Blossoming Blossoms

It’s springtime in Central Texas. My favorite time of year. Bluebonnets and 70-degree days. Last year, I was working too much, and missed most of it. This year, I’m taking advantage of a slow patch, and enjoying every bit of it.

I’ve been on the new antidepressant Brintellix for four months now. I haven’t had a single side effect, except maybe hot flashes. But it’s hard to attribute those to the antidepressant, seeing as I’m fifty-two. Dr. McEnroe started me on samples of this shiny new drug in November, in an attempt to help me out of the pit. It seems to have worked. I’ve actually caught myself, a couple of times over the past several weeks, thinking: “Holy shit; I’m feeling happy.” Not just amused or content. But actual, full-on happiness.


Now, at the four-month mark, Dr. McEnroe has cut me off on the samples and called in a prescription. After much research, the cheapest I could find for a 30-day supply of 20 mg Brintellix is $266. And that’s with a $30 coupon. On top of that, he’s got me on Deplin, a medical food that seems to enhance the effects of the antidepressant, at $30 a month. Add to that, the shrink’s $175 fee for a 30-minute visit, and we’re up to $475 a month. Luckily, Dr. McEnroe has begun to lengthen my leash and we’re now shifting to quarterly, instead of monthly, visits. All of this is out-of-pocket due to my high-deductible insurance plan, which is all my law firm has offered for the past few years. $266 a month ($296 when the coupon runs out at the end of the year), is obnoxious for one prescription. This is not a viable option long-term. I’m hoping the changes I’m making now that I feel better will render the drug unnecessary. But I do not want to be blind-sided by the depression again, so I’m in a bit of a pickle.

Speaking of pickles: pickles are low-carb, and so are very much a part of my new dietary regime. Here’s what happened. In February, when I started feeling a little peppier, I went and got a wellness exam. My first in three years. I had gained quite a bit of weight since my last visit, and my numbers were not good. My fasting blood glucose, at 113, was in a range deemed “pre-diabetic.” Seeing as my mother is diabetic, and knowing first-hand (second-hand?) what lie ahead, I immediately made drastic changes. It’s been two months since I gave up all sugar and starches, as well as most fruit. This includes anything made with flour or grains, beans, lentils, peas, potatoes, and pasta. Whole grain. Half grain. Multi-grain. It’s all out. What do I eat besides pickles, you might ask? Leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, berries, nuts (mostly walnuts and almonds) and nut butters, eggs, whole-milk cheeses and Greek yogurt, heavy cream, butter, avocado, coconut milk, olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, chicken (with skin), fish, and pork, including bacon.

After two months of this way of eating, I’ve dropped 24 pounds. It’s probably closer to 20, seeing as my first weigh-in was at the doctor’s office fully clothed. Here’s the cool thing (in addition to the coolness of dropping 20 pounds): I feel fantastic. I have more energy than I have had in ages. I sleep well. My digestion is vastly improved since I stopped eating grains. I don’t crave carbohydrates or sugar. I’m not constantly hungry. I feel brighter. I feel happier. I feel zestful. Now, how much of this is due to the diet, and how much to the antidepressant, is the $500-a-month question. At some point, I’m going to stop taking the drugs and see if I can determine the answer. Hopefully I’ll find I can sustain these feelings of well-being on diet and exercise alone.

As for exercise, it’s been a brilliant spring here in Central Texas and I’ve taken to walking at lunch-time nearly daily. A work colleague and I started off at thirty minutes and a couple of miles, working our way up to over an hour and five miles in 9-weeks time. Here are a few photos of what we see during our lunch-time wanderings:

See the Texas Capitol peeking out at the top of the tree-line?
See the Texas Capitol peeking out at the top of the tree-line? That’s our start-point.


BigLawBoss also has been going through a bit of a transition. A few weeks ago, he told me he and his wife are divorcing and he was moving out of the house. An example of the new “gray divorce”: both of them are in their early 60s. I didn’t make an attempt to feign surprise. I did, however, find myself feeling happy for him, along with much compassion. In fact, the respect I’d lost for him while he was sneaking around is returning. He since has moved into a condo, along with a few pieces of furniture and his guitar. Kind of Steve Martinesque from The Jerk: “All I need is this lamp.” Since BigLawBoss moved out, he too seems a lot happier. Between the two of us, we’re like a whole new law office.

So that’s springtime in Central Texas in a nutshell: everything is blooming.


  • You can DEFINITELY do it on diet, exercise, and a few mindfulness tools. It’s been 4 years for me. Total lifestyle and mindset change can be sustained without drugs. Don’t sweat the cost you’re incurring right now; it will keep you out of the “pit” in order to happily discover alternate approaches to health and wellness that fit with your personality and interests. I’m so happy for you and your newfound happiness and weight loss!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paula, thank you so much for the encouragement. I like your strategy. I know you use yoga. I’m off to poke around at your place and see what else you’ve done to keep yourself feeling well without the drugs. I did pretty well for some time, until I got hit with unusual amounts of stress. I am optimistic.


    • It’s nice to know this is your experience, but it is a person by person experience.

      If everyone could definitely be ok without medication more people would.

      For many people there is no alternative path.


  • You eat heavy cream, Greek yogurt, bacon, whole-milk cheese, butter, etc., and you’re losing weight?! What am I missing here? This makes no sense to me.

    I have an alternate caption for that cartoon: Your money, your life, or you can move to Mexico.

    Central Texas in Springtime. I remember it fondly. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Tread carefully.
    Even with diet, exercise meditation and daily yoga practice I need my antidepressant.

    I have come to believe I truly have a chemical deficiency. I can’t remember ever really being happy before. But I am now. Yet in October I had an episode of depression that scared me.

    Take care.



    • everyone has to know what works for them…it’s been about 10 years since I got off the anti-depressants, when I retired, and I’ve been able to have my life in MY CONTROL,

      Liked by 1 person

    • Seeing how much better I feel with the Brintellix, I’m not going to jump off of it quite as easily as I did with others in the past. I do believe diet and exercise are important pieces of the puzzle for me. But I do hesitate to see if I can go without medication. At least not any time soon. Perhaps after a big long stretch of feeling good.

      It can be quite scary. It sounds like we landed in the pit at about the same time. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better.


  • Hola Ella!

    Wow, the news just keeps getting better and better! I’m so happy that things are going better for you.

    As for the cost of the drug, you might check to see if that drug is available in Mexico. If so, you could drive for a few hours, stock up, and then go home.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where “A Course of Miracles” is working miracles on our own outlook.


      • P.S. I’m going to stop at a pharmacy or two and ask about the availability of your drug, price, and whether it requires a Mexican prescription or not. (Some meds do; yours is likely to require it.) Seeing a Dr here is pretty cheap, but of course it’d add to the hassle for you. I’ll email you what I find.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I’m so glad to hear about your spring time! may you continue to have good things happen for you!


  • You’ll be surprised how a few changes in the diet and exercise can turn things for the better. Continue being bright now.

    Q. If BigLawBoss seems to be brighter, is he a better a boss? (You may answer using that big wooden partition and with a voice scrambler, LOL.)


    • I am amazed at the difference giving up sugar and starches has made. My mood is better. I now have energy to do the exercise. I no longer crave sugar and starch. I don’t constantly feel like I’m starving. I always thought giving up carbs (except veggies) was a bunch of hooey. Not so!

      A. I have worked with BigLawBoss for twelve years. I can say I knew him back when he was SmallLawBoss. He was a good boss up until the past couple of years. Part of it was drinking the BigLaw Kool-Aid. But I see now, being miserable in his marriage was the primary cause. Whatever it is, I’m hopeful it will last. Funny what falling in love can do for one’s outlook, no matter your age.


  • So nice to read about the changes and improvements in your life. You deserve them! Changing your diet as you have is challenging—you get hardcore credit for that! (I just started a similar change myself—12 lbs in the first month, but damn it’s rough.)

    Liked by 1 person

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