What Ails You

I have a new shrink and I like her.

I decide this as I pace around my office’s small conference room, thumbnail in mouth so I can chew on it while I discuss what is wrong with my medications and mood and sleep.

It is happening, the med changes I fear.

I have discovered, accidentally, that the haphazard increase in zoloft I performed this past winter to stave off a descent into the black hole of depression has netted me a CDH, a Chronic Daily Headache. Sometimes they flare into all-out migraines. I have been trying desperately to get them under control, with excel spreadsheets to track the pain and days and it in and of itself became too overwhelming when I realized that every day I was in pain, every thing may be a trigger. Last week was so bad N convinced me to go to urgent care, where I kindly bent over and they gave me two shots of Demerol in the ass. A prescription for being stoned was better than feeling like my head was in a vice grip. The following day the pain returned full force and I thought about how: This is it. This is my life, an explosion of veins and throbs in my left temporal lobe, and I will simply have to kill myself in the near future because I cannot live in this foggy, nauseated pain every fucking day. This is no life.

But then I forgot my one-and-a-half blue pills one morning, the elliptical-shaped serotonin miracles, that prevent me from killing myself. And I realized they were giving me the pain that was making me think about killing myself. The irony. The chemical beast that drives and destroys me, serotonin, has reared its ugly head again, demanding I feed it.

For a day and a half I took the step, switched to taking my Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors at night, instead of in the morning. I lay around listless and flat affected; my mood, my personality is all chemically based. I am a drug addict. I no longer exist as a person; I am a shell, a robot. It is the pills that make me human now. I could not be without them. I laugh because of the SSRIs, but not too much because of the antipsychotics. I work because of the topomax, and don’t lash out because of the zoloft. Without modern pharmaceuticals, I would be hollow, a scarecrow, a wisp, a nothing. I long to be normal, but I never have been. My normalcy is purchased at your local Walgreen’s, and sponsored by the HMO of the day.

I call my shrink today, and she calls back. I speak staccato and rapid fire. Med changes make me anxious, and anxiety always appears as mania, in me. I speak about the headaches, the sleep, the lack thereof, how I cannot ever stop taking zoloft, I can’t quit it. I speak the language of the mentally ill. She can tell, she is concerned about my “raciness.” I know I sound insane. I feel safe to be insane with her. She won’t threaten me with a hospital, random drug changes, yanking my zoloft, the only drug I love and need so desperately that it has claimed its right to turn on me. Is that not how it is with any addict? They use their drug of choice, depend upon it so heartily that eventually it turns on them, like a feral animal that only appeared tamed?

We speak, agree to changes, agree to additional appointments, pills, taking it one day at a time. This is easy for her. She is a doctor, she has a pen, presciption pad, power. I am a patient, I need pills — modern poisons that will heal and harm me.



  1. Bri said,

    May 29, 2008 at 5:22 am

    *big ass hugs*

  2. bookwyrm said,

    May 29, 2008 at 10:01 am


    I’ve found that one big difference between depression that can be handled and suicidal depression is whether or not you think it will get better.

    There is someone and something out there that can help you; it might even be this therapist. Just hold on until you find them.

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