I’ve now been on Zoloft for two weeks. I won’t feel the full effects of it for another two to four weeks, but I’m already feeling a glimmer of better. My doctor also gave me klonopin, a drug I’ve heard of but never used. When I first looked it up, I discovered its main use is to treat seizures. When I read that, I was confused, but considering that my panic attack pretty much caused my heart to have its own little seizure-fest, I got it. Then I saw also treats panic disorders, which is what I’m going to someday have tattooed onto my forehead. So, I took one, immediately after my doctor’s appointment. And you know what? Best. Drug. Ever. I didn’t care. I had that cheap-ass-glass-of-moscato buzz going on and the pope himself could have walked through my front door and insulted my cat and I would have been all Yo, dog! Come and get summa dis kpin! It’s the shiz!
I only took the one because I was pretty sure that all the other carpool moms knew I was higher than the ISS and that DFACS would be at my front doorstep before the kids finished their homework. (PS Dear teachers, I’m sure the kids’ homework that afternoon was a cluster. It was my fault. Common core and klonopin don’t mix.) I haven’t touched the bottle since. But I feel better just knowing it’s there if I need it.
We all have monsters living inside us, monsters that are chemical imbalances or brain deformities or bad memories of traumatic events. All of these things shape us into who we are, for better or for worse. I don’t think I would be the creative person I am without my depression and anxiety. I mean, I like me, I just hate the monster living inside of me. After spending the last ten years reading books to my children, I’ve read about many different monsters. All of them are deformed, horrific, external projections of the bad in the world. Two of the hardest things on the Teach Alla Dis Shit To Your Kids list isn’t potty training and it isn’t sex. It’s (1) Death and (2) The monsters are not only inside us, but the ones outside look just like us.
The last time I checked, Ted Bundy was a handsome charmer and John Wayne Gacy was a Jaycee and a community volunteer. Aileen Wuornos wasn’t exactly beautiful or a civic leader, but she was a human, not a red-eyed, fur-covered, evil demon under the basement stairs. Now, I’m no serial killer, but my depression turns me into a monster of sorts. It makes me angry at the world and the people in it for no reason other than it’s me versus all of you. And it makes me so terribly sad and takes away any semblance of hope.
I put up my Halloween decorations today. I got a jump on October 1st, but I have absolutely no shame in doing so. It was a combination of surprise the kids when they return from their grandparents’ house and I need to do this for me because I love Halloween. And, yeah, I need to do things for me. But I also need to do things for a few others. Like apologize for that monster inside of me that convinced me to lash out in anger rather than in understanding. That monster that gets upset and angry for no reason whatsoever except that maybe it’s a Tuesday.
I’ve got a long way to go in accepting myself as not just “Heather” but as “Heather with a side of mental illness.” It’s not that I’ll allow it to define me, but that I can no longer be ashamed of it or assume it will get better on its own. I need help and I’m on my way. The monster will always be here, let’s just hope I get her under control because goodness knows every day can’t be Tuesday.