Saturday, February 19, 2022

Southern Women and Nervous Breakdowns

As Boz Scaggs (for you children of the 70's) so famously said, "Danger, there's breakdown dead ahead."

Isn't everyone entitled to a nervous breakdown every once in a while? Now southern women all know about pity parties. Oh, you may deny it, but each one of you is guilty of throwing at least one of these in your honor. What woman hasn't gone to her bed for a day or two (with a pint of ice cream - or a box of chocolates in my case) and cried her eyes out over some (at the time) most horrible thing, that now seems almost frivolous?

Don't laugh. There is a time and place for these hysterics. A proper southern lady is one who knows when and where to pitch her fit, air her grievances. It is the ones who choose to have a hissy fit in public who give the female gender such a bad reputation.

Ladies retire to their rooms in moments of reflection - ie they are pissed as Hell, their feelings are hurt, and they are plotting revenge. The general female population, on the other hand, makes sure God and everyone knows who has wronged them and what they intend to do about it. The former find greater satisfaction in their quiet retaliation since generally when the dust settles they are far above the fray, while the later find themselves bruised and battered but proud to wear the sash and crown of revenge.

But a nervous breakdown is a whole 'nuther ball game. This is a card carrying medical condition diagnosed by a physician requiring serious treatment - far more than Aunt Pitty Pat's smelling salts and a good bath. A trip to Bob Ellis on King Street, with all its miraculous therapeutic powers, cannot save one from a "melt down". Two pints of Godiva Double Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream will not soothe the "anxiety" or relieve the "depression" of an emotional collapse.

Every family has "that" female relative that is spoken about in hushed tones. The one where tales of her "break down" are legendary, so much so it is hard to tell fact from fiction. Did she suffer more than one? How long was she "away"? Rumors of shock treatments, years of psychotic drugs, and idle gossip about whether or not she will ever be "right" are whispered at every family gathering.

We all have at least one such kin among us. Right? The beauty of being southern is that we don't hide the skeletons in our closets. No, we open the doors and let them dance on the front porch. It is not the dancing skeletons one should fear, rather it is the scorned southern women in their rooms seeking retribution. 

Even when we feel we deserve one and are even entitled to one, who has time these days for a nervous breakdown. 

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