Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Slippin' Away

Oh no, it's happening again. She shakes her head and refocuses on the task at hand. Just finish making the bed, pick up the dirty socks in the corner and oh yeah, don' t forget to set out the chicken to thaw. Bed, socks, chicken...bed, socks, chicken...bed socks, chicken, She repeats out loud to herself. But the voices come again. This time louder and even more saccharine. There's an animal in trouble...We just got a letter....We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship...La,la,la la...la,la,la,la..Elmo's World..." Like an experienced diabetic who recognizes the onset of an impending sugar crash, she self diagnoses. A quick check to make sure the TV is off and the children are occupied with crayons and hot wheels reassures her diagnosis. Yep, auditory hallucinations. A sure sign that she is beginning to slip.

In the beginning she thought she might really be loosing it. Terms like clinical and certifiable popped into her head. During the first few weeks of her newborns life she had kept the bedside monitor on the highest setting. She would be Johnny-on-the-Spot if she so much as heard a whimper or unusual interval of breathing; not to mention the stocking-masked cat burglars that where surely out there, ready to snatch the adorable baby and hold her for ransom or sell her on the black market.

She finally came to her senses and begin to trust her 'motherly instincts'. She had read the books during pregnancy, but never really believed that she herself would develop these instincts. She needed proof, something tangible, to reassures her that she was capable of keeping her newborn safe outside the womb. She had yet to realize that the tingly, electrical charge that surged through her body (making her milk come in) was the physical manifestation.

She had asked her own mother, just days after the birth, "I feel so scattered and forgetful, when will I get back to feeling like myself? When will the postpartum symptoms go away?" "You won't ever feel like yourself again-not completely. This is the new you. You get used to it." her mother answered. Now, a mere four years as her new self, she was beginning to accept and recognize the life she was living.

Even the most rewarding and sought after careers have their drawbacks, occupational hazards, and creative burnout, recognized, diagnosed and treated by mental health gurus without stigma or fear of demotion. Major coorperations budget millions to study the direct correlation of productivity and the emotional balance of their employees. Hours, days, even weeks are set aside as necessary 'days-off' to ensure the mental and emotional fitness of a valued employee.

She left the shower running and grabbed a towel as she sprinted across the tile floor. She was sure that the "MOMMMMMY...!!!" cry for help she had heard was real. She envisioned a bloody lip or overturn piece of furniture. But as she stood there wide eyed and dripping, all she observed were two pair of deep-set eyes, without a trace of pain or suffering, smiling up at her.

All was quite on the home-front so she returned to rinse the shampoo from her hair. Great, now I've got the visual hallucinations to accompany me on my little trip into dementia! She thought.

She quickly scribbled a mental prescription for herself as she finished her morning routine: One day of self-directed therapy to be taken ASAP. No Harvard educated psychoanalyst needed. She knew the correct dosage required to bring her back to "sane". She fancied herself sitting at a linen draped table, chilled glass of chardonnay in hand. She would finish the chapter she was reading and lay the book to rest so that she could make astute observations of other patrons. Listening in on the details of last night's date or who was sleeping with who at the office.

No, too extravagant. She could feel the phantom pains of the severed emotional umbilical cord. She mentally scratched out the Rx and wrote out a new one: Physical therapy in the form of Retail Aerobics followed by a Cool Down of Cinematic Appreciation.

She could already feel the lunacy subsiding and the 'normal' drifting back into focus as she planned her upcoming day of treatment.

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Moose Coming May 27th!!