by Vanessa Blakeslee
“Go to the farm,” a voice inside me said, quietly but firmly—the voice I had lost touch with for some time. Midmorning, January in Florida, and I was sitting on the Lake Maitland fishing pier, part of the condominium complex where I’d lived for fifteen years. I found myself drawn to the lake, where the snakebirds and cormorants would fish and spread out their oily wings to dry in the sun, while I sipped green tea and waited for the cocktail I’d taken to kick in and calm my brain. The year before I’d spiraled into a dark depression, and, although outside circumstances had improved—I had gotten out of an abusive relationship, started working in a friend’s bookstore, and finished editing my first novel to be published in the fall—lately, alone, I found myself slipping down the rungs again. Terrified of the disturbing side effects that I’d experienced in my brief stint of taking antidepressants the previous year— night sweats, nausea, and most of all, emotional numbness—I was determined to claw my way out by other means this time, no matter what. So each morning, I popped GABA and theanine, eschewed coffee for green tea, and began my day among the sunshine and shore birds.