It was my birthday yesterday. Wish me happy birthday? Thank you. My star sign is Libra, which according to the Dine astrology chart means that I am supposed to like a good balance of leisure and social activity and that I enjoy smooth and uncomplicated relationships. Yet, I prefer to think of myself as a Leo. I do like to stand out from the crowd and enjoy being the life of the party. In addition, I have a real desire to assist others and help out around the house, as much as She will let me.
I am not very good at keeping track of time: it is not one of my many positive qualities.
David Karp, a Professor of Sociology at Boston College and the author of Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness, writes about what he knows in his latest book. He has suffered from depression most of his life and knows all too well the personal dilemma involved in taking antidepressants. Along with his own experience, Karp interviewed 50 people who also take medication for depression. In, Is It Me or My Meds? he looks at antidepressants through the eyes of those actually using them. What he finds is an experience much different from what the drug companies portray in their ads. With Americans spending more than 12 billion dollars a year on antidepressants, the equivalent of nearly $44 for every person in the country, there is no doubt the drug companies have been successful in peddling antidepressants. What isn’t clear is how successful they are in actually treating depression.
I am mentally ill; that’s much easier to write than to say. Yet, I read my own statement and feel it is an exaggeration, as I associate mental illness with someone who is dangerous to others. But with me, the danger stays inside my head. I have obsessive compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD. I've had it for years and didn't even know it. I just knew I was "different." Then one day, leisurely reading an Anne Landers column, I noticed a letter written by someone who claimed to have something called OCD. Like me, this person engaged in behavior that many would consider unusual, or even bizarre: checking work over and over again to see if a mistake had been made; worrying about forgetting to turn off or leave on lights; fearing contact with dirt, germs, etc. It was somewhat comforting to learn that my weirdness is something other people go through, and it even had a name — albeit, in my opinion, not a very good one. Was "disorder" supposed to mean that there is an orderly way of being obsessive and compulsive? I'd prefer "obsessive compulsive syndrome," but maybe OCS is already an acronym for something else. As a very young child, I was preoccupied with having dirt on me and not realizing it.
It took effort just to get out of the car. Just to open the door, and get out, and say hello, how are you? And to open the door, and get back in again. To sit and wait for the pleasantries to end, and to drive away, far away, to anywhere but here.
It’s not that you don’t like your editor. It’s not that you’re all that anxious about what you wrote in the issue. Its not that you’re nervous about anything in particular. You just feel it sometimes. You just feel it. A bubbling nausea, a searing ache in every bone. A cluttered, dizzy sensation. Like you're drowning. Like you've always been drowning.