When my grandmother went around the bend after a series of small strokes, she drove my mother crazy. In the midst of this, my parents were planning my first wedding. Mom went to the family doctor and asked if he would prescribe something for my grandmother, “maybe some of those mood elevators?”
He shook his head sympathetically. “I won’t do that, but I will write a prescription for you and one for Songbird.”
I don’t think my mother ever filled hers, but in the high-tension final days before that big Southern wedding with 300+ guests, she started doling out the Librium to me. Let’s just say I floated through the whole thing. Maybe the Runaway Bride could have used some. (By the way, I didn’t develop a habit, but I was relieved to find them in the side pocket of my overnight bag about a year later when we had traveled to a family funeral and the mood was, shall we say, tense.)
As I lie here curled on the couch, using my laptop sideways while pondering the mysteries of peri-menopause, I find myself mulling the mood elevators that have come and gone in my life: food, friends, TV shows, music. For instance, I remember cooking many a dinner while Star Trek: The Next Generation played in the background. I rarely looked at the screen; I just liked the sound of Captain Picard’s voice–better than a glass of wine for this seldom-if-ever drinker.
Here are some of my mood elevators that don’t come from a pharmacy:
TV–I just love “Lost.” In fact, as I was lying here, #2 Son pointed out that I had something to look forward to later: a fresh episode this evening.
Food–Well, there’s chocolate. I love powdered Ghirardelli in my coffee. I adore Stonyfield Farm ice creams, especially Cookies’n Dream, the best ice cream ever. If you haven’t had their ice cream, go visit your local chi-chi purveyor of whole foods. You won’t be sorry. But the best mood elevating food ever, bar none, is the Apocalypse Chocolate Cake (via Camera Obscura and The Cake Doctor).
Music–Show Tunes!! I once told a friend I needed to go back and close my car windows, because someone might steal my CDs. She snorted, “They’re show tunes!” Something about the musical appeals to me, what can I say. As a child, I wanted to be Julie Andrews when I grew up.
Books–But books are the best. When I’m really glum, I turn to the familiar books that feel like worlds into which I can escape. After a difficult pregnancy loss, I escaped to the realm of Jane Austen, and there I stayed until, after reading every page and every word, I finally felt ready to peek out into my world again.
What are some of your mood elevators?