The Morning After
Um. Brr.

A Start of Some Kind

I was really, really hoping my first post of 2018 would be non-Sad-Ghost depression related, but seeing how we're three days in and I shall be leaving the house for the very first time today since New Year's Eve* simply to get my meds adjusted, I guess I should just break the seal already. 

*The highlight of the evening was me bailing on a party several hours early because I forgot how to human. You know that feeling when you're trying to make small talk with a stranger and suddenly can't remember what kind of facial expression is appropriate for the words coming out of their mouth? So you focus too much on what your face is doing and completely miss that they've asked you a question until they're just staring at you in confusion while you smile at them all psycho-Joker-style?  Or when the whole room is laughing about something and you're consumed with panic because what if you try to laugh and start crying instead? No? Just me? Okay. 

**But a Lyft arrived like one minute after my brain officially NOPED out and they didn't charge surge pricing! I came home and watched cooking shows all night instead and fell asleep at a nice, reasonable hour. 

I swapped anxiety meds after noticing that I'd fall into a deep depressive crash a few hours after taking an Ativan, while Xanax simply makes me suuuuuper sleepy. Both side effects are generally tolerable when we're talking the "pacing the bedroom floor at 2 a.m. simultaneously stressing in equal amounts about my kid's math grade and genocide in Myanmar" type of anxiety, but neither are ideal for the "I'd like to function reasonably well during a social event without feeling the overwhelming urge to go crawl under the coat pile in the guest room" kind of scenarios. 

I also turned 40, which...was fine. It's fine. It's not all panicked doom and gloom, I swear. I got my hair done and treated myself to not one, but two new ceiling fans. (Which I haven't actually installed or taken out of the boxes or anything; let's not lose our heads here.) But they have been chosen and they exist and I can soon cross "bitching about ugly ceiling fans" off the Yellow House to-to list for the first time in two years. This is tremendous progress and I am here for it. 

Let's see, what else.

Noah's been doing this thing where he sneaks downstairs wayyyyy after bedtime to grab a midnight snack, which would be totally fine except 1) he's sneaking like an entire box of expensive hippie chocolate bars at a time, 2) I did not realize he was doing this and couldn't figure out why we were going through the expensive hippie bars so quickly, 3) I found all the wrappers under his bed and THAT'S HOW YOU GET ANTS, LANA, and finally 4) I caught him doing it during our Black Mirror season 4 binge, and when I escorted him back up to his room to talk about the effects of late-night energy bar consumption on his sleep patterns and dental health I discovered that he'd literally built a working robot army, transistor radio and solar panel farm out all those great STEM-focused Christmas gifts he received. 


This is obviously impressive but also probably going to rise up and destroy me should I fail to provide an adequate supply of midnight snacks. 

Meanwhile, Ezra's using his Christmas presents to build sandwich monsters. 





Proof, yet again, that Noah will one day rule the world so there is hope


Talk to your doc about cymbalta (generic is duloxetine). Life changing for me, after many years of difficulty. And trazodone, only at night, for sleep.


YES. I have done that! The sneaky I'm laughing OH NO I'M CRYING!

I understand.
And I sympathize.
And this too shall pass, hang in there!

Love from the frozen tundra that is the upper midwest.


THE RUTABAGA BOOKS ARE THE BEST! I'm so glad Ezra likes them!


I hope you get your meds adjusted to find that balance point that allows you to thrive. Hang in there. It is a frustrating, annoying, how-the-hell-do-we-have-human-space-travel-and-you-drs-can't-figure-this-out process. The side effects are terrible, but so is the anxiety, I know. You are not alone. So many thoughtful, smart and empathetic people are feeling this way in this year with this president. You are a canary at the edge of the mine, and the same fire that almost kills you is the same fire that will save the world -


I forget how to human at parties all the time. It's good to know I am not alone.


I am 28 and don’t like parties. I can host at ours and speak with people I know. But recently realised I do not like talking to strangers in a party context (can charm an assistant in a shop though) and have decided to not go anymore, unless it’s a small one/ I’ll know most people. And this is ok. I found it liberating to realise this.


If you haven't seen it, this Allie Brosh comic is so, so spot-on about depression, including the "what am I doing with my face?" part:

I'm so sorry. I know how it feels and it is awful. Effexor wound up being my saving grace so far, but it's such a pain trying to find the magical med + therapy + behavioral formula that works for you. Sending hugs and support.

Amy Jo

Hoping things start getting easier for you soon! And if it’s any consolation, my son of the same age has been doing the exact same thing, except he stashed the wrappers in a bathroom cabinet. I was looking for extra towels when we had guests and found his wrapper stash. He takes meds for adhd and isn’t hungry during the day, but I guess his metabolism kicks in around 11pm! Good luck with those fans. 5.3 years in our house and I’m still staring at the ugliest fan in the universe.

Amy A

Taking a whole Xanax puts me to sleep for hours, but I’ve found that taking just 1/4 tablet works great, relieves the anxiety entirely, and doesn’t make me tired. Maybe worth discussing with your doctor?
Hang in there. The first few weeks are the toughest, but once everything stabilizes you will feel wonderful—I promise.


I'm so sorry things are so hard.


I’m a lurker and I never comment, but I follow your blog faithfully and with great appreciation. Your stories got me through the births of my daughters with more laughter and less anxiety, and you always make me feel less alone. I’m commenting today because I just wanted to tell you that I’m sure I’m not the only one out here on the edges wishing you the best at this time. Depression and anxiety are hell, and you have always helped me find a way through mine. Never give up, never surrender! And thanks for everything you do.

Veronica Miller

My 10 yr old son was doing the late night snack thing. I found out after I found a FOOT deep pile of candy wrappers between his bed and wall. We found the culprit [the meds supposed to increase his appetite that counter balance the adhd meds that annihilate his appetite]. He read a ton of books while he smacked so it's not a total loss - right?


Adventure Chef! Those books are awesome.


For the record, and please note it here yet again: I never once doubted his ability to one day build that time machine. Legit believe.


#fanwatch? Hope things get better real soon.


I just want to echo the others who've taken a turn on the anxiety/depression roller coaster and come out to a better side. It takes time and a patience I found hard to summon, but you will find the other side and it will be sweet. Holding you in the light while you wait for it to shine.


Ativan or Xanax ~~~ hopefully not for everyday use. Powerful, and side effects. Hope your doc has some easier ideas. Hope you can share the new ideas. Anxiety and depression are really really hard and the past year has done a huge number of lots of us. My own anxiety has skyrocketed and I am VERY sympathetic about how hard it is to deal with and how hard it is to use non-chemical methods. IF your doctor/therapist has good ideas or book suggestions, please share.

Noah is at the start of adolescent eating; getting agreements on what can be consumed & when helps. Also agreement on time when he will turn out lights & time when he WILL get up on his own without you but with alarm. Clearly your sons are all doing well.
Thank you for writing and sharing!


I've followed your blog for ages, and I just wanted to tell you that I'm so sorry you got a ticket on the anxiety/depression roller coaster. I've been there, did not enjoy the ride. You have my sincerest hopes that your ride is a short one. (On the bright side, all the best people seem to have ridden it.)

I took Trazadone (only at night, it will knock you out) and a low-low of dose Celexa in the morning Amy, and that combo did wonders for my soul-crushing-can't-remember-how-to-human depression.

I needed the combination of the two, but Celexa by itself worked for my husband, a few years later.

It also wasn't that bad when I came off of it, unlike some other anti-anxiety meds I've taken, where coming off them was almost worse than the anxiety (even stepping the doses down).

I am holding you and your family in my heart.


I want to be sure you've read or reread Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half Adventures in Depression and Depression Part II. Best explanation of depression ever.


My problem is strictly anxiety, not depression, but I'm another Celexa success story. I'm not sure what SSRIs you've tried before, but this works beautifully for my anxiety with minimal side effects, and doesn't make me groggy like benzos do. I use benzos for sleep, and only during times of extreme anxiety (like when my mom was dying) or in tiny doses to prevent panic attacks at night when traveling. I hope you find something soon that works for you!! I'm just sorry it takes so much trial and error to find the right solution.


Read this and thought of you, as a currently sad person who also loves Star Wars:
Hope you find the right med mix soon!

The comments to this entry are closed.