“I love it when you’re funny, Mom.”

I’m f*cking hilarious.

Well, maybe not f*cking hilarious, but I can be quite funny when I’m in the mood. I was able to make my Dad laugh often (not as often as my brother could, but my brother can make me laugh on the darkest days, so he has an actual magical power) and I cherished the laughter every time. I make good Mom Jokes and I tell good stories. I’m not going to win any awards for my comedic skills, but I’m good to have around for the periodic smile or giggle. You’re not going to wet your pants from laughing so hard in my presence, but you’ll probably smile when I tell another self-deprecating story about boob sweat.

(I have many of those stories.)

Yesterday, Nikki was hanging out with me at work and we ran a few errands to try to get her and her brother ready for summer camp and we were just being goofy out and about and having a good time and she laughs and smiles and says, “I love it when you’re funny, Mom.”

I don’t think I’ve been funny recently. Maybe not at all, really. I mean, I’ve had good days and good times where I laugh. But that general, care-free feeling of lightness that can produce Funny Zoot has been a bit absent. And since my kids live with me, I don’t turn on any “best behavior” when they’re around like I might do around my friends. So, truthfully, they’ve probably not seen any part of Funny Zoot in awhile.

But yesterday? Funny Zoot was just kinda hanging out all day, even in the rain, and even with some major family stress and fears looming in the background. Funny Zoot was still parenting and trying to find joy in the mundane tasks of buying A SHIT TON OF CRAP for a week of summer camp.

I’m on 20mg of Lexapro now, and I think we’ve finally broken through to some sort of “better” side. I still haven’t found a good psychiatrist which my General Practitioner wants me to do so I can have someone with a prescription pad who can evaluate me a little better. But the 20mg of Lexapro daily seems to be the recipe for a better standard. I only had one “severe” panic attack this week and it’s been at least 3 weeks since I’ve found myself crying, huddled in my car in a parking lot binge-eating chicken tenders (I’m an herbivore, remember) and french fries while contemplating the point of my existence.

Oh, and let’s be clear, the chicken tender car breakdown? Was a regular occurrence. It wasn’t like, “This one time…and that’s how I knew I needed help…” Nope. That probably happened 2-3 times a week for awhile there. I have a long history of binge-eating chicken tenders when I’m upset. It started in the pre-vegetarian days and I guess the impulse is permanently etched into my psyche now.

CRYING, CHICKEN TENDER ZOOT IS THE ANTITHESIS OF FUNNY ZOOT.

Actually, the vegetarian who has mental breakdowns and turns to meat is quite a funny idea, to be honest. Maybe Funny Zoot was just being dark and twisted in her humor in those moments.

ANYWAY. I’m doing better. It’s hard to quantify things which is why my GP really wants me to find a psychiatrist who will know how to ask the right questions to help me really measure my mental health on a good scale since I have no idea what “normal” is anymore.

But Funny Zoot is out and about more often lately. She’s not just saving her appearances for friends and making her family suffer in her absence. She’s out often enough now that I can feel myself being a better Mom and a better Wife. Your immediately family suffers the most when you’re not in good mental health because it’s so exhausting being “on” for people at work and for friends that you just have to switch it all “off” the second you get home. But for the last week or two it’s been easier to be “on” all day so my family gets to see more of the lighter and happier Zoot that they know and love.

(P.S. Since I’m writing here periodically, fell free to “subscribe” so you’ll know when I’ve updated. It’s a little box on the left sidebar of the page, just enter your email and the system let’s you know when I’ve written something here.)