Every evening, around nine o'clock, I reach inside the bathroom cabinet and withdraw two thin rectangular packets. Sometimes I do this after I've sighed at my face in the cabinet mirror, or brushed honeying teeth, or exfoliated prickled cheeks in time for sleep. In each packet there is a blister foil containing little white pills of different doses. I hold two, one round, one oval, on the palm of my hand, press them inside my mouth, bend my head under the running faucet, and swallow. Over twelve months its been of this medicated ritual.
I would like to say these pills make me taller or smaller, or partial to erudite advice from a hookah smoking caterpillar. Sadly not. Their job is one of equilibrium and stiff upper lip - to boldly weather motherhood. In short, they're supposed to keep me on the straight and narrow. Happy.
I fell down the rabbit hole. I was too tired, too anxious, I didn't see. I floundered, tumbled head long into darkness, blind, inside an inky wonderland of demons and nightmares and absence of sleep. It wasn't Little A's fault. She knew no better. No, it was simply a lapse in chemistry.
The choice wasn't to be had; those two white pills in the palm of my hand.
Am I depressed still? It's hard to tell. I laugh. I cry. I feel, glad I'm feeling...something. I still ride the anxiety, ambushing in the unlikeliest of moments; during the short walk to preschool, emptying the bins, unpicking the plug hole.
But I seem to have lost my ability to think. Either clearly. Or consciously. I cogitate with the gut, not the brain. And that's how I write; with the stomach. The food goes down, up come the words, the images, belching their way into awareness. I had no idea digestion could wield such bursts of imagination. So I'm eating more, quite a bit more. More biscuits. More chocolate. The sugar helps the word count. Or I'm simply bored...
I've forgotten that vivid chamber of clarity, of having a certain mind. I think my skull is leaden with syrup. What if I were to come off the pills? What then? Would I think better? Write faster?
But I can't come off them. Not yet. I can't risk the symptoms. It's savage, matured with age. Hell is the week before my period. No, I simply can't do it. Maybe when I'm past fifty, and there's no more blood and eggs...
...Or I might try lowering the dosage.