Because those little pills morph my body into a sleeping
bag only to leave me lost in the forest. Because my meds
make me sleepy & leave me distracted. Because depression
itself has nearly the same side effects on its own: fatigue,
trouble concentrating. The only difference is I can’t stop
taking my depression each morning.
Because my depression has made it abundantly clear it is
tired of supporting big pharma.
Because the more I think about it means the more I want to
stop means it would sure be nice to feel what it feels like to
feel again. To scald my skin in the shower, stand there
storyboarding until my entire exoskeleton is a summer
Let’s see what poems come streaming from behind my eyes
during withdrawal. Let’s see what writes itself on the
shower walls in cold sweats.
Plus, I haven’t had a breakdown for a while, haven’t been
hospitalized since 2005. Maybe that means I’m better. Or at
least getting better? My therapist thinks I’ve been doing
OK too, so well I decided to cancel my sessions. Said I’ve
just been so busy.
Learning means growing means living the same day over &
over again means never going anywhere I haven’t gone
before. I stay inside. I stay home. I name the dust bunnies
in the corner of my room. Feed them Corn Pops.
I go to bed every night at exactly nine o’clock. At nine
forty-five, I get up from bed to pee. My boyfriend waits for
my footsteps from the couch downstairs & if by ten o’clock
he doesn’t hear the creaking floorboards, he knows
something is wrong. I could name the fifteen other menial
tasks that take me through the day & the order & times in
which they are completed, but I wouldn’t want you to read
completed as accomplished.
I’m thinking of stopping my antidepressants. I may have
told you this already, but it’s been hard for me to remember
lately, hard for me to recall even the smallest things. I often
have to be reminded I am standing in a place I have stood
in before. But at least I know when I’m told.
On Monday, when my coworkers ask how my weekend
was, I usually just say fine because I can’t recall a single
thing I did unless I text my boyfriend & ask & I don’t want
to alarm him any more than he already is—about my failing
memory, about my depression.
A study published in 2006 says the meds I’ve been
prescribed for nearly fifteen years have “revealed no
significant differences in memory-load-dependent
activation between conditions.” But then there are other
sites that suggest I call my doctor if I experience memory
loss. Call it a serious side effect. Say it may have
something to do with my salt levels. It’s all so confusing. I
want to exist without depending on a doctor to approve
refills on self-worth.
You ask, Why is there a knife on the counter? Why are the
cabinets open again? You ask & ask & ask & get so
annoyed when I say I don’t know, that I don’t remember,
but really, I don’t remember why.
I’m worried I’ll forget how to swallow one day, forget how
to breathe, because what if my medicine makes me more
absent-minded than my family’s cognitive genes ever will?
Sometime, I even forget about the things that make each
day unique & beautiful & this is what I thought the meds
were supposed to help with, & instead, they are the reason I
do the same thing every day, so I can remember more,
remember each day as the same day I wake up in every
morning. A Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day for the mental
health patient. Sure, maybe I could try something new,
switch it up a bit, be spontaneous as my therapist
But as much as I want to stop my meds, I will not stumble
upon the black hole I hid all those years ago. That heavy,
hairy cesspool of the past, those heavy, hairy thoughts of
darkness, because even when amnesia drapes herself over
my shoulders like a winter coat, I have to remind myself
how unseasonably warm it’s been, & how I’ve worn this
coat before, & how great of a job it’s been doing.
Adam Gianforcaro is the author of the poetry collection Morning Time in the Household, Looking Out and a children’s picture book, Uma the Umbrella. His poems can be found or are forthcoming in Poet Lore, Little Patuxent Review, The Minnesota Review, Literary Orphans, and others.