My Head #3 – Antidepressants

My Head Is My Only Home # 3 – September 24, 2021


This is my experience. Yours will be different. What works for you – is the right thing.

My Experience with Antidepressants

A Doctor & His Pills - drawing by Harvey Dog 2021

It’s Over

40 years-of-age
Diagnosis: depressed fucker
Summary: a lifetime of depression…inevitable breakdown…recommend antidepressants…


“I can’t do it anymore.” I sit on the floor, holding up the wall. My partner calls the RBC Call Centre in Mississauga and informs them I won’t be at work today…probably not tomorrow…or the day after…or ever.

1 week later

My right leg is racing faster than the Roadrunner as I wait in the Doctor’s office for my appointment. In an hour my name is called. My partner (an MSW in Social Work) comes in with me on my request. She explains to the mid-’50s, bespectacled, thin, medium height, nervous, but polite man, how fucked up I am. I chip in: “I feel awful. I’m tired all the time”.

“I’ll write a prescription for Effexor. It will help elevate your mood. Come back in 4 weeks’ time.”

“Thank you Doctor.”

4 weeks later

“I feel worse. I hardly leave the apartment. I’m sleeping 16 hours a day & I’m exhausted.”

“I’ll increase the dose and write a referral to a therapist. Come back in 6 weeks.”

“Thank you Doctor.”

6 weeks later

“I have no motivation, I feel overwhelmed and our financial situation isn’t helping. I wake up exhausted.”

“I’ll increase the dose. Has the therapist called you?”

“Not yet.”

“He will soon – with increased dosage and counselling,” a pause, looking at his notes, “I’ll see you in 2 months, but come back sooner if need be.”

“Thank you Doctor.”


Harvey Dog: Back to the Land (Harvey Dog) (2015) sections of this piece refer to the time period of the article (early 2000’s) – “…making bacon in the middle of the night….“. I thought the noise from frying bacon at 3 in the morning was going to result in complaints from the neighbours & the police knocking on my door. That’s how fucked up I was. Wait – is someone at the door? 😨

2 months later

“How are you feeling?”

“Not good. I haven’t noticed any improvement.”

“Have you seen the therapist?”

Hesitation…“Yes.”

[He sits silently, fingers rubbing his chin. I talk, I bitch, I rant, I moan…fuck this fuck that…he nods his head sagely. Then I leave.]

“Excellent. Let’s increase the dosage one final time,” [to the maximum], “then we’ll reduce intake as you start to feel better.”

4 months later

Christmas comes…Christmas goes…I ignore it.

I bunker inside the apartment…paranoid, distraught…keeping the world outside!

Money disappears, debt increases…working for a temp agency in factories: anonymous, dull, repetitive work. It would have been a wonderful experience…20 years earlier – when I was 20 and depressed as fuck….not at 40 with a bad back and depressed as fuck.

I am angry, I am desperate, I feel hopeless…will it end? I’m fading…

&&&

“I feel worse than ever. I’m agitated, I’m tired, I’m stressed.”

A concerned look: “We’ll switch your medication to Celexa. Are you still seeing the therapist?”

Hesitation…”Yes.”

[He silently rubs his chin, rotating a pencil over thin, wiry fingers. I talk, I bitch, I rant, I moan, I rage…fuck this, fuck that…hey –
“Aren’t you supposed to say something to help me?”
“I like listening to you talk,” he smiles, “continue.”
]

“Excellent! See me in 6 weeks.”Thank you Doctor.”

Late 2000’s

A few years pass & I’m in British Columbia. The inner rage & turmoil burns & lives & thrives within. The yellow brick road continues to be elusive. I feel as if…I’ve lost something? My muse is on the periphery, waiting for an invitation, but the door remains closed…

&&&

A decent therapist, David Burns’ “Feeling Good Handbook” & a meditation group shines a light into the darkness…but, the mood still drops to low levels.

“There are times I feel nothing…I feel empty.”

“We’ll switch your medication to Wellbutrin.”

“Thank you Doctor.”

Early 2010’s

Something is missing…not quite right…my muse remains outside the door…knocking…I reach for the handle and stop inches short…something holds me back…

A day here, a day there…did I forget my pills? I open the door and invite my friend, the muse, inside. We hug and caress each other’s thoughts…a clearer mind, creativity flows…it’s been too long!

Fuck these pills…hello Cognitive Behaviour Therapy & counselling & mindfulness & acceptance & gratitude…

2021

“Pills! I have pills, lots of pills! If one doesn’t work – this one will!”

I cower in the corner as the doctor drills pills at me as I meekly repeat my previous experiences with 3 different antidepressants….I made this appointment for blood work & x-rays.

“OK on the blood work, xnay on the xrays – unless you’re ready for your hip replacement?”

“Not yet…”

“…but I have pills, lots of pills!”

…but…you don’t know my psychological history, my sleeping habits, my diet, my addictions…you’ve talked to me twice for 20 minutes…have you met the psychological demons that were dormant until I moved back to Ontario?

…but…you have pills…


Featured Harvey Dog Video

Why Do I Feel So Bad? (Harvey Dog) (2021)

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