From Global Mom: A Memoir
(Cont’d from two posts ago, “1st World Stress, Like Owning Stuff”)
I’ve asked this question once before, but it bears repeating: How does one recover from stress-induced depression?
I’d been like this five years earlier, and knew that this, like last time, was legitimate depression, serious enough to send me to bed not for a week of debilitating back spasms like Versailles, but for a week of spirit spasms, too, down ten pounds again, but this time the self-incrimination didn’t stay locked inside my cranial Hi-Fi system, but leaked in mumbles out of my own mouth: Inept. Not up to this. Exhausted. Ruining everyone’s life. Claire gave up her cozy American existence and her dream of a possible dog for a rubber mattress and dog poop land mines on every sidewalk? Had I been nuts to drag us all into this? And by the way, what kind of worthless whiner is in a fetal heap in bed at 2:45 on a sunny afternoon? In Paris?
Another mother, a new acquaintance from Luc’s school, saw my bagging pants, the olive circles under my eyes and the splotches of rouge scrubbed on to cover the ashenness. She took me aside.
“Ça va, Mélissa?” she inquired delicately, putting an accent on the first syllable of my name and her hand between my shoulder blades.
“Oui, oui, ça va, ça va,” I answered, smiling too brightly.
Her handwritten note and little card of teeny blue pills suggested to me that I hadn’t hidden much from her.
“These are a sample of my antidepressant,” she wrote. “Ask the psy [French shorthand for psychiatrist] whose name and coordinates are at the bottom of my note, to prescribe the right dosage for you. When I have moved internationally,”(I later learned she’d lived, among other places, in Buenos Aires, Brussels, Mexico City, Abu Dhabi, Toronto, Prague, if I recall these all correctly, and now Paris over her twenty years of expatriate living), “Every single time,” she wrote, “my whole system gets overworked. Then it shuts down. It just crashes and shuts down.”
(To be continued. . .)