Making love to big pharma

Yesterday I did something super stupid. Like so stupid it’s really funny.

I was trying a new recipe for making a week’s worth of baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner (obviously). It said to mix a tablespoon of each with a cup of hot water (separately) in two squeeze bottles and shake. So, I put the kettle on, took out two glass jars and mixed away. But when I picked up the jars to shake, they were really hot (because they were full of boiling water). So, I wrapped them in a cloth, shook them and carried them to the shower with me.

Then, I got into the shower and got ready to wash my hair. But the baking soda shampoo bottle was still too hot to hold so I held it carefully by the rim of the jar and proceeded to pour boiling water over my head. I’m such a friggin idiot.

(I probably shouldn’t tell you that I proceeded to do the same thing a few minutes later with the ACV conditioner thinking that it had cooled off enough.)

So now that we have established that I am someone who always looks for alternative remedies, I have to say that I feel an immense gratitude today to Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca.

Now I know lots of people have a lot of problems with ‘big pharma’ and there are many legitimate complaints. But these three companies, together, are saving my life. Not saving, giving – they are giving me a life. They are giving me back myself.

Sometimes I doubt that I really need these medications. But recent experiences have proven to me their worth.

A few months ago I added a microdose of 5 mg of Seroquel to my daily cocktail (of Lamotrigine and Zoloft) and it has made a huge huge difference in my ability to think clearly without knocking me out entirely (like the higher doses did).  Then we started bringing the Zoloft down from 45 mg by 5 mg increments because we weren’t sure if it was adding anything and my doctor didn’t want me on too many different meds. I was feeling great and functioning really well (relatively) for a while. But I guess we went a bit too far down with the Zoloft. So after a few weeks of really bad rage, anxiety and a bucket of tears (mostly mine), I added another 5 mg of Zoloft each day and – wow! Huge difference.

This weekend, I was able to do fun things with my kids and breath at the same time. My son was feeling safe with me and I was able to be there for him. My daughter told me that I was doing a great job not losing my patience (which still makes me sad...). And last night, my husband put his head on my shoulder. These people are the yardstick that tells me how I’m doing.

So, I know that these medications are not right for everyone, and I think that they are over-prescribed and poorly monitored too often. And maybe these companies are exploiting the sick for financial gain or not acting ethically.  But right now, they are saving me. They are giving my children a mother. And for that, I want to say thank you for every single person who works at all of these huge mega conglomerate faceless companies. Thank you.

Thank you to the scientists for developing Zoloft (Pfizer), Lamotrigine (GlaxoSmithKline), and Seroquel (AstraZeneca). Thank you to the research study coordinators for getting these medications approved and making sure that they are safe (enough) for me. Thank you to the project managers and others who made it possible for me to get these medications in Canada. Thank you to the insurance company that pays over $200 each month to buy me these pills. Thank you to the Canadian health care system for giving me free access to a highly qualified psychiatrist who specializes in helping (and balancing medication for) women in the postpartum period.

Thank you to my husband for hanging on while I sort this shit out. And thanks for not minding while I give these companies blow jobs.

Love you. xoxo



I had lunch with my sister today and she commented that my hair looked particularly soft. Then I told her about my burnt scalp experiment and she was like “okay, I’m going to do that tonight – but I’ll let the water cool off first”. Then she said, “So I put one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of baking soda and mix them together with a cup of hot water?” And I was like, “That will make a volcano on your head.” (I think the smarts run in my family.)

There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long... poem by Shel Silverstein


I am scratched teflon

It’s too hard to write here. It’s like writing a horrible sad diary entry and then sending it to all of my friends. I would never do that. Yet, here I am. I have no where else to write. This is my space. I have to continue my story. This is not the time to start fresh.

So I will try to write. I will invoke the essences of playfulness and of courage. and I will hope that by admitting to the hardness and shame of this, I might be slightly empowered over the fear.

(And logistically, I will invoke the essence of patient persistence because the spacebar on this keyboard is busted and o my god, I might kill it.)

But really, Fear.

Isn’t everything we do in our lives guided by fear? What if we could have no fear? What if we could be fearless?

If I were to be fearless, there would be nothing that I would be afraid to lose. I try to do that always. I give away my own dignity so that I can’t lose it. I buy cheap stuff and I purposely avoid sentimental attachments. I pretty much operate under the assumption that any day now my home will burn down (or tornado, or flood, or godzilla) and there cannot be anything I should miss. But people…people are tricky these days.

It used to be easier for me to keep my personal attachments distant. To create relationships where I would remind myself that  people will randomly die or leave my life and I was pretty good at not mourning their departure much. I was like teflon. I couldn’t let anything stick. But you know how a teflon pan is only tough until it gets a bunch of scratches and then it’s actually more useless than a regular pan? Sucks to be teflon…


I really love my kids.

I love my kids so much, I would save my own life for them.                      (I know- it’s fucked up)


I really love olives. Not as much as my kids- they really really love olives! But I digress.

I had never eaten an olive until six years ago. Now I feel like I have to eat buckets of olives just to make up for all those years of my life that I missed out on knowing the joy of an olive. But oops. I got caught up in the joy of eating olives, that I forgot that when the olive famine hits and there are no more olives ever, I’ll actually be pretty sad. I should start cutting back on enjoying my olives now. I need to prepare myself for when they disappear by not having them now.

This love that I’m feeling…it’s like the olives. I didn’t know how much I was missing until I tasted the real thing. And not just for my kids, though it started there, love for my husband, my friends, my mother-in-law… I feel love for my life.

This love feels great, but it also feels terrifying.

What do I do with this feeling of loving people so much that you are terrified of losing them? How do you not let this terror consume you? How can you enjoy a life knowing that any moment it can and will get pulled away.

I had a few weeks?months? of feeling really great. I was really starting to feel like a great combo of my old old self and my new self. My husband became my best friend again. My daughter stopped being so shy. My son was feeling secure. We were all thriving. We even bought a friggin house!

But we kept adjusting my meds and now I’m just so anxious, I have so much rage it is seeping out. I’m snapping at my kids, at my husband, I can’t take care of them, I’m so angry at myself and feeling so useless. I just want to crawl under my bed and stay there. (note: under the bed, not in it.)

I’ve done this before. I’ve hibernated and held my breath and pushed off everyone until the meds kicked in. But this time, I know how good the olives taste and I’ve been gorging on them.  If I stopped eating today, I would be too sad and there would be too many olives and it would make a big mess for everyone else.

Part of me knows that if I had never let myself enjoy so many olives in the first place, people wouldn’t be so dependent on me eating my portion now. But the joy of that sweet sweet love and joy was just too good to wish away.

This pain is painful but that sweetness was wonderful. I think it was worth enjoying it. Why not? Isn’t that what we are here for?

I will just keep working hard so that I can get there again one day. To feel that love and joy and bring it back into my family.

I know exactly what I’m missing and I know the love that I am pushing away when I am short tempered and mean. I hate seeing their faces when they approach me with hesitation not knowing if I’m a hungry lion or a cuddly cub. I don’t want to be that mother. I don’t want to be that wife.

I can’t stand the fear in their eyes and I know that I am causing it.

I hate myself for being this way.