July 9, 2008 by Marj Hatzell
Here’s the thing: I come from a family with a long list of depression-related illnesses. We’ve got OCD, Bi-polar disorder, anxiety, social anxiety, autism-related issues, ADHD and more. It’s unavoidable. EVen my dog is ritualistic and anxious. She fits right in around our dis-FUN-ctional family.
For years I’ve tried to ignore the fact that I may or may not possess some of these disorders. I mean, the likelihood of my kids having any or all of them was about 2000%, since everyone in my family has SOMETHING. Having a large family increases the chances, you know? But I kept telling myself that I wasn’t bulimic anymore and I didn’t need meds and that my twelve hours of boundless energy was due to the fact that I am just A CHEERY, HAPPY ENERGIZER BUNNY and that I’ve got a faster metabolism. While this may be true, I started to see signs of the bi-polar rearing its head. And by reared, I mean I started having three-day cleaning binges, all-night awake sessions, days where I couldn’t shower because I couldn’t stand the feeling of water on my skin, days where I couldn’t get out of bed, days where I’d go nuts and spend six hours straightening the basement or eight hours hanging pictures (never mind the fact that they’ve been in storage for THREE YEARS, it had to be done RIGHT AWAY!). And so on, and so forth.
Yeah, It’s time to admit it. I can’t do this alone anymore.
I’ve always had a tendency to binge on things. Whether it is food or exercise or reading or gardening or cleaning, I get completely obsessed and can’t stop. For years I’ve been on and off of different medications and then I tried the holistic approach (which I’m not knocking, it just didn’t work for me) and then just thought I could exercise my stress off and then I’d fall off the wagon a few times a month and end up in bed for days and wonder what the heck was going on. Back in the fall, Darling and I had an major argument adult discussion about the simple fact that with a family history like ours, there was very good evidence that we both had chemical issues. And so I began taking little blue happy pills. Again.
But this time I’ve stayed on them. I sleep better. I eat well, exercise moderately and take care of myself. I still have cleaning binges, but that’s only because my house is currently a total sh*t hole, since I procrastinate so badly. I keep up with my daily routines, I don’t put off important tasks and I don’t eat entire boxes of au gratin potatoes in one sitting. I’d say I’m making progress. And, I’m not stressing over little things. While I am not happy about the whole appetite suppressant thing (I’m eating what a woman my age normally would eat, I think. Just not what I used to. You know, like three times a normal serving?) and the fact that I get a little sleepy, I love the fact that I can control my temper around my kids, I’m not ignoring them while I paint entire rooms while my husband is at work and I keep up with the housework and don’t feel so overwhelmed all the time. I was worried about the change in my personality but apparently it is intact. My husband still thinks I’m perky and crazy and scattered, my sisters still think I have boundless energy and my friends still think I have a very optimistic outlook.
What do I think? I think I’m happy. I can handle things. I don’t feel like stabbing strangers with icepicks. I’d say it’s win-win.