Nadia Bolz-Weber beat me to it. Damn it. In Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the Wrong People, she writes of Frances, her depression. Wait. No. I’m the one who has that horrible voice and feeling and intruding asshole with a name. But she’s already famous, has an audience, and was the creative one: she named her depression, my therapist (who I will refer to as Eileen) named mine:
. . . at one point in my life, my own depression had felt so present, so much like a character in my life, that it had actually felt right to give her a name. I named my depression Frances because she moved in with me around the same time as the birth of Frances Bean, the daughter of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain. But I picture my Frances as Courtney Love herself: emaciated in her torn vintage nightgown and smeared lipstick. (86)
So I don’t know who the hell Courtney Love is/was. Never heard of Frances Bean. But really? Was Nadia Bolz-Weber listening in on Eileen and me in 2014? Accidental Saints wasn’t out for my therapist to steal such brilliance, so, obviously, this Bolz-Weber lady is the one guilty of plagiarism.
My depression is named Heloise. Eileen highly dislikes that name. Emaciated or overweight, I don’t recall, but Heloise is not a pretty picture: she blows cigarette smoke over the fence into your face, she has curlers in her hair, she’s that pissy neighbor you can’t help but guiltily wonder when she will move out or die. But she has been around for-fucking-ever. She’s up in your business reminding you how stupid and useless you are, how you’re wasting oxygen by being alive. She sometimes even makes you cry, which really pisses you off. Despite her appearance of being untrustworthy and snake-like, you believe her. Every word. Her voice carries across your yard and around your home, screeching into your ears, so you go inside. Lock yourself away. Just to find that her voice echoes around your head like an arcade ball.
Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Frances has an issue with Wellbutrin: “She’s a bit of a dope fiend, Frances, but it ends up there is one drug that she doesn’t like. It’s called Wellbutrin. Two weeks after my therapist prescribed it, the bitch was gone.” That is not fair. “But not for good.” That’s better.
Heloise doesn’t like a lot of things: Lamictal, Abilify, Lithium, Prozac, and Adderall. All mixed together. Yet I still live in fear of her. She has a cousin (I think they’re married, perves), the kind that elicits hypomania. Name? I haven’t gotten that far. Alex, maybe. Just like the little bastards that tortured me all sixth grade. If she can’t get to me, her cousin will. They’re always plotting and manufacturing manners in which to outsmart my pharmacy.
They are why I’m supposed to wear a life jacket. According to Eileen. Put on that goddamn life jacket—ie surround yourself with friends and family who will support you when (not if, but when) those bastards come around, knocking you down like a sleeper wave and pulling you out in a riptide.
In the face of Heloise and Alex, all I can do is make sure my life jacket is fastened and that I get my pants on. I know, I know, what the fuck? Pants? Yeah. It’s totally awkward to run around with no pants. So. One step at a time. Put your pants on.
That is what Eileen taught me before we went our separate ways: how to swear, to be aware of Heloise and company, to wear my life jacket—no matter how annoying it is, and to put on my goddamn pants.