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July 24, 2005 - 11:43 am

ANTI-ANTI-DEPRESSANT

I went to see my therapist last week, and after years of talking to me about it, she finally convinced me to try an anti-depressant.

I know. I donít seem depressed, right? Well, this may come as a shock, but I donít exactly say everything thatís on my mind here the way I do at my therapistís office. For instance, did I mention that Johnís house Ė the one with my name on the loan and title that John agreed to refinance to take my name off of Ė will be auctioned off in October if John doesnít come up with a huge amount of money in back property taxes? I think that little bit of news may be what finally frayed that last remaining nerve of mine.

Iím not crazy. I know Iím doing everything right. I get up every day, I take care of my kids and myself, I go to work, my house is clean, the laundry is done, I get dinner on the table, Iím maintaining friendships, I pay my bills. But really and truly I feel like Iím losing my fucking mind. Johnís inability to get his own shit together has weighed me down for years, and I was a fool to think divorce would end that. Heís not a bad person, but I just canít deal with his irresponsibility any more. Itís making me into someone Iím not.

And the realization that it will never be over with him is what keeps me up at night. This is what I have been writing frantically about for a year instead of doing the great work Iím fortunate enough to have and normally love to do.

So, now I can finally admit that maybe I need something to get me unstuck. Just for a while, until things smooth out a bit and I stop freaking out all the time. Exercise is helping with the mood swings, but Iím still having a really hard time concentrating at work. Iím distracted and unfocused. I canít stay on task for five minutes without my mind wandering to some divorce related thing that just canít wait. I canít sleep at night. Wine hasnít helped and has only given me too many hangovers to count. Sleeping pills help when I remember to take them before itís too late at night, but the real problem is that I donít even want to go to sleep. Itís like I didnít get done what I wanted to do that day, so Iím staying up to prevent tomorrow from coming. Itís totally irrational, I know, and all Iím doing is making it harder to get up the next day.

I told my therapist I did not want to be in La La Land, I wanted to still have my own real emotions and all that. So she prescribed the latest thing, apparently great for women. She said weíd try it but not to give up right away if I felt funny. Stay with it for a little while, and weíll change it if we need to. I talked to the nurse about what to expect from this drug: side effects, how long it would take to feel the effects, insurance coverage, etc. She answered all my questions and then told me she was on this one as well. Sheíd tried lots of different anti-depressants, and the one I was getting was the only one to work for her. Am I the last person on earth whoís not on an anti-depressant? Iím beginning to think I am.

Anyway, I joined the happy club and picked up my prescription Friday afternoon (to the tune of $56 for 14 pills), and took one at about 4:00. I went to the gym and ran for about a half hour Ė that is, until I was overcome by dizziness and the general feeling of being HIGH and had to get off the treadmill before my heart exploded. I sat down and regained my composure and I was fine.

I went home and showered and dressed to go to an art opening at a friendís gallery. I was feeling alright, talking to people, looking at art, until about 9:00 when it began to hit me. I was on drugs. You know those white cross tablets we all used to take before they were taken off the market? I felt like Iíd swallowed six or eight of them. Dry mouth, grinding jaw, perma-smile, shaky hands, full bladder but couldnít pee, rambling, nonstop talking. It was not pretty.

Oh, but the best is yet to come. I had plans to meet my friend Mark at Churchill Grounds for a show. Iím telling you, by the time he showed up at 10:30 I was in full swing. Iím not even sure what I talked about, but I donít think I stopped talking for four hours. He was laughing at me. I think I told one of the band members during the break intimate details about a painful breakup with a past boyfriend. What the fuck? Iím sure he was thinking, ďJesus Christ, this chickís nuts,Ē because I totally was.

Mark talked me into stopping by Loca Luna after the show. Really I think he just wanted to see what I was going to do next. We listened to the band for a while, but I think they were closing or something, so I had a club soda and we left. Then Mark corralled me into Halo, against my will, but hey, at that point I was really in no position to protest. We walked in and I went straight back to the bathroom where I forced out some pee and complimented some beautiful but insecure young women. They said I made their night. I came out of the bathroom and told Mark if we didnít get out of this place in thirty seconds I was going to go postal on his ass. We left at about 2:30. I drove home thinking, ďI really should not be driving right now.Ē

I fell into the bed where I did not move until Tag barked at 6:30 the next morning. I got up and let him out and vomited. I vomited Ė or rather, dry heaved Ė again four more times before dragging my dehydrated, twitching, kidney-sore body out of the bed and onto the couch at 3:00 that afternoon. I read the label on the bottle of pills Iíd taken, and it said not to drink alcohol and to use caution operating machinery. Hmm. The nurse didnít mention that. Iíd had a couple glasses of wine at the gallery and two beers at Churchill Grounds. And Iíd driven my car home. I sat in front of the television and dozed in and out of consciousness until about 10:00pm. I remembered what the doctor said about not giving up too soon. I thought maybe Iíd just had a bad reaction by mixing the drug with alcohol, so, I gave it another shot and reluctantly, timidly took a pill before I got back into the bed and read a little. I know. Iím an idiot sometimes with my refusal to give up.

I turned the light off after a while and went right to sleep. And then woke up every hour from 1:00am on. Every fucking hour. Itching, sweating, nauseous, twitching. Itís now about 11:30am and Iím still high, shaking and twitching like a junkie.

Iím sick of feeling like Iím not myself, like Iím on the verge of saying or doing something insane all the time and itís all I can do to keep it together. But, fuck this drug-induced state of nauseous euphoria too. And fuck it that I donít know whatís worse, and fuck it that I have to choose. Fuck it that itís taken me eight years to leave someone so bad for me. Fuck it that my kids have to be in this mess. Fuck it that I have plans that may not happen now. Fuck it that Iím alone in my bed every night. Fuck it that I have no one I can be completely honest with. Fuck it that I feel like I have to be so fucking positive all the time.

And fuck it that Iím feeling so fucking sorry for myself right now I canít stand to hear myself think.

~Samantha

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