Global Mom: Stress, Depression & Teeny Blue Pills

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?

Trocadéro, View from Eiffel Tower

Trocadéro, View from Eiffel Tower

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?

View sweeping eastward from Eiffel Tower. There's our apartment...right there.

View sweeping eastward from Eiffel Tower. There’s our apartment…right there.

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.

view sweeping westward. . .

view sweeping westward. . .

Her handwritten note and little card of teeny blue pills suggested to me that I hadn’t hidden much from her.

view northeast to Montmartre and the basilica of Sacré Cœur

view northeast to Montmartre and the basilica of Sacré Cœur

“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. . .)

3 thoughts on “Global Mom: Stress, Depression & Teeny Blue Pills

  1. Melissa, we are kindred sisters! Please take this advice from someone who has had 2-3 bouts with major depression….don’t be hard on yourself! You are not feeling well; stay in bed if it keeps you together.

    I saw a shrink for each bout and was on medication. What helped me the most was having a therapist who did CBT and EMDR, which allowed me to put closure to many painful past experiences. I also saw a psychologist who specialized in hypnotherapy and other forms of relaxation therapy. Then I eventually reached out to friends who had reached out all along….However, i was not able to process or appreciate most things.

    You have many good years ahead…find a shrink who does more than talk therapy or start out by making an appointment with your primary care doctor. I know what it is like to live alone in darkness , aimlessly trying to find the light.

    • Angela, how did I sense this would be another link? It’s very hard to unlearn high expectations, to release oneself from certain demands, to let things simply go, isn’t it? I’m still learning about this all.

      I so appreciate your input. It’s wise and comes from the trenches, and I’m glad it’s here for others to read as well.

      Stay tuned for the next post, and I’ll explain what I did in that situation. . .It got me through.–M

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