I decided I no longer “do” stress, anxiety, depression or their overly common cousin drama.
My philosophy is to celebrate life — celebrate meaning, according to the folks over at Dictionary.com: “having an uninhibited good time.” Why am I choosing that life path? Because someone needs to. Seems to me, the Universe is a little out of balance.
Late in 2011, the CDC reported that 23% of all American women between the ages of 40 and 69 take antidepressants. Yes, you read that correctly: almost one quarter of all women in the prime of their lives rely on happy pills to get them through the day. I haven’t been able to find an update on those numbers yet. I can only imagine it’s because the data collectors are weeping in a closet somewhere, fearful to go outside and conduct a follow-up study only to find the number has grown.
As unsettling as that statistic may be, it’s downright disturbing to realize there are even more women out there relying on alternate means. Exactly how many, I’m not sure. I’m having a tough time finding data regarding the daily usage of anti-anxiety medicines. Nor has anyone reported how many use something like Ativan to take the edge off so they can sleep. No one can tell me how frequently herbs or other over-the-counter supplements are relied upon to ease the nerves of our society. And the jury is still out on how many supermoms like me enjoy (need?) a glass of wine before bed to help them calm down.
But it seems to me, if you put all those women together – those taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines, herb specialists, wine enthusiasts, etc. – it would be easy to guestimate that at least a third of all American women are doing something to help them cope with the negative feelings they are chronically experiencing in their lives. A third!
What percentage has to be afflicted before we can say there’s an epidemic? Wouldn’t a third qualify?
Whether or not it does, something needs to be done before those numbers grow. Which is the purpose of this site – the essays, the recipes, the attempts to encourage laughter – are meant to help us remember not to take ourselves so seriously. All of us need more levity, more humor, more relaxing times and more reminders of what’s good in life, to balance us out.
We need to eat delicious, wholesome food often enough that when we’re carpooling between dance lessons and soccer games we don’t feel guilty for feeding our kids convenient, fast foods for dinner. We need to remember we don’t always have to feel frustrated when stuck in traffic but that sometimes traffic jams are great opportunities to enjoy the sunset, to practice meditative breathing techniques, or even do Kegel exercises. We need to find and share books that make us laugh and feed our souls, and at least occasionally read them instead of watching the news (which does neither). We need to find humor in the silliness of what constitutes a modern life, because really, it’s downright hilarious if you can just find the right perspective.
In short, we need to learn: when life gives us lemons, we don’t have to settle for making lemonade; we can add a splash of vodka and throw a party.
Please join me in my crusade to discover new ways to celebrate our lives regardless of whatever kind of absurdity, chaos or drama may be in our midst. And let’s (re)discover the joyful women (girls) we always wanted to be.