It was the point at which I started crying into the Vegemite sandwiches that I realised that maybe – just maybe – I was losing my shit. Paul put his arm around me as I stood in the kitchen, surrounded by Vegemite and ham and bread and the general chaos of school lunches, and I sobbed and said: “IT’S ALL SO FUCKING RELENTLESS.”
Which, I think you’ll admit, is a slight overreaction to having to make three Vegemite sandwiches. But of course, it WASN’T just three Vegemite sandwiches. FRANKIE has Vegemite sandwiches, breakfast, lunch and tea, day after day, without variation or so help me god. BEN has ham and cheese on white bread – always white bread – and if I try and sneak anything green in it’s rejected out of hand. Alice, who’s on a perpetual quest for Mrs G’s healthy lunchbox award – wants salad sandwiches, with all the trimmings.
I make all the sandwiches the night before, at the same point that I’m trying to make tea, and sometimes, just sometimes, the sight of my kitchen benchtop covered in the entire contents of the fridge, while Frankie takes his sand-filled shoes off on the sofa, and Ben brings 14 different friends home, all asking to sleep over, and Alice begs to watch Ryan’s Motherfucking Toy Reveal on YouTube, I cry into the Vegemite sandwiches.
Or rather, I cried. I don’t cry anymore.
I don’t cry, because I’m on drugs. Prozac, specifically.
Man, that is one under-rated drug (my doctor’s words, not mine).
If you’d asked me a couple of months ago whether I needed happy pills I’d have said no, no! I exercise! I run! I clear my head and breathe in the fresh sea air. My body is a temple and I have no need for your fancy medication. And anyway, won’t it make me fat? But then I went to see my doctor, who began writing the prescription before my bottom had hit the seat, and shooed me out the door towards the nearby chemist. “If you go now you’ll get there before it closes. Go now. Go,” she said, in what I thought was an unnecessarily urgent tone.
And yeah, I googled. I’m 39 years old and I’ve never taken anti-depressants before. I needed to know the side-effects and, yeah, whether they’d make me fat.
Well, it’s been two weeks, and I’m not fat yet. I’m not sleeping brilliantly, but by the same token, I’m not waking up at 3am to worry about the water bill. Basically, I’m just a sleepy hippy.
Guys, I’m so fucking chilled. See – I used the word guys. I’d have never done that a fortnight ago. I feel like Neil out of The Young Ones. I don’t shout anymore. I tried to shout yesterday, when Frankie went skidding across my freshly mopped floor, but it came out as like a “woah, dude, easy does it”. I’m very fucking zen right now.
Technically, Prozac regulates the amount of serotonin in the brain. It is a LITERAL happy pill. The way I see it, my brain had got to the point where it was so full of worry that there was no room left for the serotonin. That shit was leaking out of my ears. I wrote just a couple of weeks ago about all the shit that was on my mind at any given moment – library books and school lunches and uniforms and clean sheets and emails and meetings and Trump and monkeys. These worries were like drunk, uninvited guests at a party, gatecrashing and spoiling the fun for the cool kids who just want to play Jenga. My poor serotonin had sighed, picked up its rucksack and bid me farewell. There was no room at the party for the poor little guy. It wasn’t that I was especially depressed, I was just too fucking worried about Vegemite sandwiches to be happy. I mean, I cried when someone shook their head at me for taking a corner too wide on the way to school. That’s not right. That’s not me.
Prozac has taken the edge off. I still sweat the small shit, but it doesn’t weigh me down as much. I feel lighter, clearer, floatier. I waved at a road rager today. Hello!