My mum arrived on Wednesday. It's great to see her. She realises I've got problems (or issues as we call them) so she's extended her stay till next Saturday. I've spent the last two days "semi-studying" for my exam, by which I mean looking at books and notes vaguely connected with the subject, almost for entertainment purposes, without concerning myself with any of the detail (and it's of course the detail that largely determines whether you pass or fail). For instance there's a book I was given by one of my work colleagues, The New Finance, that flies in the face of anything I've learned by suggesting that average returns go down as you take bigger risks. So it's an interesting read but probably not that handy for my exam. Right now I couldn't care less about my exam, though I daren't tell Mum that.
I took my first Efexor pill yesterday morning, and I felt like total crap for the next 48 hours, just like I did in August 2001 when I first took citalopram. Only this time I didn't have the added complication of thinking about dying 18 hours a day. Because I can see parallels between now and my previous experiences, I'm optimistic about the future. Even my bizarre fits of laughter on the day before taking Efexor were a repeat performance of my weird behaviour just before I started the citalopram.
On Thursday and Friday I simply didn't want to know, but today I've improved significantly. Mum and I spent the morning looking at houses, though only from the outside. Mum is much more "house-savvy" than me. Whevever I go down south, Mum and Dad are always taking detours to look at newly built houses, which I often find depressingly ostentatious. Some modern constructions scream "look how much money we've got" and I'm thinking, why not go the whole hog and paint a great big dollar sign on it. I should point out that Mum and Dad designed their own house and it isn't ostentatious at all - I really like it actually. Anyway, Mum knows a lot about houses, but things that bother her greatly don't matter to me one bit. "It's so dated, like something from the eighties; I wouldn't touch that with a barge pole," Mum would say, while I'd almost see that as a plus. Anything that looked like the place I grew up in would likely bring back happy memories for me.
On Tuesday I finished reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Though it took me a while, I found it utterly captivating. There was a lot of stuff I could relate to (going to university and being socially isolated) as well as plenty of stuff I couldn't (intricate murder plots for a start). But what really got me was how someone could write that well at such a young age. Writing a novel would be the most amazing thing, but I haven't had anywhere near enough life experience yet and my writing probably isn't good enough anyway.