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MidAge Mom is for women who are parenting in midlife rather than celebrating the empty nest on a beach in Bali . . .

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Rip Van Winkle

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I remember nothing.

During the past three years I’ve been experiencing severe anxiety and depression. And I don’t know if it’s the depression or the electroshock (ECT) treatments I’ve been getting since last summer, but I remember little from this anxious period. (Both ECT and depression affect memory.)

Now that I’m getting better, I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle waking up to rediscover an old self and life. Every day my husband tells me about a past event that I have forgotten. Or I have to relearn a skill I once knew. Or I need to thank somebody for doing something that I don’t recall. It’s a bit disconcerting, to say the least, and at times frustrating.

For instance, up until a few weeks ago I had no idea how to access this blog, to which I hadn’t posted in three years. I had to contact my website designer for help and learn WordPress all over again. Ditto everything else on the computer.

I have friends whose visits I don’t recall, and took a family trip to Colorado last summer that I don’t remember. A bunch of new clothes I bought there are hanging in my closet. But I can’t recall a single thing about the vacation. (My husband  says we should have stayed in a cheaper hotel since I can’t remember the fancy one.)

For reconstruction of the Colorado trip and just about everything else that has happened in the past three years, I’ve had to rely on my husband, whose memory is razor sharp.

Memory is essential to a sense of self, and I’ve missed mine. If it weren’t for my little rituals  I  would have lost my bearings entirely. In many areas of life, I’ve had to start over again or abandon ship. When I found some old to-do lists recently, I just laughed and put them aside. It looks like I’m going to have to hire someone to install and teach me Twitter, which I used to operate perfectly well but now cannot make function.

And it’s not like I sit down to the computer and any of this comes back to me on its own, which is what I thought would happen when I started to feel better. The past three years are gone, and I cannot get them back.

But what’s exciting is that as the depression and anxiety pass, a sense of self and the ability to recall is returning. If I can’t remember what happened last year, I do remember last week and all the details of two lunches I had recently with girlfriends. Yesterday I got my hair done for the second time in three years. As a result, I even look like my old self now, with blonde highlights covering the profusion of gray. And though I can’t remember buying them, I’m enjoying wearing the new clothes from Colorado.

I’ve lost three years to anxiety and depression, but I’m so grateful to feel better that I don’t care. Who knows – maybe it’s just as well that I don’t remember some of it. From my husband’s description, it wasn’t pretty. I had stitches and was hospitalized several times. The holidays were apparently pretty subdued.

Somehow I think that this Christmas is going to be different.

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Have you ever suffered from anxiety or depressionShare by commenting below!

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3 Responses to “Rip Van Winkle”

  • Nancy:

    My dear friend, one thing you didn’t forget is how to write! It is so good to hear your voice again on this blog. What is in the past is in the past. March forward with a smile. You will hear stories from others that will make you laugh, cry and ponder. Just know how much you are loved.

  • Kaylee:

    I am amazed by your courage Jennifer. I look forward to watching your next steps since your open heart will allow others to heal and to reach out for help. Keep writing!! ??

  • Kaylee:

    Those ?? We’re a typo –keep writing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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