When I was going through my custody battle, and I was the poster girl for High Anxiety, I relied on a lovely little benzo called Klonopin to get me through the night, two nights per week. Sleeping pills made me wonky, Melatonin did nada, but Klonopin gently beckoned me into a slumber that lasted the whole night.
Klonopin is addictive, so my psychiatrist told me I could only take it twice a week. For whatever reason, Klonopin has a residual effect of giving me a good night’s sleep one and even two nights after taking it. In other words, if I take one Monday, I still sleep well Wednesday. Then by the time Friday rolls around, and I sense I’ll have trouble sleeping, I take another one and I’m good till Monday.
Although the custody battle is over, theoretically — one never knows if Prince might want to file a bunch of OSCs, just for kicks — I still find that I need my friend Mr. Klonopin twice a week. Call it perimenopause. Call it divorce PTSD. Call it a fruit bowl of middle-aged worries sitting on my head. Whatever — I just end up taking it twice a week.
So the last time I called my pharmacy for a refill, I got a call from my psychiatrist, chiding me for going 16 months without an appointment. He would not give me more refills until I paid him a visit.
* * *
I sat in his elegantly appointed office, with its panoramic view and its Eames chairs and its contemporary art wall hangings, and I felt much less mentally ill than I had before I walked in.
He asked me the usual shrink questions about stressors and when I was finished, he eyed me incredulously and said: “It’s remarkable you’re holding up as well as you are.”
I hate when people tell me shit like that. My whole life, people have told me how strong I am, and it totally pisses me off. It pisses me off because it’s FALSE. It sounds like code for “you’re screwed,” or “better you than me!” It also makes me feel like I’ll disappoint people if I crumple into a momentary heap, therefore I need to keep seeming stronger than I feel.
He asked me some more questions, about diet, sleep, what I enjoy, and do I drink?
“A glass of red wine every night,” I said.
He glanced at me over his spectacles. I thought he was going to tell me I couldn’t drink wine on the nights that I took Klonopin. But instead he said:
He shrugged. “I think so.”
I was expecting something a little more professional, along the lines of antioxidants or GABA or a study of Sicilian villagers who all lived to be 105 because they bathed in olive oil and drank red wine every night.
But all he said was:
“Red wine is good for you. One glass a day. Keep it up. Just don’t drink it too close to bedtime.”
So I do. And I don’t.
Got a favorite red wine label? Leave it below!