Rip Van Winkle


I remember nothing.

During the past three years I’ve been experiencing severe anxiety and depression. And I don’t know if it’s the depression or the electroshock (ECT) treatments I’ve been getting since last summer, but I remember little from this anxious period. (Both ECT and depression affect memory.)

Now that I’m getting better, I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle waking up to rediscover an old self and life. Every day my husband tells me about a past event that I have forgotten. Or I have to relearn a skill I once knew. Or I need to thank somebody for doing something that I don’t recall. It’s a bit disconcerting, to say the least, and at times frustrating.

For instance, up until a few weeks ago I had no idea how to access this blog, to which I hadn’t posted in three years. I had to contact my website designer for help and learn WordPress all over again. Ditto everything else on the computer.

I have friends whose visits I don’t recall, and took a family trip to Colorado last summer that I don’t remember. A bunch of new clothes I bought there are hanging in my closet. But I can’t recall a single thing about the vacation. (My husband  says we should have stayed in a cheaper hotel since I can’t remember the fancy one.)

For reconstruction of the Colorado trip and just about everything else that has happened in the past three years, I’ve had to rely on my husband, whose memory is razor sharp.

Memory is essential to a sense of self, and I’ve missed mine. If it weren’t for my little rituals  I  would have lost my bearings entirely. In many areas of life, I’ve had to start over again or abandon ship. When I found some old to-do lists recently, I just laughed and put them aside. It looks like I’m going to have to hire someone to install and teach me Twitter, which I used to operate perfectly well but now cannot make function.

And it’s not like I sit down to the computer and any of this comes back to me on its own, which is what I thought would happen when I started to feel better. The past three years are gone, and I cannot get them back.

But what’s exciting is that as the depression and anxiety pass, a sense of self and the ability to recall is returning. If I can’t remember what happened last year, I do remember last week and all the details of two lunches I had recently with girlfriends. Yesterday I got my hair done for the second time in three years. As a result, I even look like my old self now, with blonde highlights covering the profusion of gray. And though I can’t remember buying them, I’m enjoying wearing the new clothes from Colorado.

I’ve lost three years to anxiety and depression, but I’m so grateful to feel better that I don’t care. Who knows – maybe it’s just as well that I don’t remember some of it. From my husband’s description, it wasn’t pretty. I had stitches and was hospitalized several times. The holidays were apparently pretty subdued.

Somehow I think that this Christmas is going to be different.


Have you ever suffered from anxiety or depressionShare by commenting below!


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    November 29, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Those ?? We're a typo --keep writing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    November 29, 2016 at 11:27 am

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    November 25, 2016 at 10:27 pm

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly,, MS., Parenting, Real Simple,, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.