That woman? Up there? Yeah, sure, she’s smiling. She has the purple hair, the fun colorful scarf, and seems happy. But she wasn’t.
She was quick to anger, took everything personally and negatively. She assumed the world was out to get her — family, friends, acquaintances, strangers. They were all just one heartbeat away from screwing her over but good. Any perceived misstep was grounds for cutting someone off, mumbling about them under her breath for DAYZ, and bitching about them to Tyler/my mother/the people I wasn’t angry with. I constantly took out my anger on loved ones especially Tyler and the kids. There was a lot of yelling, slamming of doors, and, yes, I threw stuff. Mostly plastic hangers (Joan Crawford, anyone?) and our poor house in Wellesley saw some shit. I REALLY hope the new owners bake some cookies, sing Kumbaya or some shit every night, and torch up logs of sage to purge the old me out of that house.
It always seemed that I was one explosive moment away from physically hurting someone I loved. Believe me when I say that the emotional hurt happened all the time and it’s a wonder that I’m still married with full-time access to my kids. It’s a miracle that some people still welcome me into their homes.
Six years ago, my doctor (shoutout to Keerthi Mulamalla, M.D.!!) saved me, my marriage, my motherhood, my family and friend relationships, and put me on the path to healing. I was lucky in that I didn’t need to experiment with different anti-depressants or a cocktail of pills. She handed me a prescription for a daily 50 mg dose of Zoloft and it’s worked ever since. Each morning, I make my coffee and while the dark, rich brew is deposited into my mug-of-the-day, I reach into the cabinet above for my daily meds.
The colors are bright against my palm. Purple and yellow calms my stomach acid, peach tells my liver to simmer down with the cholesterol production, white helps keep my bones strong, and the baby blue keeps the bitch at bay. I remember reading a funny quote a few years back that said, “If you can’t make your own serotonin, store-bought is fine.” For many years, I was ashamed to admit that I needed Zoloft until one morning Jarrod watched me take my meds and asked what each was for. I explained the function of each pill and when I said, “… and this one is for anxiety and depression…” he was upset. “Mama, why are you depressed?” I explained, “It isn’t anything that’s happened or something anyone has done. It’s just that my body either doesn’t make enough serotonin or absorbs it too quickly. This pill helps keep the serotonin I do make in my brain longer so that I have enough to not be sad or scared all the time.”
And he went on with his morning. Simple as that. And it dawned on me that I, too, shouldn’t look at my condition as something of which I should be ashamed. My problem is a chemical imbalance. I was basically living the first 43 years of my life in a constant state of fight-or-flight and it’s a wonder I survived that long without chemical assistance.
Whenever I’m around friends and family who remember Bitch Heather, I hide a deep shame for my past actions. I smile and laugh and engage, but deep inside, I am completely mortified at what Bitch Heather did on a regular basis. It will probably take me decades to get over it, and maybe I never will. But I guess what I’m getting at is that I’ll always be sorry for who I was pre-baby blue pill. But I’ll always be thankful for that woman up there who FINALLY recognized she needed a little extra help to be the person she is now. From here on out, I’ll go easy on her. After all, she did give me purple hair.