• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Here It Comes Here It Comes

End of an era. So I stopped taking my Lithium as of yesterday. Well, we go off it gradually. Please watch for signs of elevating and mania. Sleeplessness, grandiosity, savior complex, promiscuity, risky behaviors, convinced I’m a genius. You get the picture. If I sound cavalier or flip, it’s only because I’m totally freaked out. Lithium and I go way back. Longer than most marriages. Then again, I’m not freaked out. I have a great doctor. I know myself. I’m not 26 and wearing a backless dress to a book convention. I’m not fucking a bike messenger in a utility closet at Morgan Stanley. I’m not standing on Madison Avenue transfixed by the massive wheels on the bus. I’m not walking seventy blocks from Columbia to my apartment and stopping in one bodega after another bingeing my brains out. Those are not the lockers of my high school slamming shut in a deafening domino effect. I’m going to be fine because I want to be fine. I’ve gotten the hang of it.

What’s your relationship to meds?

7 Responses

  1. My relationship to meds is I can’t stop eating. I’m glad you have a good doctor. Sending love and strength to you!

  2. Oh, I wish you well, dear Betsy, whose communications I love.

    I have had cousins and friends do what you are doing, so have witnessed how it can go.

    I send you, from Vancouver, love and prayers for your transition.


  3. “What’s your relationship to meds?”

    Me and meds, we go way back. Boon companions and stern taskmasters they be.

    I played with Valium and Librium when I was a teen, because we all did in those days, because all our mothers were on them, and we could pilfer their stash. In my early twenties I took other black market medications for shits and giggles. Some of the medications were pretty strong. We were Boomers, we were Forever Young, most of us survived.

    For many decades I self-medicated with cannabis. I was too smart and too sensitive and the world had sharp edges. I didn’t trust head doctors, so I took it upon myself to soften those edges with an infusion that helped smooth out the trail. But nothing’s free, you know. A dozen years ago I stopped, because I knew it was time to stop.

    It was a bumpy road, coming off the pot. It took about a year to get my emotions to stabilize. Sometimes I miss the highs, the enhanced beauty of perception, the “what — me worry?” approach to life, the distancing that aided me in editing my writings, but I never miss any of that enough to go back. Time is tight.

    Nowadays, my relationship to meds is close and constant, but they are not head meds. My doctors have me on cholesterol, allergy, blood pressure, and multiple sclerosis medications — they seem to think I want to live forever, those doctors, and they are right, I do, but I seek, as I have long sought, to extend my life through my written and other artistic endeavors. After the corporeal me is gone, you will still be able to hear my words through my stories, still be able to see what caught my eye through my photographs.

    Betsy, I think you’ll be all right. I want to believe that. I hope you want to believe that, too. Not one of us gets to walk our roads without stubbing our toes on rocks, or slipping in the muddy patches and maybe falling down, or taking a branching path that leads we know not where but seems to be headed to dark woods or dismal swamps or narrow paths brinked by precipice. Knowing that this is so is scant comfort during perilous times, during passage through or entrapment in some dark night of the soul.

    I don’t know what else to say but to tell you, please know that you are loved by those of us whose lives you have touched. Take care of yourself, any way that you can and any way that you must. You are a good person. And yes, you are a person, with all the faults and foibles we all contain (individual results will vary within a broadly discernible range). All our secrets are the same, all our demons are cousins, they cackle, they cavort. Please be kind to yourself. You deserve nothing less.

  4. Oh, Betsy, you are a brave soul. I had an allergic reaction to carpet glue at my office, many moons ago. The doc gave me 800 mlgs of Motrin. I took 2 on Friday and my muscles were like cooked noodles until Monday at noon. My body does not like any additional chemicals.
    I applaud your sticktoitness and willingness to experiment. For that reason alone, I believe you will succeed. Sending you hugs in support.

  5. I avoid them at all costs – unless they’re going to save my life. Even so, I eye them with trepidation. Long-term use (shoot – even short term) is always going to cause problems. Like, for instance, have you ever paid attention to the commercials where they read off the side effects of taking x, y, z drug??? Gah. What is mind-boggling is sometimes they cause exactly the problem one is trying to solve. Go figure.

    Wishing you strength and calm through this process. It can’t be easy. πŸ’—

  6. My meds and I have a fairly good relationship. They’re there for me every day, several times a day in fact. I often forget about them and end up taking half my morning pills with my evening pills. Oh, well.

    I have one piece of (unsolicited) advice when you’re changing meds. Be very aware of the possible side effects of the new med. I changed meds once and ended up with a cough I couldn’t get rid of. It started during cold and flu season so I didn’t think much of it. After the battery of tests my doctor ordered came up negative, we discovered it was the new meds I was on.

    Good luck with your transition! You got this! ❀

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