distant and detached

The Little House, by Philippa Gregory

I’m in the middle – or, rather, the first third or so – of reading this book. It’s kind of depressing so far, or at least giving a forboding premonition, so I’m not getting through it as quickly as I’d like. This morning I stumbled across an exchange to which I could somewhat relate.

The main character just had a baby, and it seems she’s experiencing something like post-partum depression. Her family is only making it worse, and she ends up going on anti-depressants. Unbeknownst to her, she starts overdosing, thinking she hasn’t taken her pills for that day yet – and then she starts to like how she feels when she pops ’em.

In this exchange, she gets together with one of her former co-workers. He inquires after her health, general well-being, yadda yadda, and it seems to him she’s not being honest (in addition to the fact that she doesn’t look well). Basically, he doesn’t like the fact that she won’t open up to him, saying that it’s strange, it seems that she’s being distant. She replies:

“‘I do feel distant… I like feeling distant… D’you know I think this is how [my husband] feels all the time. I think [this anti-depressant] just makes women feel like men. It fits you for a man’s world. I love [my husband], and I love [my son], and I’d lay down my life for them. But if you asked me whether I’d rather go home and care for them, or go to work right now, I’d far rather go and do the job I’m good at with people who like me for what I am and not because I’m married to them, or gave birth to them… or married their son.'”

She goes on to explain further…

“‘It’s the pills… It’s how men are all the time. Most men would rather go to work than spend time at home, you know that. Men are detached and distant… once you’re married and the novelty has worn off, you will be [distant too].'”


I was like, ohmigod, this is [partly] us! Granted, we haven’t had a family… but I have to come home and do all these domestic things that never really get done because the food gets eaten up, the dishes get dirty, the laundry needs washing again, the floors need vacuuming… aarrrgh! I have to do these things that need to get done but really have no lasting value… and of course there’s no one there to appreciate it, or appreciate me for the doing of it. I like the fact that I have the capacity for certain emotions – but more often that not the feeling of them makes it worse.