A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Favorite Antidepressant

Modish Biz Tips posted an interesting article the other day. The editor, Jena Coray, had received an inquiry from a female reader. The basic question was, “Do you need a supportive relationship to create a successful business?” The article asked for feedback from both single women and women in relationships. There was an onslaught of responses, from both sides of the relationship aisle.

Pros and cons were reported. Women with significant others said they could devote more time to their business/art if they didn’t have a ball and chain relationship to maintain, but that their mate contributed financially, or provided moral support, or helped with business tasks. Some women said their businesses would be further along if they were single, some said they would not have been able to come so far. Some single women said it would be nice to have someone there to bounce ideas off of, or to help with the bills, or just for more regular emotional support. Some women said they were glad they were single, so they could devote all their energy to their art/business.

I was flabbergasted there was absolutely no mention of mental illness. I mean, come on, how many of those women are on psychiatric medication? Like, half. At least a couple of them are posting comments (on their laptops) as inpatients from their semi-private rooms (with wireless Internet access) in between group therapy sessions. (I mean, they’re artists, right?) I had to roll my eyes. “Oh, my boyfriend has an MBA so his help with my business in just invaluable!” GACK. “Oh my husband is my greatest fan and he does all my shipping and billing and he does my taxes every year!” Big whoop. So—did your boyfriend single-handedly keep you out of the Cracker Box Palace? Did he liberate you from a lifetime of the unfortunate gastrointestinal/hepatic side-effects of lithium? Did he nonchalantly put a stop to your compulsive channeling of Sylvia Plath? Mine did. Hell, he’s probably already prolonged my life by about 20 years. And all he had to do was show up and stick around. Too bad it took me 38 years to find him.

Is a supportive relationship necessary for a successful business? I have no idea. My business isn’t successful. I’m not even sure it is a business. It’s more like a mission from God. Would I be doing it if I hadn’t met Tom? Probably not. I’d be curled up on the couch with my colostomy bag reading over my latest liver function tests. Would I be up shit creek, psychologically speaking, without him? Probably. Would I live? Probably. (See, I’ve been thinking and morbidly planning ahead. Tom is about 14 years older than I am, so if the actuarial tables be true (barring any untimely deaths due to illness or injury) I will probably outlive him and spend several of my latter years without him. I’ve already made a little list entitled “What to Do When I’m Really Old”—stuff I will need to do to keep my head out of the oven. I can't find it or I'd put it in here. I really don’t want to rot away in an armchair the last 10 years of my life, watching reruns of Murder She Wrote on TVLand. I don’t have any kids so there won’t be anyone to blackmail into visiting me or driving me to the urologist. (I’ve thought I might want to ingratiate myself with my friends’ children, like start babysitting a lot-—you know, become an honorary Aunt or something—-but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do that. I threw away all my lithium.) If I have money when I’m old I’ll be able to buy all the happiness I need but I don’t feel comfortable counting on that.)

Wow, I really seem to have strayed off topic. What was my topic?

Oh yeah. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Tom has done wonders for my mental health, just by being there, and being himself. Having been really single my whole life, I didn’t know what simple love, affection and constancy could do for my state of mind, or how much comfort sharing a home with someone who is kind and thoughtful could bring me. And what I would be able to do if I were freed from the weight of all that sadness. Do I need a mate to be successful? Well it sure looks like I need Tom. Thanks, babe. I love you.


  1. oh honey...this makes me smile and cry at the same time. i smile because i know what it feels like to have that and i cry because i know what it feels like to lose it. hopefully i'll be able to experience it again. do i think you need someone to be successful? it depends on how you define successful. i think there are different kinds of successfulness. relationship, family, business, life, being a good person...it just depends on which ones are important to you.

  2. Hear you, sister. Been there! Had it, lost it, had it again...The losing it was sheer hell. The key, as you say, is how each of us defines "successful", and usually we don't have everything lined up the way we want all the time. We have pieces. And our definition is usually dynamic--things wax and wane in their relative importance. And depending on the goal, sometimes a mate distracts and sometimes they contribute. I know I have two unfortunate qualities--I tend to isolate myself, and I'm all over the map emotionally, so sharing a home with someone solid and stable really grounds me and keeps me from being alone too much. I have other issues too (fodder for future posts) but those are the big ones. You're exactly right--you can't, or shouldn't anyway, judge your whole life based on one thing.

  3. I think having a stable partner who encourages you to be your best and pursue what you want is one of the best things ever. I know I would be such an emotional basketcase without Todd. He is my favorite anti-depressant :)