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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Doctor's orders

I took one of those depression-quiz thingies online today, and out of 45, my score was 42. I win at depression! Which I guess means I lose at life right now.

Right now. I'm stressing that. This day is not so good. Yesterday was bad. Today is even so much worse, like you would not believe. And yet I'm hanging on. No choice in the  matter, after all.

My doctor has prescribed, in addition to an increase in the medication that I am not 100% sure is working in the first place, a complete work stoppage for the next two weeks. No work. That means no blogging, which I argued was not "work," per se, but he argued back that it does in fact tax my already limited mental/emotional reserves, which I can't argue with. It is staggeringly hard to think right now. Plus it's like the keyboard designers TRIED to make it harder for us to type. I have to put so much muscle into it!

In addition to not working, I have been commanded to entertain myself like it's my job, until (please yes soon?) the meds are working. I just finished watching "Eat Pray Love" on Netflix. Julia Roberts has such a veiny face! I found the movie smug (not surprising) but diverting.

So while I won't be updating with much of anything for the next two (2!) weeks, I will be checking in. And if you have any ideas for non-challenging, soothing diversions, I am all eyes. And appreciative (if mis-firing) brain. I love you guys. I kind of mean that, like a lot.

Reader Comments (178)

I always like to go back to a favorite book and re-read it. It's not accomplishing anything but simple pleasure. You know the story, you just want to hear it again. I've read the whole Harry Potter series like 5 times, and it was always when I needed to be taken care of/the kid again.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGenevieve

I have a history of depression, once even landing in the loony bin, so I know. You just have to hang on 'til the meds kick in- and they will.
Bubble bath, walks (make yourself go get some fresh air, even if you look and feel like shit), go get a pedicure, browse a books store (but NOT the self help section), chick flicks, fingerpainting, buy yourself some flowers, buy yourself something shiny, talk to friends, sit on your front stoop and feel the sun on your face, read trashy magazines, pull out all your makeup and make yourself look like a tranny, then take pics (just do it, it will make you laugh), draw a self portrait, eat some warm chocolate chip cookies with cold cold milk. Just hang on. Its gonna be ok.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Here are things that diverted me the last time I was in similar shoes:

1. visiting the Botanical Garden. Lilacs, bluebells, roses. Reading on the cherry esplanade. I live nearby and went nearly every day for a while there. Fortunately it was May, not February.

2. The Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon. Bodice-ripping, time-travel, tempestuous Englishwomen...what more could you want?

3. Battlestar Galactica (the new series).

4. Firefly. Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog. Joss Whedon in general.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

In my roughest moments, there are a few things that are sure to make the day more bearable: '80s pop music, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series (but only the first three books, the others make the bad days even darker) and Apples to Apples, which is best played by an intergenerational group. And naps. Lots of them. Good luck to you. I hope the meds changes work quickly!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClair

I second My So Called Life and chocolate and hot bubble baths aplenty. Maybe even all seasons of Grey's Anatomy in a row. All seasons in a row of The Office. First British and then American.

So sorry to hear you're down. Here's to UP soon. Or at least Middle!

I also recommend that you try a little distance from the Internets, just for awhile. Too much out there. Boggles the healing mind.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuse

Feel better soon, Alice. We will miss you here. My advice is to get a really, really good massage. Not a shitty Aveda, froofy crap spa massage, get a blow-your-mind real massage from someone with lots of training who knows how to use their hands.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJojo

So much love coming right back at you! Sounds like your doctor has an excellent idea, and I hope it's doable for you. I so much appreciate your courage in talking about your depression because it helps me understand a little better what many of my friends and family members go through or have gone through. Or what any of us may go through in the future. Or just generally saying out loud that it's good to talk about these things when we can: normalizing, familiarizing, humanizing. Thank you very much for all of that.

My favorite diversions of late on Hulu (I know some of these I'm repeating):
Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dick Van Dyke, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, The Office - old and new, terrible old sitcoms like Silver Spoons, etc.

See you in a bit!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargie

Walk. Plant something, even if it's just a potted window plant. Open the shades & bring some fresh flowers home. Bake a loaf of bread. Get a pedicure... That's my list of 'I need a break' pick me ups. I know its not really the same thing, but maybe those things will add up.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCara

Oh I so hope you feel better soon! Animal Planet is good, children's books are good (Lemony Snicket), and petting the dog until he is tired of you is temporarily not good, but he'll get over it and want to be petted again.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

I would say a spa day (if you can tolerate other people touching you - I know when my depression flares I don't want to be touched). At least one in the next two weeks.

If you are wanting e-books, we have lots. LOTS. Multiplied by 1x10^100000. And I can share.

Also, all the shows that have been mentioned and lots of soft pillows and fuzzy blankets.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Big hugs to you - as someone who suffered through terrible PPD and then battled on and off meds for a few more years I can totally relate. Weaning onto and off meds and changing doses is all a pain the ass, but they will kick in soon!! In the meantime what worked for me - drink lots of water, eat frequently especially carbs (seeriously), easy meals for everyone so you don't have to think about it or do much, and whatever usually would make you feel relaxed and happy with no effort (for me that woudl be reading in bed (especially magazines since you can pick up and put down easily) and watching favourite movies for the hundreth time (again little effort, but lots of laughs)

take care of yourself!!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

We're great friends, although you don't know me. I sympathize w/ your brain woes because, I too, have been dealt a lemon. I know that *you* know, but reading is the best escape - for EVERYthing. May I suggest some Maeve Binchy (and lots of it) or for a non-fiction bent, Nora Ephron is perfect. She knows suck like a girlfriend. <hugs>

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Ash

Hugs, lady.

You've seen this, right?

And if you need a really good laugh, there this book called, "Let's Panic About Babies." It cracks me up every time I read it.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngella

Lift heavy shit.

No seriously, I swear I'm only half a jock. Feel better soon, Alice. You're on my top five list of favorite bloggers. If you had a podcast I'd listen to as much as I listen to JJGo. In fact it was you who told me to listen to JJGo. Those guys are still funny.

Here's my other advice. Catch up on your podcast listening. Judge John Hodgeman; JJGo; My Brother, My Brother and Me. The Maximum Fun empire!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Sending you a hug, and I hope you feel better very soon.

Fresh flowers around the house always brighten my day, especially if they smell good.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterViv

You're not alone, Alice. I recommend watching movies you know and love so much you can quote the dialogue right along with it.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Alice you're my hero. Seriously.

Every time I read your birth story I laugh until I cry. And I thought I'd be over it by the 20th or 30th time I read it. Nope. You are freakin' awesome.

And, you're a freakin' awesome writer.

And, you're a freakin' awesome wife and mother and internet blog online type person.

Hope these meds even out for you soon.

I met MARY ROACH the other night at some talk she was giving in conjunction with Mars exploration (pah, they should have let her talk more) and when I had my picture taken with her I wanted to say "OMG do you know ALICE BRADLEY? She wrote that book you wrote a blurb about and I've read her blog for forever and I knew her before you and isn't she just AWESOME blah blah blah blah." I didn't. But that's all my dumb brain wanted to talk about with her, apparently. =)

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbeck

Diversions are hard to come by sometimes, I know. Do you like to drive? I love driving outside of city traffic. Does water soothe you? If so, can you get to some? A beach, a lake, a river...whatever. A change of scenery helps me a lot sometimes, and right now I feel like if I could get to an ocean that would be super helpful.

I wish I could meditate but it freaks me out when I'm edgy, because, well, you know, my BRAIN IS WEIRD.

Surprisingly, yoga is helping me a lot, but I've found a studio that isn't really hung up on the "right" way to do anything, which is the only way I can swing it. There's a "yoga to de-stress" on Tuesday nights that I leave feeling like it's the best thing I've ever done in the world.

Music is underrated, I think, for its therapeutic benefits. It changes my brain, and a lot of times, for someone who loves it so much, I forget this. I forget to turn on music. How crazy is that?

I feel so much solidarity with you right now, and if there were a way I could reach out of my own morass and help you, I so would.

(And when all else fails, you know, maybe we should both go with the sage thing?)

Pulling for you so hard. But not in a weird, awkward way.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I recommend the following: cross-stitch (taxing enough to stop your train of bad thoughts, but not too demanding). Jigsaws, similarly diverting.
Best prescription: listen to upbeat music, be kind to yourself, give yourself a treat every day (an ice-cream, a magazine), never go to bed during the day, exercise, accept every single invitation to socialise even though you don't want to.
I found the books by Dr Claire Weekes very good.
I'm thinking of you and hoping this passes soon enough.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather G

Alice! Here are some really, REALLY direct ways to feel better:

-Vitamin D (BOY did this put me back on the map, from the depths of depressive hell)

-Get off The Pill if you're on it, as hormonal contraception can totally mess with your moods (another thing I am much happier without)

-Don't eat grains and sugar (I know you know about the sugar thing as I recall you did it once before...remember how great you felt off of it??) (I did this too, and got my energy and even-temper back)

-Exercise! Keep going with it! It'll alleviate depression

-Work in the dirt planting things, but with your bare hands (soil actually carries microbes that make your body release endorphins)

-Don't bother with antidepressants. My dad's a psychiatrist, and I know firsthand that these things don't do much more than carry the placebo effect for a while, hence the constant need for 'adjustment'. The above five things, however, that's where it's at.

Once you've done all this, you probably won't even need other diversions because you'll feel so fantastic, but I still second a lot of the excellent TV show suggestions on here!

Hugs and smiles!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLilana

I wish you strength and lots of sunshine. Hopefully the meds kick in soon!

As for help: the one time I really felt depressed I started reading Bernard Cornwells early medieval historical fiction. It helped because it had absolutely nothing at all to do with my own life, so I could escape into the stories. On the same note: documentaries on natural phenomena, such as vulcanoes and outer space. And science fiction by Iain M. Banks, not very science-y, or at least, not distractingly so, but whole new civilizations on never heard off man-made planets.

Also, I have decided next time I give birth (the first time was *not* the really depressed time referred to earlier, just to clear that up) to make a chart so I can cross off days. I know now it WILL get better, so each day crossed off will bring me a step closer to that elusive day of more sleep and less crying (I cried for at least an hour every day for the first month and those were not happy tears).

Anyway. I hope something, anything, helps, because I love your blog and you make me laugh so loud, that it seems quite unfair those happy hormones are not coursing through your veins. It's as if you've given them away. Well, here you have them back.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatrijn

Go get a massage, eat at 3 restaurants you've been wanting to try for a while (or order take-out), hire a cleaning-lady then take a bubble bath in the cleaned bathroom, and snuggle your son. Modern Family makes me giggle, too. Feel good - hope the meds kick in soon and work.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShosh

Hi Alice! I hope you are already feeling better--it sucks to feel sad but I know you will be okay soon, just take good care of yourself and let your family friends take care of you too.
I recently read a couple of David Nicholls novels and found them engaging but not taxing--maybe just what the doctor ordered, haha (sorry, that was a bad joke.)

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLara


The 6 hour Pride and Prejudice.

And if you don't mind kid movies, Tangled was fun and so was Penelope.

We've loved all the seasons of Big Bang Theory we've gotten to watch so far, maybe that's on netflix if you haven't seen it yet.


Pooh always makes the world seem better. Also, the Moomin chapter books (the cartoons are a little too weird for me).

And do you knit? Care to try? :)

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM.T.

Hi! I've been reading your blog for years, but this is my first comment. Here are some things that always cheer me up when I feel like crap:

Singin' in the rain (and pretty much all musicals)
Princess Bride (book and film)
Don Quixote (the book)
The entire series of 'Parks and Recreation' all in one go! Starts off a bit weak, but gets very funny later on
Kill Bill/Buffy/anything with a woman kicking butt

Or just get a tiny kitten or puppy!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

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