It’s easy to feel alone in 2020 with the governor’s social distancing mandate. But what happens when you isolate people who are already naturally inclined to isolation? To be honest, I am at times an inauthentic version of myself. Some call it quiet, or shy, or socially awkward, but sometimes I just don’t know how to be with people. We all crave social interaction because we were built for community.
For 7 years now, I have had to explain an FLMA absence due to taking a sabbatical around the Summer Solstice. It’s an unexplainable phenomenon in my medical records and I find it hard to explain my absence to friends and family. Chalk it up to being an eclectic writer who might disappear into madness on occasion like so many writers do ( Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway).
I’m sure we can all agree that I am no Hemingway, yet I feel some semblance of longing for the in-between. I am torn between facing my social commitments and disappearing in my office into a storybook world. Just this summer I have come to realize I am not as alone as I once believed. Many people I know who cary themselves well with the perfect facade do in fact suffer from the same ailments I also face. Some of these people are life long friends, or close family, or even children of people I know. Yet, for some reason we’ve never sat down to coffee and spoken anything real about our true selves. Yes we go to the same parties and talk about business, their 2.5 kids, or politics but never any intimate details about life, love, or longevity.
My husband and I were talking about this the other day. Our culture stigmatizes these things because no one talks about them. No one wants to say I take pills and my pediatrician said I should put my kids on pills too. Yet, we have Woody Harrelson’s brother peddling CBD gummies on television as a “ natural solution to dealing with your kids”. Why Mr. Harrelson, I’m no quite sure if what you are saying is polite, ethical, or medically appropriate.
What I am saying is that we as a country need to have a real conversation. We need healthcare reform and I’m not just talking about who pays for who’s insurance here. I’m talking about the safety and validity of the pharmaceuticals we take and give to our children. Addiction starts with Benadryl. I am part of the Prozac generation and while medicine is real and has value, pharmaceuticals can be dangerous with terrible side effects. The scary thing is that there is a phenomenon called the placebo effect, which accounts for 40% of positive medical outcomes in clinical trials.
Pills are great, necessary, and some of them are quite fun (lets be honest). Truth be told, no pill can fix fear of failure, weight problems, or situational depression. If you hate your job, your spouse and your kids I promise you: going to them in love and hashing it out until 3 am with honesty, trust and vulnerability will do way more good than anything Woody Harrelson’s brother could compound in an RV, Breaking Bad Style.