Can We Be Anti-Depressed?

I’m wondering lately about these medications that encourage us to think that in “four-to-six weeks” we may feel less grief about our losses, less confusion about our terrors, less anxiety about our inability to manage the demands of daily life, less dread about vulnerably, loneliness and death.

And then, of course, there is the sub-text of these psychotropic drugs as in the TV ads where the principal players are dancing through a meadow or a couple in a sailboat are kissing or a grandfather is throwing hoops with the kids while at the same time the voice-over is warning about suicidal ideation, kidney failure, incurable infections, heart arrhythmia or or fatal anemia.

When we find ourselves in a dead-end tunnel with no light slipping in anywhere, we may elect to try these drugs along, at times, with talk therapy.  The pills are pieces of magic as we ingest them and wait for the miracles. Alert and alarmed, we watch for the sinister side-effects like arrivals of mystery-deliveries.  Tremors of the hands.  Unbearable thirst. A throbbing of the heart in strange places, in the mouth, in the neck.  Sudden, thrilling weight gain! (We feel hunger, we feel ravenous for nourishment and joy, we are up at all hours of the night eating peanut butter sandwiches and lemon tarts.)  Are the panic attacks lessening?  Are we sleeping better?  And what about those “serious sexual side effects” that come with these drugs? Is there any way that those side effects are going to return us to a joyful life?

For days and weeks we count on the implied promise of feeling happy, or maybe just a bit happier if not ecstatic.  We look at the pills as if little genies inside them are gathering potency and soon, any moment now, they will blast forth and we will feel release, and joy, peace and love.

No miracle really happens.  No one knows if these drugs really work, no one is certain, but some think maybe they might.  Some accept that perhaps one’s terrors simply lessen with time and one is not as tuned in to cosmic unhappiness or despair as once one was.

Or we face up to the reality that we’re here, there are no deals to make, and no genies in a bottle.  We get a grip.  Or we lose our grip.  One day follows another and that is the delivery we get each day. A new day every day may feel unremarkable, but it’s all there is.  It is, in fact, everything.