This is the season when, if you have pills, take them. If you don’t have them, get them.
You can buy St. John’s Wort and other alternative antidepressants at the health food store. Or you can get prescription drugs. As far as I can tell, anybody can get prescription antidepressants. One tenth of adults in the U.S. take antidepressants, according to the CDC.
The holiday depression is partly because of my mother’s recent death.
Last year I bought her a tall hideous stuffed snowman at Walgreen’s, the kind of thing she very much liked. My sibling moved it into a corner out of sight. “He said it might catch on fire from the radiator,” my mother said. We both laughed very hard.
The truth is I didn’t see enough of her. Every time I went to the nursing home I came home and bathed, washed my hair, and washed all my clothes because it stank. Doris Lessing writes of the smell of incontinence and old age in Diary of a Good Neighbor. She writes,
I was full of revulsion. The sour, dirty smell was in my clothes and in my hair. I bathed and washed my hair and did myself up…
I knew exactly what she was talking about.
So I was a good enough daughter, but not good enough if you know what I mean.
In many ways, my mother was the last person who loved me. I don’t mean “likes,” but actually loves. Mothers may dislike us as young women, but they approve of us after a certain age. We wearily look each other over and know who is who, what is what.
Unlike me, she made very good Christmases. “Gifts are fun.” One year she gave me a beautiful patent leather billfold. “Where did you get that?” everyone asks. And before her house was dismantled, I found two boxes with the same billfold, bought for and rejected by her grandchildren. It was one of her many sorrows, that she couldn’t give them anything they liked.
For years she sent me warm clothes–some I couldn’t possibly wear, like the white sweater with the faux fur collar–but the meaning was M-o-m l-o-o-o-v-v-v-es K-a-t-h-y! So you’ll still see me in the fleece jacket with the reindeer design. No, I wouldn’t have bought it for myself!
Stay married, she always advised during the holiday season. (She got divorced the week before Christmas, poor woman.) You don’t want to break up over Christmas. No, indeed. But it can be a slippery slope: your mate may turn into a serpent, a Minotaur, a griffin, or far worse. He won’t be giving you a patent leather billfold or a white sweater with a faux fur collar, now will he? (And now let me put several emoticons here so you won’t take me too seriously: 🙂 🙂 🙂 )
Just listen to a LOT of rock music over the holidays because it makes everything easier. Although I can’t say “Because the Night,” written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen, is appropriate for the season, it should distract everyone and put him or her in a more affectionate mood.
Here is a video version with Bruce Springsteen and Michael Stipe. Totally different styles, but it’s great to see them together. Intense Springsteen and his band do what I call “the Trojan horse” movements onstage. (It always looks to me as if rock bands are forming a horse; don’t ask me why.) Stipe has a different elegance. I love Bruce’s sweat and Stipes’ dancing!