Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why Am I Doing This?

I'm searching my heart to discover why I feel the need to write a blog. All my life I've been one of the types who would love to "be a writer" but find it way too much work. Much easier (and more fun) to make fun of other people's writing. Much more satisfying to do other meaningful things like watch old episodes of Get Smart and Mr. Ed. I've revealed a lot about myself in that last sentence -- I'm an old trout who remembers when we had to get up and change channels and only had three stations. And yes, I do have some issues with aging that my discount on Tuesdays at Kroger doesn't really make up for. But that's a whole other blog. As is the fact that I'm not one for much introspection, so take the fact that I'm searching my heart with a grain of salt.

The reason I call myself an old trout dates back to a book I read years ago when I was still a trout-in-training. One passage had me on the floor -- the author (Canadian, I think) was describing having to carry an old, drunken woman up a flight of stairs -- and referred to it as "humping the old trout up the stairs." I can't remember the book or the author or why the unfortunate narrator had to carry a drunken, overweight old woman up the stairs in the first place -- but that passage has stayed with me over the years. Unlike important, useful information.

I could blame not writing on the fact that I'm on anti-depressants, but a lot of my favorite writers have been depressed, stoned, drunk or suicidal (or a combination)when they wrote, so that's a really crappy excuse. I finally spoke to my girls last night (12 and 13 years old) about being on medication for depression. I'd hidden it like a shameful secret from them for years, then couldn't find an opportunity to talk about it -- like most big things, I think casual conversations are much better than sitting them down and saying things like "we need to talk about sex" and "by the way, did you know I was married before I met your dad?"

Funny enough, I'm not at all shy about talking with it to other adults, even those I don't know well. As I told my sisters years ago, one of the best things about being depressed was telling my dad out of the blue. "By the way, while we're on the subject of World War II, I went to the doctor today and he said I am clinically depressed and need medication to keep from hurling myself out a window." More about dear old dad later, but he (and my mother) were just speechless and steered the topic right back to World War II. I'm amazed at the number of people I tell who are also on meds -- are we just crazier these days or what?

(I just read about one report that said that one out of 10 Americans takes antidepressants and that for most people they serve only as placebos. Although you should be wary of people saying they obtained information from a "report", because sometimes that report can be an email from Aunt Bertha saying that of 10 of her friends, one is batshit crazy and needs to be locked up.)

Like talking about sex, the brief discussion about being medicated for depression was easier than I thought. The three of us were in the car on the way home and were discussing stress. My oldest mentioned depression and I took the plunge. The conversation didn't even last that long and they didn't ask for many details -- I'll let them steer that conversation when they're ready.

I've got to pick the girls up from school and am going to publish this before I chicken out. I just don't think I'm going to tell anyone where to find it.

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