the four day pajama marathon comes to an end. . .

it has been a week of blessings.  well hidden blessings, but nonetheless blessings.  it started on monday morning when i was so anxiety ridden, so scared of the world, that i cancelled a doctor’s appointment and lunch with a friend.

the painter hieronymous bosch 1450-1516 painted the garden of earthly delights to represent the chaotic, confusing, overwhelming nature of the universe. well, that is sort of how winnetka looked like to me this week!

tuesday i took another sick day, wednesday i weaseled, and thursday i went to the doctor but only because i had already cancelled one visit and he’s just two blocks away.  when he opened the door to the examining room, i started crying.  i have no idea why.  and he’s a great doctor.  he sat and listened.  to a completely incoherent story about how i couldn’t get out of the house.

but it is a truth so universally acknowledged that it hardly bares repeating but a fifty one year old woman with three day old bedhead and a case of the weepies is a woman in need of an antidepressant.  in this case, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor called lexapro.

“will it make me gain weight?”  i asked.

“all antidepressants will make you gain weight,”  he said.  “oh, and you have to take it every day but it won’t start working for at least two weeks.”

that sent me howling and he did what any reasonable doctor would do under the circumstances.  he excused himself to see if the pharmaceutical representative had left him any samples.  a moment later, he came back in, wheeling on his shoes when he realized i had not yet composed myself.  nonetheless, within a half hour i was out on the street, sniffling as i walked over to conney’s pharmacy to  get the prescription filled.

i stumbled upon my friend david grant who was headed towards the post office.  he gave me a hug.  i asked him if he had always known how incompetent i am.

“i never thought you were incompetent,”  he said.  “you seem pretty put together.”

and that’s the way it is–we all look a lot more competent than we feel.  if we could just remind ourselves every once in a while that we might think we’re poseurs fooling the world.  but so is everybody else.

this morning, i woke up at two o’clock and began cataloging my faults.  it’s a little curatorial habit of mine.  i was supposed to take lexapro in the morning, with food.  it might make me nauseus.  it sometimes causes spontaneous fatality or exacerbation of suicidal thoughts.  i couldn’t get back to sleep. so i read a book.  and then i got up at six and worked out.  and immediately made this video with the help of lisa jarvis.  she works at the fitness center and she is now charged with the task of calling me every morning if i don’t get on the stairmaster by nine o’clock.  when you live alone, as i do, you have to set up some rules. . . .



but the most important rule is to be with your friends.  because they don’t mind your incompetencies–in fact, they purposely don’t see them. . . .

and the lexapro?  not yet, i’m not quite willing to say that everything i did last year could be bested by a little pill.

last year, i faced down a lot of my phobias as part of my resolution to visit all 325 facebook friends--i couldn't even imagine getting on a plane before last year and i think i logged 51 flights altogether. so this is just a temporary backsliding. this is a get back up on that horse and ride moment!

16 responses to “the four day pajama marathon comes to an end. . .

  • Stuart Otway-Smith

    I realy wish that doctors would recommend mediation and mindfulness instead of playing with our minds with chemicals, please feel free to check out as I am certain that some of the audio I have posted there can help you to relax and calm your self =)

  • chikaur

    Bravo . Every day you dont have to get on chemicals is a great day.

  • Edward Summers

    Just a couple of things on my mind. lst, you mention emails. But I can’t find your email address and it is difficult for me to write knowing that so many people can read my comments. Next. You said something above about friends purposely not seeing things that you consider not right. It takes me back to a saying I heard once, “Friends are people that ignore the things that you don’t like about yourself.”
    Next, I want to comment on your video. I think it comes across to me that it was very hard for you to make the video and I’m so proud of you that you did it. I don’t feel sorry for you. I feel sorry that you have this problem that makes for trouble in your life. Understand? I admire you very much and each time that your email shows up in my inbox, I jump over to read it before anything else. You have a way of writing that I feel like we have been friends for years and years, and I only found you a couple of months ago. But the joy I get in seeing I have a message from you is boundless. And even if you are having a bad day, I can empathize with you. Which is what friends do. I guess I’ll stop here or I’ll put in too much that I’d rather others didn’t read. I have a problem with people. I can pretend that they don’t bother me, and yet I have spent so many years ill, that if I have more than three people in my home at a time, I get an anxiety attack that you would not believe. And, being a human with Combat Related PTSD that I’ve had since July of 1968, believe me when I tell you that it is not good for me to be in an anxious state. PTSD takes away your ability to cope. You can only run or fight. And it is incurable. The day a psychiatrist told me that, I thought my life had ended. And then he told me that while I could never be cured, that I could learn to manage it. And I have. A lot of my friends have died and passed away, and i’m still alive and for the most part enjoy life. And having found your writing, increases my enjoyment of life. So I guess, to be truthful, I should thank you from the bottom of my heart for you having the courage to write a blog and lay out all the things that happen to you and the way you feel. I could never find the courage to do that and I’ve faced a lot of bad times and didn’t run. So, as friends do, I end this letter hoping that I”ve said something that makes you feel better. Because that is what friends do. Meds I wouldn’t take for most of my grown life. But finally I realized that without them, I could not go on. I’ve been on and off more seritonin uptakers than I can count. Some work, some don’t. You may have to change what your doctor prescribes in the next month or so. Actually, most doctor’s tell me that it takes about a month, not two weeks for it to actually work. And even then, you may find that it does not work best for you. So, no matter how much you dislike, or even hate taking meds, go with the doctor please. You can always change it if it doesn’t work correctly. Prayers and wishes for you. Edward Summers. P.S. I’d actually rather that after you read this, that you didn’t publish it. Thank you.

  • Julia Kovach

    Arlynn, well done….on every level imaginable, well done, girl. We are so hard on ourselves, but we’re doing better than we realize. Your writing is thoughtful, sensitive, amusing, and has that touch that is your personality and makes it so special. You really got me on this one. You see, I’m a lot like you. Be well. And please, reach out if you ever want to chat during one of these pajama parties. Cuz I’m home on my sofa….xoxo

  • Pink Ninjabi

    Arlynn, you are incredibly brave to be sharing your suffering with everyone. It takes a lot of strength to do that, and I pray that whatever means you find to support yourself, that you do what works best for you (meds or no meds) along with goals, friendship, and AWESOME videos of just being YOU!

    Your honesty of character in sharing the human struggle is SO refreshing as I believe at times we only reveal our masks to each other, instead of how we really feel inside. Doubts are common. Wanting to end our psychological pain is normal. But please just hang in there, and know that it gets better. We all sit, quietly, looking up towards you as our hero in these times where we all battle our fears of some form, and love you for sharing yours with us.

    May we be just as brave as you are, whether it be on the treadmill on the gym or the hamster wheel of life, please continue to remember the kindness you show to yourself, is the gentleness we must remember to have with our hearts.

  • Tony Tyner

    Looking for the right words to say. I don’t know your exact pain, but I do understand it. I’m sure you’ve read a lot of the horror stories of SSRI’s. If you ever want to talk to someone about the good it has done them, I’d be more than happy too.

    When I was in a similar position as you are in, I was talking to a very wise intuitive friend. I said, “I don’t want to take the medicine because it would make me someone I’m not.” He said, “It won’t. It will make you who you are supposed to be.” I won’t ramble on as I have written before and told you some of my details but I’m a believer.

    I will say, since my divorce,(1999) I maintained shared custody of my 4 kids. Had them 3 days a week and every other weekend.
    Raised my youngest since see was 2. She’s now 14… uhoh there I go rambling.. 🙂 Anyway I turn 55 on tomorrow (St. Patty’s Day). Have two girls in college and a boy and girl in high school and am a happy man.

    Whatever road you take remember 3 things.

    1.) NOTHING is set in stone. Our lives and futures are very malleable

    2.) You have a ton of Facebook friends who support you. and remember what Clarence wrote in the book to George Bailey at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”? “No (wo)man is a failure who has friends.” (5000+)

    3.) No matter how hard I try. No matter how many strings I pull, I can’t make the sun rise in the West tomorrow.



    • arlynnpresser

      i am so happy to hear from you! today i made i woke at two a.m. and usually would give in to bad thoughts about myself that would drag me down. . . instead, i read a novel, worked out at six, kept up positive energy during the day and it’s close to midnight and time for me to sleep. . .

      tony, i am trying so hard and you know the heart of it. and what you have accomplished as a father is incredible. .. much love, arlynn

  • blockedtoiletwriter is one of many different ways to approach difficult feelings, rather than resort to ‘quick fix’ medication. You’ll do just great. Remember that you’re perfectly lovely just as you are 🙂

  • Knoob

    I’m with Tony. SSRIs are helping me deal with tough times. It’s a temporary thing and they allow me to look forward to a time when I’ll be able to cope without them. But DO read the booklet and DO make up your own mind!
    Here’s some words stolen from The Shins (I’ve listened to this song 5 times already this morning): “You know that things can really get rough when you go it alone / Don’t go on thinking you gotta be tough, and play like a stone ”

  • living4bliss


    I have been reading your blog and cheering you through your struggles. I struggled just like you and have been able to overcome. You will too. Just keep doing what you are doing and take one day at a time.

    Because you are so inspiring to others, I am giving you a very special blogger award, the hug award.

    You can claim this award at

  • Kenny Sommer

    As you know I I think I have been sober of Orap before that heldol, briefly for a bit over 2 years. Kind of like being on Acid since 6th grade. So my opinion with medicines is biased. Althoug there are some great ones also. Side effects can be so serious you might grab a pen and your mind says put it into someone else. That was luckly one week for me. Look into opc3 made in France, they have a some what similar version at Vietamen store. It is for circulation, axiety, even cancer, lopus,ect. I just started that a few days ago?!!! Now you might be able to get the rx form of opc3 from a doctor but at i think a high cost. Yoga and excersise. be well my friend, did you use those 4 penny’s?

  • Day Thirtyeight: « Stuart Otway-Smith

    […] as a fellow blogger puts it is a Pajama day I am absolutely knackerd from the walking I have done this week every muscle in my body exudes […]

  • howardlovelyjr

    Hi Arlynn,….

    I desire for you to have a fantastic April….!!!
    It’s spring time and you know what that means,… growth.
    New leaves on trees, new flower blossoms, new grass blades and for individuals much like yourself,….new ways of functioning daily, new reasons to smile and new inner-growth.
    So make like a flower, tree or grass and sprout some new growth in your own way.

    Happy April to ya,….

    Howard Lovely, Jr.

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