Friday, January 26, 2007

The Last Good-bye

This will be my last post in a while, for myriad reasons, not the least of which is that this blog has become my primary journalistic outlet, which is unhealthy in terms of both finances and career-development. From today on, I will only post on Fashionosophy. I am leaving Miami on Feb. 15th for parts I am too ashamed to reveal. But thankfully I'll be on the Amalfi Coast by early April, so it's all relative.

I haven't thought a lot (or at all really) of what grave, life-changing lessons I would like to leave you with, so as usual I'm just going to shoot from the hip.

This blog started as a way for me to publicize my novel more than a year ago when it was still "out to publishers." And, sure, it garnered some mentions in Page Six, Gawker, etc. But the book remains unpublished, so I suppose a true self-promoter I am not.

What this blog turned into though is a journal of the twists and turns, fears and phobias, ups and downs of my life. Often this blog is a caricature of my life—for if you were to meet me in person, you would behold nothing more than a nice, down-to-earth, (of course impeccably turned out) Jewish girl—often, it's 100% true. Where is the line? I suppose only I know.

It also, I think, turned into a chronicle of one woman's (god, I hate the word 'woman,' I still think of myself as a 'girl') struggle with clinical depression, a serious mental illness. There is a big misconception in this country about clinical depression, in that everyone feels blue once in a while, but when that blue-ness turns into an every day state of being, or even a character trait, it's nothing to laugh at. Instead, it's something to be categorized in the DSM-IV and treated.

I have been clinically depressed since about the age of 17, which at this point, is almost half of my life. In my family, mental illness doesn't just run, it sprints. It wasn't until I was about 20 though and read Prozac Nation, that I was able to put a name to what I had always felt. In that regard, Prozac Nation was the book that most changed my life. Once I realized what was wrong with me, I began therapy coupled with SSRI medication (Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro). I have been "in treatment" for 11 years now. The past 7 years with the same therapist, who practices in Beverly Hills and I speak with on the phone a couple times a month.

Am I cured? Well, obviously not. I think that there is no cure for clinical depression as deep as mine. Depression, my own at least, is usually cyclical. Sure, if my life is going fabulously, I am "happy." If it's in the toilet, I'm suicidal. Literally. But here's the thing about my life—I've had only fleeting moments of happiness amid a steady stream of blackness. And for those of you who are yelling at their computer saying, "Oh, come on, just snap out of it! You have a great life!" I will say this—you could be the luckiest, most privileged, most loved, most successful person in the world, but if you are clinically depressed it matters not. You're still going to hate yourself and have suicidal ideations.

Anyway, if you think you may be clinically depressed and want to learn more about it, I would suggest reading both The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel. Sure you could go to the National Institute of Mental Health's depression web site, but reading someone's memoirs strikes home a bit more.

In conclusion, on depression, I will say that it's a complicated illness that has affected every aspect of my life—from career to relationships to family to social life.

OK, on a lighter note. Some thoughts and advice I will leave with you.

Never settle for anything less than what you consider the best—in a job, in a partner, an apartment, whatever. Life is too short.

Money and material possessions do not make you happy. Take it from someone who has never wanted for anything and is still unhappy.

Money does make life easier, so I don't think there is anything wrong with striving for more of it, as long as you realize that once you get it, it won't fulfill you completely.

Family is the most important thing in this life. So if you don't have a good relationship with yours, try to do something about it before it's too late. Because in the end, they may be all you are left with. Friends are important too, but it is your family's job to be there for you, remember that. Our parents brought us into this world willingly, and even if they don't agree with the way we live our lives, they created us and upon doing so agreed to love, nurture and support us unconditionally, no matter how hard a job it may be sometimes.

Always buy designer, preferably at a discount. You will thank me ten years from now when you are still wearing the item. But I can't afford designer you say? Then you haven't been reading carefully, darlings, for there is always, Century 21, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, Blue Fly, Filene's Basement, Loehmann's, etc. The list goes on, so you're out of excuses.

Go to Italy at least once in your life, even if you have to max out your credit cards. And if you're Jewish, go to Israel too.

Have fun at all costs.

Always have a sense of humor even in the most dire of times; you'd be surprised what it can get you through.

Get massages.

Treat yourself and your loved ones to nice things; you can't take it with you.

Go to the beach.

Get a dog.

Get Botox or Restylane or liposuction or whatever you want if it will make you look and feel better; screw what guys say, they don't understand.

Read books. I don't understand people who don't read books. Books are one of life's greatest pleasures. In fact, if I had to choose between giving up books or fashion, it would probably be a toss up. (!)

Enjoy yourself when you can and take pleasure in the little things.

In last night's Grey's Anatomy, Izzie, upon comforting George over the loss of his father said, "Life is short, George. Life is short, and it sucks a lot of the time. And if being with Callie makes you happy, then go be with Callie." Life is short; do what makes you truly happy.

In the inimitable words of Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada: That's all.