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Better Living Through Chemistry


Many, many years ago I was put on anti-depression and anti-anxiety drugs. Every woman and many of the men in my family suffers, at some level, from depression. I’m the only one who seems to suffer to the point that something had to be done. My manic depression got in the way of my ability to function as an adult, to the point where my mother worried for my safety. So on the drugs I went. I could focus and be productive. I graduated college, got a great job, and over the years built a solid career. I wouldn’t trade that for anything… or would I?

Before the medication, I was a very creative person. I loved to write and paint. My weight wasn’t an issue (at least as much as it is now). After the medication, I worked. That’s it. I became the career driven Type A that excels in the business world. It was like I was some other person and she was the person everyone though I should be. My family was knee deep in the civil rights struggle. They marched and pushed for equality and equal access – to education, housing… to life. So having me as this corporate success was a feather in the cap to my mother, who saw in me the embodiment of every thing the struggle had been about.

And now… I have this career that I’m floundering in that pays extremely well but makes me so unhappy some days I think about suicide. There is no outlet. I worked through my twenties and early thirties, eschewing relationships and friendships. I’m alone. And I’ve gone off the medications. My creativity has come back. So has my desire for interpersonal relationships. I write and dance around my apartment to silly pop songs, just like I used to. I have all these ideas that I’m struggling to get on paper before I forget them. It’s great. Except for those damned manic episodes and the compulsions I can’t seem to fight back. They really are a bitch. My family worries that I’ll hurt myself and push me to go back on the medications. On one hand I really want to. I miss the calm. But on the other, I don’t because I know I’m only half me when I do. I miss the creativity and simple joy that come from being 100% LAH. There are days when I worry that I’m going to do something truly crazy (terrible word, but in this case completely appropriate). And there are days when the struggle to simply get out of bed is exhausting. But there are also days when I spend all day writing and I’m happier than I could ever be at work. Those days are the best… So I wrestle with this decision and I know I need to make a decision. But just the thought of it makes me want to go back to bed…

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(c) 2015 - 2017, Lori A Hendricks. All Rights Reserves
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