Medication Is An Educational Present from your Well-Meaning but Clueless Great Aunt Mable

Six months ago in April, I was finding it difficult to breathe.

I am not going to talk about the giant scope of mental illness. Though I am a sufferer, I am not a mental health professional. What I will say is that as someone who lets the Anxiety and Depression Sister Duo tap dance their way to terrible stardom in her brain, there are times when their dance routines are unspeakably unbearable.

In April, in the midst of my joblessness and lack of direction, the unbearableness happened again. Every single day I was crying. I started crying when someone looked at me, I cried when I received a rejection email from a job I applied to, I cried when I had to go to the grocery store. When they say you are 70% water, they aren’t lying. There are just buckets of water inside of you.

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I also don’t think it is wise to talk about the word “suicide”. How do I bring up this word without sending a hailstorm of concerned, well-meaning individuals crashing down at my door? In April, I was not suicidal, but I was driving down Suicidal Avenue. I think a few more left turns and I would have perhaps hypothetically been leaning in that direction.

If you have had depression, you know what hopelessness feels like. You know what the world looks like through your darker-than-a-blackhole-sunglasses. It is a terrible picture that seemingly has only one end. I had no meaning and no direction, and it was scary. I was legit scared. Think of a scary movie and multiply it by approximately 13512462464.

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In April, I decided to take medication for my near and dear chemical imbalance. After ten years of trudging through it with natural and homeopathic techniques, this FINAL STRAW of brain explosions in April caused the flood gates to open and I realized my bi-weekly acupuncture appointments and nature walks weren’t going to cut it anymore. Though I have an uncomfortable relationship with medication due to years and years of always getting more side effects than treatment… it felt extremely urgent to try it one last time.

And so! For the past six months, I have been on anxiety/depression medication. These meds not only stopped the waterworks, it effectively got me to Germany. It helped me pack up my micro-apartment in Seattle, fly to a foreign country, and start a new life in a place I have never been to before.

For that I am grateful.

I am now in Germany. A place even a year ago I would never have imagined being. What! Why! How!?

HOWEVER

Some miracles have a tiny man behind the curtain. Every yin has a yang. Here is a carefully orchestrated list of how one small pill has changed my life for the better and the worse.

  • The Good: I can now stand up in front of a group of adults and eloquently express myself without shuddering like a chihuahua in winter. 
  • The Bad: I have become forgetful and chronically tired to the point of losing my jacket, my keys, my train of thought, and what I purchased from the store five minutes ago.
  • The Good: I have successfully gone on dates with exotic German men without feeling intimidated or weirded out that there are cultural differences or that I am an odd human being.
  • The Bad: I often feel neutral about everything now, including affection and romantic gestures. Another day, another make out session. Who cares.
  • The Good: The pills have given me confidence to take more fashion risks, and feel better about my poochy pear shaped body.
  • The Bad: My lack of discipline has now caused me to purchase an exorbitant amount of clothing, pastries, and junk! A  brand new character flaw I have never had before. I used to be thrifty!
  • The Good: I have been able to successfully navigate a new city, create a Facebook group, be extremely social, and nurture new friendships with minimal emotional breakdowns.
  • The Bad: For some unknown reason, these pills have caused me to have ZERO tolerance for creativity, meaning my creative (AND REASON FOR EXISTING) well has all but dried up. My long nights of painting, writing and self reflection have effectively gone out the window.

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THE (current) VERDICT

After a hard look at myself in the mirror, I decided where my priorities are and what I want my future to be like. I am not the Sarah I was in April. I am German Sarah now. And German Sarah, although mostly still unknown, is a different beast entirely. After heavy consideration, I am weening myself off of the medication and going back to perhaps a more potent, Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde situation…Something I am familiar with, but in a new and improved environment.

So far, in day four, I have gotten my first German hair cut, had a mild depression episode about loneliness, and have finally written this blog entry after over a month of silence.

I want to try my best to become friends with the monster, the aspect of myself that is terribly imperfect. Perhaps if navigated correctly, I can produce interesting results.

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I’m quickly realizing that progress can look less like a straight line and more like a giant circle. The ol’ two step forwards, one step back waltz. But that infuriating circle is rolling somewhere, damn it, and I need to know where it is taking me instead of buying my 47th scarf at the mall while eating a mediocre doughnut.

Crying One Second And Laughing The Next,

Sarah

Medication Is An Educational Present from your Well-Meaning but Clueless Great Aunt Mable

Ents, Obedient Dogs, and Dads with Strollers

Hello my beautiful spring time friends!

I was going to write a long, whiny tale about getting my work permit, but ALAS, it hasn’t happened yet. I’m quickly learning that I need to not make the assumption that I’ll know what I’ll talk about next week because who knows what will happen in five minutes in this unchartered, highly populated territory.

So, this week I’m going to dive into more acute observations about our German brethren.

When I was at the subway stop (yes, I’ve somewhat mastered the subway system, which is such an achievement on its own I can’t even begin to describe the elation I feel in my heart. Here’s a picture below for your overwhelming enjoyment.)

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AMERICAN GENES?

ANYWAYZ, when one is at the subway stop, you get to people watch like never before. Remember, people openly and unabashedly stare directly at you here, so you get to do the same. It’s a little startling at how quickly I became accustomed to being creepy! Over time, I’ve started thinking creepy things like, “Oh, she has an American mouth.”

I would have never had guessed that someone could have an American mouth, but there it is. Even though people are REALLY white here, it’s a German white, a European white if you will, and there’s a difference. Who knew!

MAJESTIC TALL PEOPLE

Another interesting note, and it’s actually wonderfully poetic, is that people are tall here. I am a 5’8″ chubby gal respectively, and I was always taller than most of my female friends, and frankly taller than half of my OKcupid dates. Here, I’m on the short end of the spectrum. For the most part, everyone is 5’8″ and above, and probably average around 6 feet tall. Long and lean. The majority of people here in Hamburg, at least under the age of 50, have bodies of athletes and models. INTIMIDATING.

But the BEST part… is that every so often, you see someone a foot taller than the rest. When everyone else is 6 feet, there is a 7 foot tall person (men and women) parting their way through the crowd. They walk differently. They move slower. Their heads are slightly elongated. I asked my interesting and captivating Airbnb host, and she mentioned that Germans have deep roots from the old growth forests here. That some of them have tree-blood. I’m no scientist, but it checks out!

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I want to believe.

GERMAN DOGS

Okay, so, I have a long history with dogs. Who can forget the time one bit me on my left buttock when I was 8? Or when dad would bring home these mangy mutts from the golf course? And, rain or shine, dogs from anyone and everyone in America would jump up on me like a moth to the flame.

BUT IN GERMANY? SIMPLY NOT SO.

First of all, dogs 9 times out of 10 aren’t on leashes. They walk ahead of their owners with equal parts confidence and obedience written all over their faces. Like their owners, they STARE, but they do not even THINK about getting in my space. These are the most polite, well behaved dogs I’ve ever seen. In fact, here’s a picture of a dog on a leash because of the sheer novelty of it.

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This brings me to my second observation about these dogs… a lot of them are DIFFERENT looking. I obviously have heard of German Shepards…but there are these wire-haired dogs of all different kinds here. Scrappy, well-behaved, diligent creatures! It’s baffling!

I want to pet a dog already but the dogs don’t want to be pet!

BABIES

Babies are abundant here. Maybe it’s because it’s spring, maybe it’s because people love walking here. I couldn’t say. The thing I could say is that I have seen tons of dads with strollers. Here’s a creepy picture I took of not one, but TWO dads with strollers walking down the street.

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It’s nice to see! I also heard that people get approximately three years of maternity leave here? THINK ABOUT THAT, AMERICA.

Also, people leave babies everywhere. Trying to get your pants tailored? Leave your baby outside. Want a quick beer before heading off? Leave your baby outside. We are not in Kansas anymore.

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Anyways, here’s an abundance of photos that I could not get around to writing about. Things from swan boats, strange squirrels, my bread baby and more.

Maybe next time I’ll have my work permit! Haaaaa!

Sarah

Ents, Obedient Dogs, and Dads with Strollers