Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going Quiet

Adenoid update: gone. J's adenoid's were successfully removed and the whole process took less than 40 minutes. Seriously, we were at the surgery center for a mere two and a half hours. I asked if we could stay longer since it was so nice and quiet, but the nurses politely (and forcefully) kicked us out. J is doing very well. Too well. They told me it would take at least twenty-four hours for the anesthesia to wear off and he would be pretty groggy. What they should have said was that he would basically be a drunk toddler: as much energy as usual but none of the coordination and prone to lots of mood swings. He is blissfully asleep right now and my husband even witnessed some nose breathing. There might be hope. (In answer to the question of the day, "What the heck do adenoids do, anyway?", here's a link.)

I wasn't so sure of that a few hours ago. Like I do in most stressful situations, I had a break down just after the crisis was done. I threw a toy, cussed a little, cried a lot, argued with my husband, and vowed to make an appointment with my therapist.

However, like scripture tells us revelation is not in the earthquake or the wind or the fire but, rather, in the stillness that we feel after those things. Once my fire burned itself out I heard at least one of the things God has probably been trying to teach me all my twenty-seven years: be quiet.

For my birthday my parents gave me Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water and, while the book was not everything I wanted it to be (which of course it couldn't be because L'Engle is like a surrogate mother for me and, at some point, all mothers must fail their children so they can grow), I got something very important out of the book: a new prayer, "Lord, slow me down."

I think part of my reaction to my depression is to push myself. I'm so afraid of falling apart I overcompensate by trying to do everything at once. It's a good distraction to the gnawing emptiness. I also think it's just part of who I am. For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to feel everything and know everything and be everything--I'm always seeking the next step or sensation--preferably all at once. Knowledge and experience are heady drugs and fill up all the places inside me that are empty. I think that's one reason why I like to be pregnant; somebody else's being fills up my emptiness and I can slow down for a little bit.

Of course, part of managing my mood disorder is learning to appreciate the present and experience it fully instead of shunting things away to be dealt with later. It's about not distracting myself. It's about listening to what message the chaos is hiding. It's about slowing down. So, like Madeleine L'Engle, I've been praying that the Lord would slow me down. That He would make me quiet.

Be careful what you wish for.

Apparently, the only way the Lord could slow me down was by giving me enough rope to hang myself. Or, more aptly, by giving me enough projects to exhaust myself. Tonight I finally quit trying to fight the exhaustion and I'm slowing down; I'm going quiet.

For the first time in my life I'm cutting back and saying no. I've already backed out of a couple obligations and my blog is the next step. I'm a little bummed--I'm always sad when a friend gives up blogging because I love hearing their stories (even though I'm terrible at commenting!)--but it feels right. I need to quit focusing on my noise and busy-ness and start finding the slow and quiet things and listening to them. In my haste to become some sort of awesome writer I forgot the number one rule of good writing: listening. Good writers listen to everything around them, whether spoken or unspoken. And to listen like that you have to slow down and you have to be quiet. I've scratched the surface of that idea in relation to my kids and it's been amazing. It's time to open up the rest of my life to the quiet.

I'm not going to quit blogging entirely. This thing is an important brain dump! I am, however, going to be sporadic. In my mind once or twice a month should do. The cutbacks include Mirthful Mondays. Sorry. Maybe one of you should take that over that segment on your blog! Let me know if you do and I'll link to you. Anyway, if you haven't before, now is the time to sign up for my feed.

So, with all the extra time you will have because I'm not blogging as much, you should read this memoir: The Year My Son and I Were Born by Kathryn Lynard Soper. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. If I had the money I would buy every single one of you a copy. This is a must-own for every mother. In the story of her baby with Down Syndrome and her struggle to love him and herself, Soper has embedded the story of every mother and the divinity that motherhood can cultivate within us. Soper is writing from a beautifully transcendent (and perhaps fleeting) place. And because of that the book is never preachy but still guides and uplifts. It is honest and gritty but never depressing.

Seriously--tell your husband or father or whoever to buy you this book for Mother's Day. You'll want to read it again the minute you finish it.

And as a final touch, here's some quiet for you to meditate upon. These are the mountains I live by. I think that they embody some of the quiet I need to find. I need to go lay on one and fell the earth supporting me and radiating God's power and beauty.

photo credit

Monday, April 27, 2009

By Way of Update (Lessons Learned from Sleepless Nights)

So, if you are readers who also happen to know me in my real life (or you happen to also be a friend on Facebook or you are a family member) then you know that my toddler is going in for surgery on Thursday. J has obstructive sleep apnea caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Since he is too young to have his tonsils removed the surgeon is only pulling out his adenoids but she is hopeful that this will do the trick. J has had sleep problems since he was born and all 21 months of his life have been a test of my endurance. I feel like I have a lot riding on this surgery--you know, like my sanity--and if this doesn't get us all some sleep I'm not sure what we'll do.

Anyway, I bring this up for a couple reasons:

1) to apologize for low quality blogging of late. All the sleepless nights have caught up with me and I feel like I'm hanging on by the skin of my teeth (forgive the use of a cliche. I'm tired.). The other day I told my father I was overcome by a tremendous sense of ennui but since reading this post by Patricia Karamesines I have come to realize that what I am feeling is torpor. My blog posts have really been reflecting my torpidity lately, sorry. Several readers have emailed me topics to muse on and I'm excited to get to those soon!

2) to explain the soapbox I'm about to get up on :)

*Warning* Soapbox!! *Warning*

Being awake a lot at night with a cranky baby (who is now a cranky toddler) has given me a lot of time to reflect. I've learned a lot about my patience threshold, the importance of napping (aka cognitive consolidation time), and--this is the most important one--the necessity of listening to your children.

Thanks to my PPD and my young age, I was completely lost with my first baby. Naturally I did what any good college graduate would do and scoured the library for parenting books and read them over and over and over. When I came across confident so-called parenting experts I believed them, regardless of their credentials. This was especially true when it came to sleep.

My oldest, N, was also a terrible sleeper. She would wake up every forty-five minutes at night and cry and cry. I would have to rock her endlessly while singing every Primary song I knew. A lot of the time I cried with her. I was exhausted and miserable and she was moody and anxious. I knew that sleep was part of the issue and, at the recommendation of lots of friends, I tried to "Ferber" her when she was six months old. It was a complete disaster. I remember putting earplugs in and sitting outside the house just to drown out her screams for a few minutes. She would cry for hours and hours. The book, and my friends, were confident that the method would work and that I just needed to give it time and no matter what I shouldn't give up and hold her. After three or four days I did give up and snuggled her to sleep and we resumed our truce of rocking and singing. Now, I don't think that N had acid reflux disease (like J) or sleep apnea (like J--he's a complicated kid!) but I do think that this reaction fits her personality. Because she is naturally anxious and distrustful she needs/needed a lot of reassurance that she would be okay. When she was ten months old she started having nightmares and night terrors. She could talk a bit by then and would tell me about them. When she woke up screaming at night I just went in and snuggled her because I knew that's what she needed. Around the same time she learned to fall asleep on her own. I don't think that's a coincidence.

My second, E, was a relatively good sleeper from the start--she would only wake up two or three times a night. More of an observer than an emoter, it took a lot to get her really wailing but once she started there was no turning back (that's still the truth to this day). I started working on my book about the Holocaust shortly after she was born and I found that it made me grateful for her. Reading and studying about all the women who lost children and who were forcibly sterilized made me cherish her and when she would wake at night I would hold her and love her and she usually settled back to sleep easily. And, on the occasions where I did let her cry, she would fall asleep.

J, is a special case because of all of his conditions (have I mentioned the eczema? Oi! The eczema!), but I had learned a lot from my first two and I was grateful for him. I felt like I could trust my gut a little more. J wouldn't/couldn't lay flat and had a lot of gas. He would startle and wake up screaming. He would flail his arms and scratch his face and rub his feet on any rough surface. He sounded honestly distressed. So he and I co-slept for the first 7 months of his life. I had always said that was something I would NEVER do, but it was the only thing that worked. I would prop myself up on pillows on the couch so I was sitting up and lay him across my chest and he would sleep. We would still pace the floor at night sometimes, but he was calm and I was calm. Once we started treating the acid reflux disease and the eczema he improved a lot and was able to nap. Since the new year we've been figuring out this whole sleep apnea thing and, while I am exhausted, I am so glad that I followed my intuition. And, you know, I'm still willing to hold him and calm him through the bad times because I know that's what he needs.

So here's the gist of my soapbox (in case you couldn't find it in the midst of all my ramblings): Listen to your kids. As children of God they come with an innate wisdom in their spirits. They'll tell you what they need if you stop and try to see things from their point of view and really listen. Throw out all the "experts" or anyone else who touts a one-size-fits-all answer. Each child is unique and will need an individualized approach. Don't be afraid to give them what they need--even if you don't understand why they need it. And never hesitate to be compassionate. Compassion can get you a long way in stressful situations. I think there is a communication between parent and child, something special that comes with that holy bond, your spirit and their spirit can understand each other. As long as you try to listen.

Oh, and if you're still reading, thanks for taking the time! You made my day :)

Mrthful Monday--late, late, late!

Sorry folks, I don't have a good joke for you today. But I do have a link to an awesome poem:

Introduction to the Mysteries by P.G. Karamesines

Thursday, April 23, 2009

But Not Unhappy Science Friday: How can you tell if a rodent is depressed?

In recent internet surfing I came across a very scientific article, Molecular Switch Linking Infectious Disease And Depression Identified. The study came to some interesting and complicated conclusions--something about a link between the molecular changes in people with chronic inflammatory diseases and depression (I won't try to explain any more because I'm not sure I even really understood it). Apparently there are all sorts of implications for the next generation of antidepressant. But reading the article left me with one huge, nagging question:

How can you tell if a mouse if depressed?

See, the researchers did all their experimenting on mice and their conclusions are based on observed behavior in the mice. So I'm just wondering how can they tell? And, really, how many other treatments are based on interpretations of mouse behavior?

Oh, that's right! Almost all of them. (For proof read here, here, here, and here!)

But don't worry, researchers have also found that ever-happy mice may hold the key to new treatment of depression.

Somehow, I'm not convinced.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

*Some* Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Words

J is having a bad night and I have no words for a post, but I did find some pictures.

Usually the media uses this kind of pics to define depression:

But here are some more interesting ones I came across:

Like I said, some pictures are worth a thousand words. Too bad the ones that have the words don't get the air time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mirthful Monday: What happens when you ask a Mormon to make a movie?



Why doesn't my stake have a film festival?

And because I know you need another hit, enjoy this little ditty as well!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vulnerable today

Yesterday the weather was beautiful. 70 degrees with a blue sky and slight breeze. We went with friends to the park so the kids could ride their bikes and play on the toys. They smiled and screamed and laughed. We watched the birds on the pond--the usual ducks and Canadian geese and an unusual blue heron--as they listed about and ate and finally flew away. I was energetic and happy. I didn't need a nap. We played and read books and I looked them in the eyes and told them how much I loved them.

Today it is 38 degrees and cloudy. Even though you can't see the rain it is falling--a fine mist that you don't even realize is veiling your sight until you look down and see the ground is wet and you are wet and everything is cold. It will be snowing by noon. The spring snow is going to kill the blossoms on the fruit trees and maybe even the lilacs. This is spring in Colorado.

The weather has put me in a funk. Since the clouds hid the sunrise my body doesn't realize it's supposed to be awake. It makes me feel like a ghost. I am lonely and missing everyone today--especially and inexplicably my little sisters, the one who lives in Wisconsin and the one who died. It made me cry when I dropped my oldest off at kindergarten, although I smiled until I was alone outside the building so she wouldn't know. I feel like I'm in limbo. Like I have to will myself into reality. But I'm not sure that I want to.

Or maybe I feel like a jelly donut. Like I can't contain my being. Like there's too much going on inside me, my emotions are stuffed too tight. Whenever I look at my three year old or listen to my 1.5 year old talk my heart swells with love and I can't breathe and it feels good but it hurts too. I'm all soft and squishy with my insides oozing out of places they aren't supposed to be. It makes me a feel a little sick.

Or maybe I'm a turtle who's lost her shell. I am smaller than I ever realized I was and I'm unprotected and no matter where I go or what I do I won't ever be at home. May Swenson called this "Living Tenderly." Going without a shell is like wearing my skin inside out so the nerve endings are sticking out where the hair should be and I am reeling with the sensations.

That's what today is like. I'm gritting my teeth and taking it slow. I'm taking deep breaths and chanting my mantra (I can go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. Yes, it's the first line of the Desiderata. My therapist said I was the first patient she ever had who quoted poetry to her while meditating. I think she should have paid me for that visit.) I'm trying to find reasons to smile. I'm trying to find places to store my emotions, so they can cool and condense and soak back into the water table of my heart, instead of letting them boil off into the ether. That way I'll have them when I need them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Hardest Thing About a Mood Disorder

What is the hardest thing about having a mood disorder? You might expect me to answer the fatigue or the weird looks I get from people when I tell them what I'm dealing with. Or maybe it would be the simple act of taking a pill every morning. The emotional implications of that are weighty enough, let alone the actual remembering. Heck, you might even guess it the few and far between yet very real suicidal hallucinations. But nope. It's not even that.

The hardest thing about having a mood disorder? Finding a psychiatrist.

All the articles and commercials and TV shows will tell you that the only responsible way to do antidepressants is through your psychiatrist. Sure you can get a prescription from your general practice doc, but he is probably so unaware of the ins and outs and complications that the odds of you getting something that actually works are pretty slim.

And then there's the self-medicating aspect. Having a psychiatrist is supposed to be keep people from doing dangerous things like going randomly cold-turkey off their meds or upping their dosage on bad days and lowering on good days. Psychiatric medicines aren't like Tylenol, people! Their effects take weeks to kick in and weeks to wear off. Psychiatrists are the dudes who are supposed to help us crazies navigate all that.

Of course, that means psychiatrists would actually have to be available.

Awhile ago my therapist recommended two psychiatrists for me. Neither of them were covered by my insurance but I thought I'd check them out. I had a few questions to ask them but I never got past the price. Intake exam: $300 dollars. Follow-up exams: $150. Out of pocket.

That sent me to my insurance website. I spent over an hour figuring out their system and how to tell who specializes in what and making a list of covered people and where they practiced. A couple weeks later I carved out the time to make the calls. After working through some bad phone numbers and crossing some dead-ends off the list, I got this lovely message:

Chirpy Robot Lady, "Press 1 if you would like to schedule a new patient exam"

(I pressed one.)

Chirpy Robot Lady, "We are not accepting new patients at this time." *click*

That's right, I got hung up on. Another hour down the drain.

I have some serious medicine questions--Husband and I are contemplating baby number four and want to talk with someone knowledgeable about the risks and medicine and other PPD issues--that I want answered and I know my OB and my family practice docs (and the internet!) can't answer them. I've spent the last couple weeks trying to drop my dosage--slowly, ever so slowly--and the results have been headaches, nausea, increased yelling (mostly at my kids), and fast-cycling, extreme emotions. That last one is usually a sign of big trouble.

I like to think I'm a pretty rational and responsibly disordered gal, but I'm beginning to feel like my hands are tied! My sister suggested figuring out if my insurance has a patient's advocate system that could help me muscle my way in to a psychiatrist. I've also heard that therapists can sometimes get you in, but I don't think my therapist is associated with anyone.

What's a girl to do? Do you guys have any ideas?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mirthful Monday: Do you have a post-Easter chocolate hangover?

If so, this should get you through:

And next time, don't forget The Rules of Chocolate:

If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you're eating it too slowly.

Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done.

If money talks, then chocolate sings.

And last but not least, the O.N.L.Y. chocolate bunny joke on the planet (it's not even that funny!):

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What If? (Thoughts on the Melanie Blocker Stokes Mothers Act)

All right folks, I just came home from a very fun Enrichment and I was not pleased to find this (gardening excitement) buzz kill. Over at Postpartum Progress Kathryn Stone reported that some yahoos had this to say about the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act:

"This MOTHER'S Act, with its innocuous sounding name will mandate 'mental screening' for pregnant women. This will lead to many more young mothers being labeled with fraudulent psychiatric conditions and many of them will be put on dangerous psychiatric drugs even while they are still pregnant. . .With help, we were able to stop this Federal bill dead in its tracks last year, but the drug lobby apparently never sleeps and they got it through the House of Representatives."

I gotta say, my family and I are personally hurt by this attitude. The OB who delivered my first baby completely dropped the ball when I needed help for PPD. At no point during my pregnancy, even when I came to a late third trimester appointment crying and shaking with frustration, did anyone in his office mention PPD. I went in for my six week check-up and told him that I felt sad and was having trouble loving my baby but I'd heard that those things were normal so maybe it wasn't such a big deal. I just had the baby blues, right? He had been writing something down and when I looked to him for guidance he only said, "Yeah. Probably." Because he didn't listen and didn't take the time to screen me (or any other patients) I thought my inability to love my child was normal. I thought that laying on the floor next to my baby and crying every time she cried was normal. I thought screaming myself hoarse in anger was normal. It wasn't until I became so paranoid that I was afraid to leave my house (I was too afraid someone would steal my baby or that I'd accidentally kill her) or wash my face (I knew it was irrational, but part of my brain was convinced that someone was waiting in my shower so they could stab me to death) or go to sleep (I had a recurring nightmare of someone sneaking into my baby's room and spiriting her away) that my sister finally convinced me to get help.

My baby was four months old at that point. I lost four months of her life. I struggled and cried and suffered fruitlessly for four months--and my baby struggled and cried and suffered for four months.

What if that doctor had stopped to listen? What if my prenatal educator had given more than the five minute blurb about PPD? What if there was a screening or education program in place to catch people like me?

I went to a different OB when I was expecting my second baby. The woman was a little brusque for my taste but when I told her about my previous PPD experiences (leaving out the paranoia and fears of accidentally harming my baby; I didn't want her to think I was actually nuts) she listened. She explained their screening program to me. She explained my risk factors. She gave me a website. When my second baby was three weeks old and I went back in and filled out a depression questionnaire my OB came in and hugged me. I cried a lot. She told me it wasn't my fault. She gave me a prescription and some business cards and scheduled a follow-up appointment to make sure I got a therapist. She caught me when I fell.

Thanks to a lot of therapy I've let go of the guilt surrounding my postpartum experience with my first. I'm not angry at my first OB any more. But I am still sad. Something died inside me through that experience--some sort of idealism. Motherhood will always be a double-edged sword for me. The wonderful moments will always be tempered by the scary ones. Some things you just can't forget.

I am lucky enough that most of the people around me love me and support me in my search for help and healing, but people making statements like the one above only contribute to ridiculous stereotypes. I cannot believe that there are people out there who think that perinatal and postpartum mood disorders are just a money-making ploy for drug companies. This bill actually gives no money to drug companies or any sort of funding for psychiatric medication!

Postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders are a real threat to society. As Kathryn Stone said,

"Have these people not seen the research? Do they not know that women with untreated postpartum depression can go on to have chronic depression for the rest of their lives? Do they not know that women with untreated depression during pregnancy are twice as likely to have pre-eclampsia, twice as likely to have a C-section, twice as likely to have a pre-term delivery and twice as likely to have their baby go to NICU? Do they know the odds of developmental delay for children whose mothers' illness goes on and on and on and on? Do they not know that suicide as a result of postpartum mood disorders is the leading cause of death for women postpartum in the US? The emotional health of approximately 1 million American families EVERY SINGLE YEAR depends on this."

Here's the link to a petition. Please consider signing it and contacting your Senator and Congressperson. Trust me; us depressed mommies (and our babies!) need all the help we can get.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mirthful Monday--poetry style

Hi friends!

For those of you who don't know, April is National Poetry Month and I am SUPER excited. I decided for today's Mirthful Monday it would be fun to examine a couple poems. The first is a riddle poem (kind of an easy one) by May Swenson:


My body a rounded stone
with a pattern of smooth seams.
My head a short snake,
retractive, projective.
My legs come out of their sleeves
or shrink within,
and so does my chin.
My eyelids are quick clamps.

My back is my roof.
I am always at home.
I travel where my house walks.
It is a smooth stone.
It floats within the lake,
or rests in the dust.
My flesh lives tenderly
inside its bone.

(for more of May Swenson's riddle poems check out this book, The Complete Poems to Solve.)

The next poem is just silliness. It's from Shel Siverstein's (I believe)posthumous collection, Runny Babbit. In the introduction to the book Silverstein lets us know:

Way down in the green woods
Where the animals all play,
The do things and they say things
In a different sort of way--
Instead of saying' "puprple hat,"
They all say "hurple pat."

Keeping that in mind, here's one particularly silly poem--oh, but like all good poetry, it must be read aloud! Enjoy :)


Runny Babbit mot all guddy
Makin' puddy mies.
His wamma mashed him with the clothes
And hung him out to dry.
Toe Jurtle said, "What are you doin'
So high agrove the bound?"
Runny Babbit sinned and graid,
"Oh, I'm just rangin' hound."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Gift of our Spiritual Childhoods (or, Praying with My Mouth Full)

I have a hard time keeping my eyes closed these days during prayers. This mostly has to do with the fact that my children don't keep their eyes closed during prayers. You know, they are always looking around, picking their noses, giggling, or, if it's a meal prayer, they're stuffing their faces.

The usual culprit on this last one is my youngest. J is always hungry. He usually walks around the house with a bag of cereal or a box of crackers in tow. He also checks all the cabinets, the refrigerator, and even occasionally asks me to open the oven so he knows where all the food in the house is located. If one of my girls leaves food unattended--you know, like if they drop their fork on the floor and have to pick it up--J is there finishing their food for them, whether they wanted him to or not. I don't usually hound him about his face-stuffing habits because I think he's still making up for the weight he lost as an infant due to his acid reflux disease, but, well his behavior during prayers is something else.

J is always the first one at the table. In fact, he follows me around while I cook and questions me. "Food?" he asks. "Snacks?" "Cheese?" "Juice?" "Cracker?" "Food!" From the moment his plate is on the table he is shoving fistfuls down his gullet. I know it's a meal he really likes when his utensils hit the floor and he's asking for more before he's done with the first helping.

There is no stopping his quest for satiation, not even asking him to pray breaks his stride. He's only a toddler so at best his prayers are guttural approximations of the words I tell him to repeat. At his worst (read: normal) his prayers are unabashed shows of what he has already eaten through sprays of chewed up sustenance and drool. This, of course, makes the rest of us giggle quite a lot. The best part is that J doesn't seem to notice how bizarre or ridiculous his behavior is. That's the gift of childhood: the oblivious ability to meet your needs regardless of how inappropriate your behavior is.

I was watching him pray tonight and was quite surprised by the emotions that filled me. I was so touched by his messy, chimpanzee-like behavior. It's the only really babyish thing left about him and it charms me. As I watched him trying to say "Jesus" around an impossibly big mouthful, and felt a smile spread across my face, I wondered if that is how I look to my Father in Heaven. I wondered how many of my spiritual efforts are akin to praying with my mouth full.

I mean, think about it. How often do we read our scriptures while simultaneously tucking ourselves in bed? How often do we fast with most of our hearts and minds while planning our big dinner with the rest? How often do we bear testimony with our logical, socially acceptable phrases instead of the words the Spirit is trying to get us to articulate? For me, I think that the demands of my temporal existence infringe on my spiritual efforts more often than I realize.

The other part of this realization is that, just like I can't help but smile when J prays with his mouthful, I think Heavenly Father smiles when we do the same thing. After all, no matter how old we are we are still spiritual children. Compared to the greatness and the glory of our Father in Heaven, we basically are spiritual toddlers. And maybe the blissful ignorance of our inconsistencies is the gift of that spiritual childhood too. J's ignorance leads him to keep trying even when he's inconsistent because that's how he'll learn; he's not afraid of failing or doing it wrong. What matters is that he's doing it, figuring it out.

So often I get discouraged because of the distance between me and perfection. But maybe it isn't distance that keeps me from my eternal goals, it's time. I just need to grow up and that's something that really only happens day by day, food-filled prayer by food-filled prayer. J is going to grow up and he will eventually stop praying with his mouth full and we too will grow up and be able to give our hearts more fully to God. Life--existence!--is like that. We learn and progress sometimes imperceptibly but we are learning and progressing all the same. And that's why God can smile when we are praying with our mouths full: it's a temporary phase and He knows our potential and He knows we will grow out of it and He can enjoy the small successes we have. That's what makes Him our Father in Heaven, as opposed to some impersonal god, He knows us that intimately and loves us that deeply.

Maybe learning to bask in that love is as much a step on the path to perfection as learning to wait until after the prayer to eat.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

_The Road Back_ : a patent pending program to end all your psychiatric worries

As you all know I've been thinking about tapering off my Cymbalta. Most days the medicine is no big deal and most of the time I'm grateful that I live in a day and age where I can get effective help. But there's something in me that balks at having to take a pill every day.

Of course, I have friends who have been on psychiatric cocktails for years--through pregnancies and everything--and they always remind me of one thing: depression, especially the types of depression that are associated with pregnancy and childbirth, IS a biological illness. Like heart disease. Like diabetes. And just like a diabetic can't wake up one morning and decide her insulin levels are going to be fine without medicine, a person with a biological depression can't just choose to be happy.

So, I came across an online program called The Road Back that is supposed to help a person taper off her meds without having all the side effects. I was intrigued so I read the first few chapters and, I'm a little bummed about this, it's dubious.

I guess I should have expected that, seeing as it's a patent pending program. A copyright is one thing. But a patent? That screams marketing. You know, it's like when Dr. Phil announced his new diet program and simultaneously lost all his credibility by creating a line of nutritional supplements that were in every GNC, grocery store, and Walmart across America. Anyway . . .

The basic premise of The Road Back is a nutritional one; if you put the right things, whether they are "super foods" or super supplements, in your body it will function more perfectly--which is something a lot of people believe, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. The nutritional thesis wouldn't be problematic in and of itself but the kicker is this: they recommend only one company's supplements and the company charges HUNDREDS of dollars for them. The author spends several paragraphs plugging this company's superior supplements and saying you have to buy them for the program to work.


So I'm back to square one and still on my meds. It's probably time to consult a real psychiatrist and not just the internet ;)

P.S. Happy National Poetry Month everyone! Check out my post over at A Motley Vision!