I’ve been on SSRIs since the birth of our son. I’m not wild about them (never have been) but they help me to contain myself, and with little lives depending on me I need to keep it together. One of the unexpected side effects (apart from occasional brain zaps) is that I have difficulty crying. I feel the emotions welling up, but when it’s time for tears I get none. Imagine the emotional equivalent of a blind pimple, or blue balls, and you have a fair approximation of the feels.
That puts me in an ironically foul mood, as you can imagine.
Even in the cloud of nostalgia that’s enveloped our house over the last few weeks, it’s been impossible to open up the old floodgates for a good soaking weep. A brief burst in traffic doesn’t count. I’ve been desperate for one of those deep ugly cries that draw on immediate and pressing sads, as well as those kept locked away for a special occasion.
Imagine my delight when we visited my brother for a Last Supper Before Moving to Canada, and it turned out to be a special occasion.
We’re laughing about it now, but late that night wisdom and logic left the building. Our conversation grew increasingly more argumentative until we were slurring snide comments and throwing back hostility like peach schnapps at a high school-party.
Then, all of a sudden, my dam burst. Oh sweet catharsis. I had THE BEST cry. There was snot and heaving, hiccups and grimaces. People felt awkward. I held onto my face and sobbed. I didn’t cry a river but it came pretty damn close.
That was days ago and I’m still feeling the relief. So many big wet things came out of my eyes. I cried for all the birthdays we’ll miss, and the casual catch-ups we can’t arrange on the fly. I wept for the goodbyes we haven’t even said yet, and for the sweetness of the heartache. I think what really hit me was that it’s only since having children that my relationship with my brother has developed into something precious, and now we’re leaving.
There’s nothing like life’s exquisitely cruel timing.
With less than a week left in Cape Town, and a house full of half-packed boxes, it’s pretty easy to get self-indulgent. Morose and boring. So I’m trying pretty hard to stay present and pragmatic.
I’m genuinely interested to know how other people have coped without drugs. Especially those who have moved with small children. Every picture we take off the wall puts us a little more adrift. A little further away from the place we’ve hurried home to for a very long time.
It’s hard to peel away, but, oh man, it’s liberating.
As we sort, pack, and throw away it feels like we’re removing tiny anchors. Little hooky pestering things we weren’t aware of. I imagine dire situations in which we need any number of small and useless items that have been lost in the rummage drawer for five years. That broken key could come in handy. Maybe the lid for that will show up. What if someone puts a gun to my head and threatens to pull the trigger if I can’t find a strip of pink Velcro in the next three minutes.
Then the realization emerges, and I call bullshit on my bullshit. And a feeling of lightness comes, perceivable and enjoyable, detracting nothing from the sadness.
It’s all part of the process.
It hurts so good.