles– that wasn’t cheerfulness or happiness. That was masked sadness and pain.
Cut to–> modern times one week I feel that medication was the best decision I ever made and the next week I feel like I still have thousands of problems.
I still run around like a squirrel, or perhaps an excited puppy like, “DO this! DO that! Oh. I need a nap. Oh something funny on TV. What was that thing I was doing? Lets make a list of 20 things to do. Lets do one. Oh. I need to go on FB.”
The thing is, that when I was overly anxious, I could do this thing called “hyperfocus” I haven’t been able to do that. Maybe that’s okay? But I do feel a little bit like I’m getting less done in a short period of time. I am more consistently getting things done but I still allow those distractions.
My communication problems are not going away. It gets a little bit easer to walk away from pointless arguments every time I try, but i STILL find myself focusing on shit that DOES NOT matter.
This is why therapy is essential and why one has to practice thinking about their own self-therapy and self-improvement everyday.
At this point, I feel like the meds are giving me a chance to find that person that is together enough to make any number of her great ideas actually happen without crashing and burning and turning her into a monster. But right now I don’t know what that person looks like, and I’m not used to challenging myself in this way. I have to pick up where the meds leave off.