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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

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Sleep Is
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Let's Panic

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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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Wednesday
May112011

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'm sorry that you're in this place. You will get back out.

When I'm sad, or sick, or sick and tired, or it's cold out and I feel like hiding, I put a million blankets and pillows on the couch and watch the Star Wars movies. I think any series of movies that you can periodically fall asleep to works. Snuggling with pets and eating warmed baked goods are also helpful.

Good luck :)

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

This is perhaps a rather bizarre suggestion, but both Weeds and Friday Night Lights, which can be watched in their entirety on Netflix, can always make my brain shut off, no matter how determined it is to stay on its Hamster Wheel o' Depression.
Feel better.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBethany

Aw, Alice, I'm so sorry you're going through this. I subscribe a hefty dose of Angry Birds (surprisingly soothing) and maybe read All Creatures Great and Small. Oh, and watch the BBC miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice. I mean, hi, Colin Firth.

Feel better. I'm thinking about you.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmblus

Oh goodness. Hugs to you my friend. And I'd recommend all the typical (awesome) things -- yoga, mani/pedi, massage... :-) xoxo Christine

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBoston Mamas

THANK YOU! Smug is EXACTLY what that movie is and I just couldn't find the right word for it. Probably why you're a writer and I am no :) Get well soon. Maybe you can get your son's class to make you some get well soon cards. That's more of a distraction for them, not you...but still. Hurry up and work meds!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Hugs and smoochies. Follow doctors orders. Sending good med-activation thoughts.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuthWells

Take full advantage of your prescribed time off. Pedicures, museums, movies, and reading. Do what you fancy that you usually don't make time to do! Do you have a crafty hobby? If not, try one out. If you don't like it, scrap that idea and try something else. Take a mini vacation. Sleep in. If it isn't fun just don't do it. How often in life will you get a change to just do whatever you want?

Sending you thoughts and happy vibes. Depression sucks.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

I'm thinking of you and hoping you feel better soon. If I needed me time, I would go to the botanical gardens. At least, that is what I would do here in St. Louis. I'm assuming the NY version is accessible!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Isn't it funny how a big (happy!) milestone like publishing a whole book can somehow result in a period of suck? I'm so sorry you feel shitty right now!

The Eat Pray Love book was pretty good if you haven't read it yet. And there's a sequel! Which I just discovered. Also a little wine? Or good chocolate? Or Food Network? (Perhaps) sadly, these are the big pleasures in my life. But they make me feel better. Hope you feel better soon, too!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarahd

Aww, hope you feel better soon Alice. You're one of my favorite writers.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Learn to make bread? It's nice to squish between your fingers, and then you bake it and the house smells nice, and then you slice off a piece and smear it with good butter. If you'd like an easy tasty white bread recipe, let me know.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermagpie

Have you seen every episode of 30 Rock half a dozen times? I'm down with that. Also, the West Wing or the Gilmore Girls. My favorites of all time. You can get the 30 Rock at least on Amazon On Demand. Or most of the series is on Netflix instant. hmmmm... Non-screen things. Is there a pottery place near you in Bklyn? Maybe you can make a thing or at least paint a thing? Go bowling? Love me some bowling. Mini golf? Actual golf or the driving range? OOH! Get thee to a boardwalk and play some skeeball!! There must be some sort of skeeball that is nyc subway accessible. Wish my doctor would bench me for a few weeks! I have so many ideas! But I'm also pregnant so I won't actually wish that.

Love you, Alice. You're wonderful and I'm so glad you're taking care of yourself. xoxoxo

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

One more chiming in to say that you are not alone. I've been there, too, and I hope the dark cloud lifts for you very soon. My recs:

- Dogs In Elk (if this doesn't make you laugh or at least produce a small smile, you're in trouble): http://tabletalk.salon.com/webx?14@@.ee90352/1317

- Nature - sunshine, greenery, water, etc. If you can't face a long walk, do a short walk with a specific destination (ideally a reward, such as Starbucks). Or go to a park and just sit there and watch the birds and squirrels and people with sunshine on your face.

- Any movie or book you've loved in the past, especially when you were young. There's something about reopening a book you loved when you were 10 or 12...each sentence will be familiar because it wore grooves in your brain long ago, and that's so comforting.

- Up (the movie), Wallace and Grommit (the TV show or the movie), or similar animated things.

Do not watch the new Battlestar Galactica right now. It's too much of a downer. Also stay away from news and the computer.

Sending lots of love (in a non-creepy way) and good vibes.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSiri

Lots of guilt free naps, and all the things that make you feel like love is embracing you. Sounds corny, but a couple of David Serdaris stories can do that for me. I've been consuming the show 'Weeds' on Netflix like they're cookies lately for my 'funk'. Most of all, go easy on yourself, you're truly worth it. And for what it's worth, your words have helped me feel that the world is a pretty O.K. place with some pretty great people in it when I've felt like the lowest of the low. I thank you for that. Take good care, Alice Bradley.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

Augh, wrong link for the Dogs in Elk story! Try this one: http://web.mit.edu/munch/Public/humor/elk

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSiri

Please take good care of yourself! We will miss you and look forward to your triumphant return...

In the meantime, I don't know if you are be-iPhoned, but I newly am and am enjoying the crap out of a piano/music app called Smule Magic Piano. You can get a new free song every week or invest in some smulebucks or something - it works like a de-stressed Guitar Hero - the notes come down in rhythm as little points of light and you touch the screen to play them, so you can go as fast or as slow as you want as you learn your way around.

I also recommend a coloring book and a box of crayons, and a puzzle with more than 1000 pieces. No joke, when I get depressed and can't move I turn back to the arts and crafts of my childhood.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMKP

~hugs~

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramy

Alice, you are awesome. Don't listen to the voices in your head that tell you otherwise. Your presence on Earth brings joy to many people. I know that's true because I am one of them.

Personally I find that aimless walks in sunny parks tend to improve my mood, in the Spring. Maybe it's the Vitamin D.

Also I have been meaning to tell you since your last post that, as a person who also struggles with a total lack of physical grace (I still have nightmares about being picked last for kickball) I urge you to make peace with your inner klutz and forgive her. Make a new rule that, as exercise should be both fun and good for you, you are no longer allowed to beat yourself up about not being a sports goddess.

For all you know, your Crossfit coach lies awake at night wishing he were a better writer.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaelithe

oh Alice! I hope you are feeling better soooo sooooon.
when I am too depressed/distressed to do anything, I like to kick back with netflix and man versus food. or scrubs. or terrible documentaries about people who grow illegal-ish drugs in california.
also, I just got an iphone and am LOVING the game pocket frogs - it gets five stars for total distraction/diversion....how DO I KEEP ALL MY FROGS HAPPY!?!
thinking of you.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

I don't have any great diversion ideas, but I thought I would let you know that I'm hoping you start to feel better soon. Best wishes.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Ah, I just tapered off one drug and onto another. Painful as hell. These kept me quite amused though:

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/05/american_idol_tompkins_lady_ga.html

Hope things settle in and ease out for you. I don't suppose you could have a hammock installed in your living room? I think that would be really helpful!

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternicolefrancine

Oh, you poor thing. I say get out and take a walk for a free, stress-reducing activity. Do it every day, whether you want to or not. Even if you only walk around the block once, you'll probably feel a smidge better.

For movie diversions, I put on John Hughes and John Waters to feel better. Oh, and a little gem called Tin Men, but I'm a wannabe Balti-moron.

PS. Smug is the perfect way to describe Eat. Pray. Love., and Julia Roberts.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMsJoanie

Bubble wrap. The pink kind, with the extra-big, somewhat firm bubbles. Very satisfying.

Papier- mache is also nice. Especially if you use warm water to mix the wheat paste.
Warm goo, tearing paper, a little low-pressure creativity (no one expects a papier-mache masterpiece). Good stuff.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterroo

Hang in there, woman. It DOES get better. Promise! And if you have any side effects from the medication, keep taking it. They go away. Stuff to do: watch movies (not sad ones!), read, do crossword puzzles, go for a walk, eat fresh fruit. We will miss you, but understand. Take care of yourself.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNissa

Much much love to you in your pain. May the meds and brain chemistry work well and quickly...

On the distraction front - do whatever works for you from all out suggestions, and anything that doesn't - stop, marvel for a moment that that actually worked for someone else, and toss it over your shoulder. If something works for you, do a lot of it!

Stuff that works for me (many things already mentioned!): Massage and/or cuddling, whether with cat, dog, child, or cutie. In fact, I find my cat to be a great listener. Journal, but only on paper, and only if you feel really called to do it. Not for us. If you feel called to do it for YOU. Making things with my hands - for me, that's knitting, embroidery, quilting, but also baking (BREAD!), play-doh, clay, or even better - beeswax (it warms up in your hands, makes you smell nifty, and there is no way to do it badly). Games, but only if you really dig them. Walking, sunshine, and nature. The Cloisters. Zoo. Reading: Mary Roach, for sure! Romance, classics or kid lit - whichever floats your boat. And TV/Movies - ahhh. I like to rewatch an old tv series - Gilmore Girls, West Wing, really anything Aaron Sorkin (have you watched Sports Night?), anything Jane Austen, recently I had a filmfest of Kevin Smith (probably idiosyncratic to helping ME cheer up).

You can also enlist your friends to deliver things to you if you can't face the outside world. Flowers, games, movies, blankets. If you're feeling up to it, have lunch with friends. Let your choices be individual to YOU.

And know you're loved. Truly, you bring joy and uncontrollable laughter to others, often, and we only want the same for you.

Big virtual kisses and hugs.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary

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