Phone call. It’s Melissa.
“Hi,” she says. “Can I come see you today? I can get a flight out of Austin at 5pm.”
Of course I say yes. I assume she is breaking up with her boyfriend because she’s pretty much agoraphobic except for going to the stable to ride her horse or going to the office for her job. Both of which require only sporadic household departures.
“No. Everything is great,” she says. She explains that she has decided to try Adderall. She popped one pill at 9am. At 9:30 she felt a tightening in her stomach and a rush in the front of her head. At 9:50 she called me.
I am upset that she discovers all the good things before I do. When I was 27, why was I not finding fun pharmaceuticals to improve my wellbeing?
1. Judge your pharmaceutical choices by deciding if you attract good people when you are on the medication.
The update from Melissa – besides that she is finding the perfect drug regimen for herself – is that she has a boyfriend.
Actually she moved in with him. Here she is painting his bedroom.
But I don’t want you to think I’ve been holding out on reporting this. I wrote the Melissa-has-a-boyfriend post but by the time I was ready to finish it, they were practically married and the post seemed outdated.
Not that I actually wrote that post. But I thought about it. I thought about it every time some guy would send me an email asking if Melissa is single. I should turn my blog into a dating site because Melissa has had a lot of offers. And I keep thinking I need to write a post about how she has a boyfriend, but then I think, what if the boyfriend doesn’t work out? I don’t want to kill her chances for finding someone through my blog.
She’s 27, and every time she’s at my house and I’m coaching someone on the phone about figuring out how to get married and have kids when they are already 33, Melissa gets panicky and thinks she has to find a husband. And of course I am no help, because I’m a big believer in having all your kids before you’re 35.
So the guy’s name is Steven. And let me just say that among the guys I’ve hated who Melissa has dated, Steven is a diamond. Just a really great guy. And this is saying a lot because when Melissa doesn’t have a boyfriend, I get all her attention, which is really nice. I have the most to lose when Melissa has a good guy in her life. But really, Steven is good.
First, it was actually an uphill battle for Melissa to be attracted to a guy who is not fucked up. Steven had to push really hard for second and third dates. At one point, Melissa told me that she thinks she likes his dog, Hannah, better than him.
He has trained Hannah in that perfect, this-dog-does-anything way. And, on top of that, she cuddles, which was great for Melissa, before she found Adderall. The great thing about Steven is that it turns out that he knew this about Melissa, and he kept it to himself as he won her over.
Also, Steven has a really cool job. He programs video games. This means that my kids love him. They want to record themselves playing Mario on the Wii and put it online. Steven watches this type of video on YouTube all the time, and he has great knowledge about how to set up the recording, so he is a hero to my sons. This is important, because I think my sons might have thought that they were going to marry Melissa.
Another thing I like about Steven is he said he did not want to be on the blog. This is a sign of a sane person. I can go through the list of men who I dated while I had my blog, and there is a direct correlation between how much they loved being on my blog and how much they loved being crazy. This is also a problem, though. Melissa says, “Steven is going to last. So you can’t do anything bad to him on the blog.” This, of course, is a veiled reference to Cullen. Who Melissa is not allowed to mention because Steven is sick of hearing about her ex boyfriends, but it’s my blog, so I can mention them. This is a problem I’m familiar with. The Farmer hates being on my blog. And somehow we navigate through that.
2. If you medicate to stop behaviors and feelings that undermine you, then you’ll find a new ability to make changes throughout all aspects of your life.
So Melissa is here, on the farm, on Adderall and I have to say, I’m impressed with it. (Though I’ve been enthralled with the possibilities of Addrall for a while.)
Melissa has been on anxiety medicine for a few years. When I first met her, she was on nothing. And she was nuts. She was sort of earning a lot of money but completely unattached to the world, sort of floating through jobs, collecting huge paychecks for her eidetic memory which is generally useless but still always intoxicating to potential employers. She was a ball of anxiety. I met her when she was asking me for career advice and I told her to take a long vacation. Like a year. That was my advice.
So you have watched her scale back her life—that’s the story of Melissa on this blog. But as she scaled back her life and medicated herself for anxiety, she ended up spending a lot of time in bed. Asleep.
Not that this didn’t stop me from doing what she did. When my therapist told me that my anxiety was getting in the way of me ever being close to someone, he pointed to the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. He said it carefully. Probably because it might be the most socially unacceptable diagnosis you can have. But he is not the only person to have suggested it.
There is almost always a childhood trauma that causes this mental disorder. And in my case, that is surely the case. So it is not like there’s anything I can do now, except make myself better. So I looked at how much less anxiety Melissa had after the medication, and I got myself some.
Let me just say that after having a diagnosis of Asperger’s and a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, it’s pretty easy to get any medication I want.
So I have been on Zoloft, for anxiety, and it’s been putting me to sleep. And I feel like Melissa. Except that I am not childless, living with a game programmer who adores me no matter what I’m doing. I’m living with two kids and a husband who need me to wake up every day and make the day happen.
So for my family, it’s better for me to be constantly sleepy, but even-keeled and reasonable than to be anxious and insecure and screaming. Which, frankly, is me when I am not on anxiety medicine.
So when Melissa showed up with the Adderall, first I told her she is too bouncy for me.
She said, “No I’m not. I’m my regular self. But without the anxiety.”
3. Don’t be scared of side effects; often they’re a really nice surprise.
She asked me to make her chocolate chip cookie dough. That’s what she eats when she’s here. Out of the bowl. I make her eat it in the kitchen so the kids don’t see.
While I am mixing butter and eggs, she says, “I think I should be an editor. Can you help me get an editor job?”
And she said, “I think I know how to get a company funded.”
I said, “Do you have an idea?”
She said, “No. But you always have ideas. And I know this guy who really likes me and he wants to fund something I’m doing and he likes Lego so much and you are going to the Lego buildoff with your kids and we should get him tickets, too.”
I said, “I am trying the Adderall tomorrow. I’m sick of sleeping.”
And here we are. Both on Adderall. It’s so great. And it suppresses appetite. Neither of us could believe more people don’t use Adderall to get thin. And then Melissa googled and found that it is prescribed for obesity.
Melissa says I should not tell you how great Adderall is because there’s a shortage. There’s a great article in New York magazine about how Adderall is going for $11 a pill.
I tell Melissa there is not a shortage in Darlington, WI. We can get ten bottles here. Wait, maybe this will be our new business.