Friday, September 28, 2007

Woman of Heart and Mind

Over the past 24 hours I've been doing a lot of thinking.

The doctor's appointment went okay. We're cutting down my Lexapro from 20 to 10 mg a day for a week, then see how I feel, and maybe do the 10 mg every other day. In two weeks I'm to call the doctor and let her know how I'm feeling. We're both torn as to what to do next: go off entirely, or switch to something else, namely Wellbutrin. It has less occurrence of the side effects I'm currently experiencing, which sounds good. She needs to check on the Wellbutrin and the binge eating, however, because there is literature saying that people with eating disorders shouldn't take it. This literature is based on anorexia, though, so I don't know if that applies to me.

The other thing that's been hounding at me the last 24 hours has been an odd thing: I feel like I've somehow lost myself, and that this loss of identity is at the root cause of my depression/anxiety (or possibly bipolar II, as Frances pointed out to me in her comments yesterday).

I seemed to step outside of myself yesterday and see this pseudo-soccer mom, struggling June Cleaver wanna-be, and I didn't recognize or particularly like what I saw. There's nothing wrong with being the carpooling, domestic wonder woman who fusses over home made cupcakes for the kids at school or stands at the door with her husband's lunch and brief case in hand to send him off to work. It's just that I never envisioned myself filling this position.

Instead, I suppose I envisioned myself following in the footsteps of one of my idols, like Joni Mitchell. Independent, a free thinker, pushing the boundaries and definitions of being a woman and of creativity. A painter, a writer, a musician, following my muse and not adhering to the antiquated standards of my parents and grandparents. A Woman of Heart and Mind, if you will.

Yet here I am in my Podunk little town, in my little church job, planning my daughter's ninth birthday party and spending my days sweeping and dusting and folding laundry. Where are the paintings? Where are the novels? Where are the albums (okay, it is the 21st century, I should say CDs)? Where is my little cottage in Laurel Canyon with the colored glass bottles in the window? Where are my musician boyfriends who write beautiful songs about me, and my songs about them?

I can't blame anyone else but me for this strange place I've gotten to. Although I did have one big warning sign a year or so ago when my husband gave me a string of pearls as a gift. Those things really freaked me out. He thought they were beautiful, and they are, but all I could think of was June Cleaver and a life of servitude to my husband and my children while chained with those pearls to the house I must clean and present to the world as a representation of my self-worth.

I was watching "Crossing Jordon" on A&E this morning and the one character Lilly (played by Kathryn Hahn, who I just adore, and not only because her name is spelled the same way my middle name is) was having this existential moment about her life. She said something to the effect of "I just thought I was meant for so much more," and it hit me like a rock.

I don't need to be a nationally-known singer/songwriter, some critically acclaimed painter or novelist. But right now I just feel like I should be doing something else, something more. Or that I should be more Me instead of what I think people want or expect me to be.

The problem is, I'm not quite sure what that's supposed to be. Thus my dilemma.


Shauna said...

I'm taking the wellbutrin and have a history of binge eating. the medicine has really helped with that issue, I rarely do it these days. I've heard its not always good for people with a lot of anxiety though, so don't know if that works. I really hope you are feeling better soon.

Grumpy Chair said...

Andrea, it's never too late to become some or all of those things you mentioned.

You are such a beautiful writer, if you have an idea for a novel, start writing it! (My sister did years ago and now she has 9 or 10 books published already). Maybe set aside 30 minutes or so strictly for creative writing purposes: your novel, poems, song writing, or painting/sketching. Just that 30 minutes of "your time" might help . . . (I need to take my own advice also).

Several months ago, I went through the same "I've lost my identity" crisis. I used to handle million dollar accounts; I was proficient, never late, super organized and now I can't even organize my own life and family. I'm not a very good housewife / stay-at-home-mom / cook/ dieter/ wife, etc.

And now I am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. You will too.

Hope you start to feel better soon.

Ty said...

I swear we were separated at birth.

Lori said...

I concur with Alicia; it's never too late. You are a fantastic writer. I can't imagine doing all the things you do for your family (like Alicia) and not have any "me" time. I know I'm selfish and lucky to be alone at times.

I hope some of the prescription changes help you out. You are just fantastic (and so is everyone responding here too).

Joc said...

This post sums up so much of what has been going through my head for the last year or so. Its the weirdest feeling to wake up one day and think "OMG how did I get here, this is surely not the life I thought I would have"

Wishing you well in finding the life you want to live.