Those Damned Little Pills


For the very first time since I swallowed my first 20 mg. tablet of Paxil four-and-a-half years ago, I finally understand why so many people living with mood disorders stop or want to stop ingesting those damned little pills. Those little pills, like slap-happy lovers, amend their  promises of change immediately after they’ve failed you once again.  One more chance?  One more try?  We’re narrowing the field; one day we’ll strike the right chord, just have patience.  Patience?  What patience?  NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) reported that adults who live with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than other Americans . . .

Imagine yourself standing next to the Greyhound bus to say good-bye to Hope as she takes a window seat, looking at you detached and hopeless2indifferent.  Your worst fear is happening: That Greyhound bus is leaving you utterly Hopeless.  Hopelessness is a loaded .38 in the nightstand on your dad’s side of the bed; hopelessness is impressionable and interested in alternatives; hopelessness implies that the rough-housing and agonizing conflict you’ve accepted as life is all yours, pal, so grab some gloves and climb into the ring!

Eighty-sixed and cast aside, people with mood disorders are often adrift and desperately clutch to any buoyant object to preserve the credo of the awringingdowncast, that missing people like you are rescued.  But there is no rescue.  Or search.  No one even noticed you were gone.  But then serendipity zips past on her jet-ski waving and reassuring her return. Immediately you squeeze and squeeze again until every bit of blue sky is wrung from her fly by.  You weave strands of hope into bonds of promises and cling to them for their six-week trial, hoping your wholeheartedness created the perfect environment for the mood stabilizing drug to speed down your arterial on-ramp and slide into your bloodstream, easy-sneezy!

Nope.  Nothing.  Nada.  That bitch Hope and her batty cousin, Serendipity played you once again for the hapless Sad Sack, the lunatic adrugcompdesperate for clemency, the believer of broken promises in the form of a pill.  Those damned little pills!  The pharmaceutical industry’s great hoax endorsed by psychiatrist’s, dispensed by Pharmacists, and dutifully swallowed with some water and a handful of hope.  Hope that it’ll take; make a difference; do something; ease my burden; make me laugh.

At my desk 30 minutes after waking, the gravity of hopelessness, fatigue, and apathy plunge my mood underwater; the depressive side of bipolar ajetleads to chronic pleas for the manic cavalry to save the day.  Hold on, I mutter to myself, Just hold on for the pills; they’ll carry you far away from despair. Into my mind’s ground fog I wander further out on the pier when a carefully apportioned packet of dextro-amphetamine salts (think F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet in a mach-1 vertical climb); mood-stabilizer (think the F-22 Raptor running out of gas); and anti-depressant (think glider) are swallowed to ensure mood stability.  Followed by a pair of diuretics to reduce significant edema caused by heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.  At last I down two pain medications and one muscle relaxant for back and knee pain associated with recent weight gain caused by heart failure and venous insufficiency.

How did life become a scene from Soylent Green?  Not so long ago I’d lounge sleepily awaiting the skipping return to bed of my spouse.  Now mycomforter mornings are strict regimens in a very specific sequence to assure all medication has been ingested.  I too, would like nothing more than to flee from this pill-filled merry-go-round so-called Life and run back to that sanctuary of pressed sheets, downy comforters, famished pillows which swallow everything, and quiet, inside-joke laughter reserved for those blessed with wellness.

Instead, every morning I sit at our kitchen table despising those damned little pills. 


Love Is Blind. Until Your Dumped.


It is universally agreed by trainers and corner-men that the most crushing and heartbreaking punch to survive isn’t the surprise of a cross, or the speed of a combination, or the immensely powerful and liver-targeted straight-right; and it is definitely not the pit-a-pat punches like upper cuts, hooks, or haymakers.  The Go-To, KO-certified, and Sunday-punch promised blow to land is the suckerBOXING2 punch connecting to your exposed soft-spot: that irritated and aching bridge between your blindsided disbelief and your simmering pity turned rolling boil of anger and self-declared vengeance at A) Being dumped; B) Being dumped by him; and C) Being dumped by him in your family’s dining room next to his empty chair via text message while he is using your family’s first floor powder room!





  1. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex in the City) got dumped by a hastily scribbled post-it note stuck crookedly on the front of her refrigerator.
  2. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex in the City) got dumped by a no-show groom (Mr. Big) on her wedding day. (Ouch!)
  3. An acquaintance came home after a fourteen hour day, opened the door to their “Dwell-Inspired” upper-floor condo only to see that everything was gone.  Everything!  Except for a hand-inscribed letterpress envelope addressed using the unusually etymological distancing term “Mr.” followed by his “maiden surname” lying on the kitchen counter as if it had been tossed like a hasty afterthought and skidded across the marble, bumping into the backsplash which, six years later, remains unopened and near in approximation to where it ended his seventeen year. . .whatever it wasn’t.
  4. One of my high school classmates got dumped while watching ESPN.  Her long-term boyfriend was caught on camera and the Jumbo-Tron proposing to a very close friend of hers at halftime of a Charlotte Bobcat’s basketball game.
  5. A graduate school colleague was divorcing her husband over the holidays.  On a quiet and snowy Christmas Eve her spouse stormed through the front door, bee-lined to the eight-foot Frasier Fir Christmas tree, and halfxmastreewithout uttering a single word proceeded to produce a handsaw and cut the tree in half.  He lifted the top half from the bottom and dragged it through the Great Room, and the den/office, parlor, foyer, leaving a trail of shattered ornaments, strings of icicles, and the thirty-seven years old Trumpeting Angel Gabriel tree-topper (an extravagant purchase, yet heralding their first Christmas together) lay dismembered, his trumpet reduced to an unrecognizable piece of gilded tin, as though Paul Bunyan‘s very heel heavy with hate repeatedly stomped the delicate trumpet until all sentiment and recognition was extricated. As Maggie sat stunned staring at the mesa-shaped evergreen, his voice bellowed from beyond the threshold, “Half of everything is mine!  You hear?  And I’ll take it when I want it!”

6.  At the height of a very popular annual Beaux Arts Ball in which guests donned extravagant and capricious masquerades, one gay wallflower wore an astonishing and eccentric mask and headdress which concealed a disproportioned and blemish-scarred countenance.  To compensate for his displeasing features, he doggedly pursued his studies and created a personality which was very bright, articulate, quick-witted, and genuinely entertaining.  The analytical mathematics major drew immediate attention upon entering the ball and even, to our astonishment, charmed the ambrosial, rapturous and celestial Calvin (heavenly homosexual bar none) whom, it is rumored, delights in the cruel art of teasing amour’s with no intention of sharing his passion fruit.  And as bewitching as he was, he was equally malevolent and behaved abominably to any unsuitable wannabe ignoble to his bloodline by acting notoriously destructive and unabashedly callous in the public rejection of hapless paramour.  I turned to Dane and said this spectacle isn’t going to end on a happy note to which Dane replied that bitch Calvin is going dismantle Michael like boning a chicken!  Michael’s repartee was a well-rehearsed and exquisitely played obstacle like a moat or a citadel or an arm’s length, banning any intimacy from suspicious admirers.  Dane and I kept vigil from a distance should Michael require help.  But to our utter astonishment Calvin and Michael were seen leaving the ball, together, swallowed by the new moon’s saturating darkness.  How long before Calvin tires of Michael’s stonewalling and pulls it off Michael’s head, I asked. Dane replied quickly, Hopefully long enough for Michael to find the fuse box!  It was said a few weeks later that, indeed, Michael had been beheaddressed and Calvin kissed Michael softly, saying he’d wanted to kiss him all night (but ostrich feathers and rotting fruit cocktail kept him at bay).  It was also said that Michael did indeed get dumped, there wasn’t a public spectacle.  Instead Calvin admitted his Park and 96th Street breeding left him inflated and oblivious to most everyone, yet Michael’s charm and witty abandon caught Calvin by surprise.  And with that he kissed Michael’s cheek and trotted across the Common.  Michael never, ever, ever talked about his week in heaven.

And me?  I got dumped by a toe-headed, short, bronzed waif after two indulgent weeks for a cartoon character who, oddly enough, trailed us the entire afternoon (except when posing for pictures).  Who was he?

bugsbunnyBugs Bunny, of course!

  1. And boy, did I feel Goofy.