Wednesday, February 27, 2008


So, apparently, anti-depressants don’t work.

According to the media, at any rate, who are all too happy to discredit SOMETHING as most of the leading presidential contenders have never slept with prostitutes. (except maybe McCain, but that was a corporate lobbyist, although it's a short step from there to whore in my opinion.) The front page of the Independent this morning just about made me mad enough to chuck the paper in the sink and turn the water on (A sure-fire way of killing insidious newsprint) but, as it was not my copy, I didn’t in case my father-in-law still wanted to read it. “Now that anti-depressants have been discredited…” it started.

Hold on, I thought, Anti-depressants have been discredited by WHOM exactly? By YOU, the media, who, as we all know, love nothing better than scaring us to death? By one study at a British University? The fucking cheek! To take something that’s given a lot of hope to millions of people who suffer with depression and dismiss it’s relevance outright is, at best, presumptuous and at worst, irresponsible.

The irony was, I had just scheduled an appointment with my GP to have a chat about getting in on the SSRI goodness not 20 minutes before reading the headline. I toyed with the idea of canceling, because I felt a bit stupid going in and asking for something that the media had, a day earlier, publicly declared to be no better than snake oil. But Mr. DD encouraged me to keep the appointment, if for no other reason than just to have a chat with my GP about it to find out what my options are.

I like my GP immensely. I would like him a lot more if he were easier to get in to see, but the unbelievable stupidity of the “get seen within 24 hours” system which requires you to get on the phone by 8 am exactly and frantically ring back over and over until you get through in the vain hope of actually being able to see YOUR doctor is the subject for another post entirely. I spent a fair amount of time with a really drippy lady GP who obviously just wanted me out of her office ASAP and didn’t listen to a word I said, so I switched over to Dr. Seuss, (Not his real name, but not too far off.) who, it’s become apparent, is the most over subscribed GP in the practice. This is because he’s actually GOOD and you leave his office feeling like you’ve been seen by a doctor rather than a surly medical student with a frat kegger to get to.

After explaining to her how I’d been feeling for the last 4 months or so, he gave me the standard “Are You Depressed?” questionnaire. In my humble opinion, the little quiz is worth precisely bupkis due to the fact that most people who are mildly or even moderately depressed often feel a bit silly answering the question, “Do you experience persistent feelings of doubt or self worth or feel that you have let down your family?” with the answer, “Yes, all the time”, because, quite frankly, it sounds a little melodramatic considering how you ACTUALLY feel, which is just kind of a low level of lethargy, difficulty in getting motivated and sort of general disconnectedness from everyday life. Dr. Seuss was quite sympathetic and wasn’t convinced by the effectiveness of the test either, but was required to complete it for paperwork’s sake.

I actually scored just below the recommended level for actual honest-to-god depression, which in itself was rather depressing. However, Dr. Seuss was still prepared to start me on a course of anti-depressants if I wanted, as it had been going on so long. After speaking a little further, I agreed to try 6 weeks of alternative therapy with St. John’s Wort, but after that time, if the situation was no better, he’d give me the good stuff.

I was satisfied with that, honestly. I took a course of SJW in college when I was suffering and it seems to make a small improvement, but with herbal remedies especially, you can never really be sure. So, knowing that I still have a lifeline if it doesn’t work made me happy enough to give it another try.

Just wanted to thank you ladies for all the support and good vibes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Out Of Doors

Now that the days are beginning to feel vaguely spring-like on this side of the Atlantic, we thought it would be nice to introduce the Prawn to the Great Outdoors. Namely, the bit of it that exists just across the street from our flat on the village green. While the Prawn already has one spring and summer under her belt this will be the first outdoor friendly season that she will be mobile, so we thought we’d get a head start on Sunday due to really quite bizarrely mild temperatures.

We thought the playground might be a good place to start as the Prawn has shown a fondness for rough and tumble play. I had afternoon tea with my friend the Danish Muffin last week and saw that her little boy, Cone-ass the Barbarian, had one of those canvas tunnels that he enjoyed crawling through. The Prawn looked positively enthralled, but slightly reticent to join in due to the fact that Cone-ass is a year older and much more rambunctious that she is. (He was all like, “What the hell are you doing? Crawling? What’s THAT about? On your feet, soldier!” and kept trying to drag her around by her hands.) At any rate, I thought she’d enjoy a tunnel of her own, so I picked one up from Argos for about 10 quid. After an initial flat refusal to enter, putting the Sky remote at the opposite end had the desired effect. I swear that TV remotes act as crack for babies. They simply can’t get enough of them, no matter WHAT banquet of expensive playthings is laid out before them. She loves the tunnel now and comes charging through, laughing like a madthing if Mr. DD or I pokes our head through at the other end.

There’s something vaguely depressing about an empty playground, especially on a weekend afternoon. The combination of the rugby and the football saw to that. There were 4 urchins kicking around a football that had seen better days, but other than them, we had the place all to ourselves. However, we hit upon a snag almost instantly.

The Prawn hates playgrounds.

I imagine that this is a phase that will pass, cause dude, kids love playgrounds. I have many a fond memory of palms blistered from hours on the monkey bars or being sick during language arts because I spent all of recess being spun round and round on a tire swing. Good times. My guess is that we took Her Prawness slightly to close to naptime and were therefore assured the crankiest possible reaction. The swings, as you can see, produced the most definitive result. Even after both Mr. DD and I demonstrated that swings obviously rule by swinging on them ourselves, the Prawn was unconvinced and ratcheted up her dislike to LipCon 5, as you can see.

Now, I totally want to instill great virtuousness in my child and laughing at others pain is certainly not something I want to encourage, but it is difficult to stifle guffaws when a person the size of a wastebasket pulls a mug like this.

Things got no better when we decided to let her have an explore on her own. I suppose, for someone who’s never really put their full body weight on damp ground before, the experience might be less than pleasant. The Prawn steadfastly refused to move an inch on the dirt, raising her chubby little arms above her head in order to be liberated from her predicament.

Admitting defeat, we finally traipsed back inside, dreaming of warmer weather and a bi-pedal Prawn who will enjoy the outdoors. Maybe minus the mud.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Just a dose of the cute.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prawny B. Goode

At 10 months and 3 weeks, the Prawn has finally said her first definitive word.

Several weeks ago, Mr. DD was ready to call it for “Dada” and I had to admit, there was compelling evidence. The Prawn pointed at him and said, “Dada!” However, as the days went by, it was apparent that she was rather indiscriminate with the word, using it to describe not only her father, but her pacifier, BB King and the oven, so Mr. DD grudgingly agreed to take back his earlier, “official first word” call.

However, today, it has become much more obvious that she now has a word for a common household object.

Well, at least it’s common around OUR house. The fact that it’s her first word is not all that surprising.




I think Mr. DD is almost as pleased as he would have been with "Dada".

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sick and Tired of Sick and Tired

I’ve never been reluctant to talk about stuff on this blog. With a sympathetic readership there’s very little that you can’t talk about up to and including the very personal private personal functions of your very own personal private ladyplace. It’s a little harder, however, to go into the realm of feelings without sounding like a complete tool. Other people are quite adept at talking about feelings, but given the choice, I’d probably far rather make jokes about my period or something.

At any rate, my feelings have been bothering me in an itchy rash kind of a way lately. I guess it’s no secret that depression is pretty common among women my age and I’ve kind of struggled with bouts of it on and off since late high school. (Although back then, it was probably just more about the fact that this girl I was friends with totally wasn’t talking to me and my boyfriend was sneaking around behind my back and OMG, I TOTALLY CAN’T GET MY HAIR TO DO WHAT I WANT IT TO.)

I had the obligatory health visitor questionnaire 10 weeks after the Prawn was born. Was I a) happy all the time, b) happy most of the time, c) sad most of the time, d) sad all of the time or e) so sad I’m thinking about hurting myself or my baby. The lady who administered this rather drippy test smiled apologetically at me as she asked me to answer. “I think as long as it’s not e, you’re pretty much par for the course at this point,” she admitted. Strangely enough, when the Prawn was smaller and more stressful in terms of care, I felt just fine. Apart from the first 5 weeks when I was convinced that my life was over and could go from 0 to crazy in 0.2 seconds flat, and alarmingly, that’s how I’m starting to feel all over again.

My main symptom is the low level feeling in my gut that I’ve just been given terrible news. I’m pretty sure just about everyone knows this feeling, although I imagine that it’s different for everyone- The kind of sad that just kind of seeps into everything you do. I will cry at the drop of a hat. This is especially embarrassing in the gym while on the treadmill and an NSPCC ad (for those of you in the States, a large child abuse prevention charity.) will run on MTV or something and I have to yank my headphones out and look away. (By the way, what do you reckon they do to the children in those commercials to make them look as if someone has just brutally murdered a puppy in front of them?) Absolutely anything having to do with children suffering at all makes me totally nuts. That photo of the baby being tossed from the apartment building in Germany? I was a gibbering wreck in front of the television. Oxfam ad? NO THANK YOU. Seeing any more pictures of crying, malnourished babies will keep me under the bed for a week. I cried the other day while reading the Prawn a book. About a snail and a whale. Why? BECAUSE WHALES ARE ENDANGERED. The Prawn was all, “Pull yourself together, woman!”

The worst part about it is trying to be “on” for her when all I want to do is curl up in a ball on the floor. Of course, this compounds the existing depression with the feeling that I’m being a terrible mother, which is just the cherry on top of the whole shit sundae. I suppose I can thank my lucky stars that I have never considered hurting her or myself due to whatever chemical fuckwittery is occurring in my head. I just feel bad. All the time. Pure and simple. As stressful as life with the Prawn is sometimes, I really don’t feel like she’s the source of my problems. If anything, she’s become more of a joy to parent as she’s begun to be a sentient human being who knows where her nose is and enjoys stealing things from other children. She’s hilarious.

Mr. DD is awesome about it, but it’s hard for even him to understand what goes on in the mind of a depressed person. For anyone who’s never struggled with it, it must be terribly frustrating to watch someone you love feel bad and have them tell you that it’s not your fault, but there’s nothing you can really do to help. The one thing that he HAS been able to do is give me the freedom to go out every now and again. I’m going with my brother and sister in-law this evening to see “Sweeny Todd”, which I’ve been clawing at the door to see ever since I saw the first trailer. A story of murder and a broken family may not be the ideal choice to suit my present mood, but hopefully the fact that two of my favorite movie crush-boys are in it (Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman. Yes, really, Alan Rickman. Seriously, Sense and Sensibility, anyone?) will mean that I can enjoy my little tub of Ben and Jerry’s (carefully saved up for this week with WW points. Oh yes, did I mention I’m dieting as well?) and try to feel like a normal human being for the evening.

Thanks, internets, for being my sounding board.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Getting a Head Start

There is a reason that I don't go out of my way to go to the large Tesco Extra on the side of Aylesbury that's a pain in the ass to get to. And it is not, as it may seem, that it's a pain in the ass to get there, but rather that when I go, I come home with scads of useless crap that I didn't set out to buy.

The clothing is usually my downfall, either for myself or for the Prawn. I mean, who doesn't need another plain black shirt? For 5 quid? Or a super-frilly something to re-enforce a gender stereotype for my daughter? However, while perusing the racks yesterday, (which are likely straight out of a factory in Thailand who's workforce should be out at recess rather than operating sewing machines) I came across this abhorrent piece of fashion sputum in the Prawn's size.

Strangely enough, Tesco on-line does NOT have a photo of the offending item. I only found the picture of it due to the outrage of another blogger. In an age where scientists are finding the on-set of early puberty in girls as young as 8 being more and more common, do we REALLY need the body hate to start at 3-6 months?