When you are depressed and anxious it is best to stay in the moment as much as possible. Thinking about the past exacerbates depression, with longing for what was or regret over what might have been, while thoughts about the future elicit panic and fear with endless “what ifs?”
Waiting for Lexipro
I am at the pharmacist waiting for my prescription for Lexipro. It is not actually Lexipro, it is a generic version covered by insurance. Whatever the name, it promises to calm my anxiety and ease my depression.
Waiting is doing neither.
My eyes drift over aisles of cards, natural feminine products, herbal soaps and essential oils, and land on a holiday display. I know these are holiday items, not by the items themselves, but by the colors and special packaging. They could be beauty products or candies. Maybe packs of vitamins from the North Pole. I do not know the contents but the concept is clear and I begin toggling between the past and the future. I see Thanksgivings with cousins and crab-stuffed mushrooms, Do-it-Yourself-Messiahs at the symphony, snow, Christmas lights, and frosted windows at the cafe.
I am losing breath.
My chest tightens and I start to sweat as my thoughts shift into the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2015. The fourth Thanksgiving that I cannot afford to fly home. The fourth Thanksgiving with no rum pudding and pecan pie, no post-dinner walks, no stories about the great-great-greats. The fourth Thanksgiving through which I will hold my breath, exhaling on Black Friday when commercialism gives rise to cynicism and I have only one month until I am reunited with my loved ones in the bitter cold of the Midwest, the warmth of their hugs, and the wetness of my tears.
My heart is racing.
I am brought back by a strangled version of my name being called from the pharmacist’s window and step up to receive my prescription. I am left with the residuals – the sweat, the shallow breath, the tightness and tension. My mind has returned but my body needs a moment to catch up. I knock over an empty cup that I had set on the counter, fumble with the earphones that have wrapped themselves around my wallet, awkwardly retrieve a credit card, and attempt to steady my shaking hands as I pay for my magic pills.
I am an inspirer and nurturer of heart-to-heart human connection. Through creative non-fiction I hope to help others feel understood. By sharing my story I hope to inspire others to do the same.
I named my site Move. Learn. Grow. because that is the path I am on. Moving. Learning. Growing. I have heard it said that insight rarely leads to action, but action almost always leads to insight. The act of moving shakes things up and allows for release, discovery, and new vision.
Join me in my adventure through all of the ups and downs, all of the moving, learning, and growing.
That’s a positive spin on a currently painful subject. I had surgery on my left first metatarsal joint at the beginning of January. The best outcome my surgeon had seen for this particular surgery was a marine in his early 20s: He was running stairs in four weeks.
I am no marine.
Cheilectomy/osteotemy: big words for cleaning up arthritis, and altering bone structure. They cleaned up bone spurs and cut the head of my first metatarsal, repositioning it to increase my range of motion and decrease my chances of re-injury. As with most surgeries, the procedure went just fine and everything looks good. My body, however, disagrees. Scar tissue is building up in in the joint and i’m having a difficult time regaining my range of motion.
This is not my first surgery and not my only physical ailment. I have had two knee surgeries – one to repair my right ACL and a second to clean up scar tissue. I have a hyper-mobile SI joint which provides for its own exciting and endless symptoms, and it seems that everything from the waist down just wasn’t put together properly, like the cells finished their work on top and then just sort of kicked back with a beer when they got to the plans for my lower body, “Hey Jerry, that first metatarsal looks a little high!” “Ah, don’t worry about it. she can get it fixed in about forty years. Budweiser?”
All this is to say that I’m struggling right now. I know I need to work through the pain. I know I need to stay hopeful. I know there are worse problems than having elective surgery not turn out so well. But this sucks. I can’t undo the surgery and even if I could it wouldn’t change the fact that I had a serious problem that needed fixing. Still this sucks.
So… I will write about it. I will recount the experience in a, hopefully, entertaining and encouraging way for those who are exploring similar surgical options, have been through the same surgery, or simply resonate with the frustration of physical ailments and the complexities of genetics.
My favorite quote, which I have imagined tattooing on my left wrist but as of yet have not mustered up the courage to do, is from Lao Tse, “The longest journey begins with a single step.” I have heard other versions but this is the one that speaks to me most. I am on a journey in both the physical and spiritual sense, and as an aspiring writer I thought it would be good practice to write about my experience putting one foot in front of the other.