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They both start with P, after all.

February 1, 2010

Yesterday when I walked into church, the first person I saw was Charlie, a three-year-old in my Sunday school class. I said hello to him, and he told me that he was in charge of holding the cross in the processional. I told him that was a very important job, and then I walked further into the building.

Next thing I knew, a small person was hugging my knees. I looked down and saw Emma, a five-year-old in my class. I told her she had a very pretty coat on, and she thanked me. Then, her father asked me if she could sit with me after children’s chapel, because her grandparents, whom she usually sits with, weren’t there yesterday, and he would be in the choir loft, as he has recently joined the choir. I told him that would of course be okay, and showed Emma where I would be sitting so that she could easily find me.

When children’s chapel let out, just after the Nicene Creed and during the offertory, Emma found me and brought with her Audrey, another five-year-old in my class and her sister, Analiese, a seven-year-old who has just this year graduated from my class. I hushed the three of them as the priest read the prayer of Thanksgiving, encouraged them to say The Lord’s Prayer along with me, and corralled them to the altar for Communion. I glimpsed their little hands folded, right on top of left, to receive the bread, and smiled to myself just before I lowered my eyes to my own hands.

As we took our seats again, another dad walked up to me and asked if I had room for one more. Charlie appeared beside him and attempted to climb over all the little girl legs separating him from me. I lifted him by the armpits and sat him beside me. As we read the post-Communion prayer, he said that he wanted to color, and I told him that church was very nearly over, and afterwards we were going to go to a big church lunch.

At that big church lunch, I ended up at the kid’s table, surrounded by even more children, including two quiet sisters who are in my class and another slightly older girl who has come to my class a couple of times. Conversation ranged from the various pets we’ve had to what they’re currently learning in school, and I have no doubt that it was much more interesting than anything I would’ve heard at a table with adults.

Afterwards, as the adults chatted and the children ran around the parish hall from all the soda they had just consumed, I sidled up to Audrey and Analiese’s mother. She commented that I certainly had my hands full and asked me if I’ve ever considered teaching full-time. I told her that, well, actually, I never thought I would, but I’ve been so blessed by teaching Sunday school that I’ve recently begun looking into pursuing Montessori certification. She said that something about me just seems to attract children, and she realized in conversation with her husband the other day that it’s probably due to a certain peace that I exude. She confessed that she was jealous of this peace of mine, but her husband reminded her that she has her own special talents, and even if they’re not the same as mine, they’re hers, and they’re good.

I confirmed that this was true and politely thanked her, but in retrospect I think that maybe I also should’ve mentioned that this peace of mine she noticed? It’s most likely my 20 daily milligrams of Prozac.

I’ve been in love with my life for all of 2010 so far. It’s been spectacular. I wake up exquisitely happy, ready to greet the day. I linger in bed for a few minutes after my alarm goes off to pet my dog and revel in the joy he brings me. I no longer spend a ridiculous amount of time getting ready in the mornings, because I already feel beautiful most of the time, even with lighter makeup and my naturally wavy hair going in all kinds of directions and my dark blonde roots growing in. I walk into work whistling even though I’m not exactly thrilled with my job. I chat up complete strangers, smiling at them and thanking them and looking them in the eye. I spend my nights quietly, playing guitar or reading or soaking in the tub.

The end of last year was rough. I made some hard decisions. I felt frantic most of the time. I couldn’t wait for the holidays to be over. I couldn’t stand to be alone. But then something shifted. I began to feel okay again, to enjoy my solitude. To accept that where I am is directly due to the decisions I’ve made, both bad and good. I made some resolutions to change the things that I didn’t like, and to pursue the things I do like. And I met someone I’m crazy about, which, despite all the drama that ensued, has given me an incredible amount of hope. That maybe I will find love again, even if it’s not with him.

But maybe the thing that shifted is the fact that my doctor doubled my dose of antidepressants. And so all the while, I keep wondering–is it me, or is it the pills?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 10:19 am

    This post made me happy. And I don’t think it’s the pills. I think the pills cleared the path for you to find this place, but it’s you that’s making it your home.

  2. February 3, 2010 12:43 pm

    I’m with Molly on this one!

  3. Misha permalink
    February 3, 2010 2:24 pm

    Glad you’re still around. I recently started on 10mg of prozac and I haven’t felt anything, you’re inspired me to talk to my doctor instead of sticking longer with it (2 months) and hoping that something changes.

  4. February 3, 2010 3:26 pm

    Misha,

    I was on 10 mg from May to December, and it took over three weeks from the day I began taking it to feel any different at all. I’ll never forget the first morning I felt better. I woke up ready to face my day for the first time in months and months.

    But after a while it became clear that 10 mg wasn’t going to be enough. I was still struggling, still just barely getting by. An extra 10 made a huge difference. But if you started your medication within the last three weeks, I definitely recommend waiting a bit to see if you feel any different, and, if you do, how different.

  5. stocktoc permalink
    March 31, 2010 12:38 am

    I agree with Molly. Pills help to clear the way, and then its up to you to decide to carry on those healthy habits that you were clear-headed enough to discover while you were using them as a crutch to help you when you were limping.

    I know, I’ve been there. And the whole time I was medicated, I also thought: “This isn’t me. It’s the pills. And as soon as they’re gone, I’ll go back to having problems and being an anxious freak.”

    You write beautifully, by the way.

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