Thursday, December 11, 2008

So my doctor wants to put me on an antidepressant.

"But," I told him, "I'm not depressed. Unhappy at times, of course. Discouraged? Sure. Not optimistic about the future? Have you been reading the news?"

He said, "I just think you dwell too much on the dark side of life."

True enough. But the world is a dark place. If it wasn't such a cliche, I'd quote Yeats' "The Second Coming." That I can recall Beckett's “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more," says more about my education than it does my world view.

Doesn't it?

Last year, when losing our daughter seemed darkly certain, yes, I was depressed. When I lost my job and our finances were desperate, I was depressed. When my father died, I was depressed. But being depressed when things happen seems natural, and to cushion yourself against these shocks is to deny your humanity.

It is the depression that has no reason, the black dog, that might call for a pill to muzzle the beast. But for me, that black dog is there to remind me that life isn't a comfort and that sadness and struggle are all part of this existence.

I told my doctor this, and explained that when I tried Wellbutrin (even the name suggests a mediocrity of emotion) it made me feel removed from the people around me, and I found it hard to engage because I just didn't care. I don't want to not care. In fact, I want to care more.

I suggested to my doctor that if he really wanted to know how I was doing day to day, he could read this blog. I think I'm pretty open here, and for good or ill, you know how I'm doing on any given week depending on what shiny objects are attracting my attention.

He was intrigued, pulled out a pad and pen and said, "I'll do that. What's the name of your blog?"

I told him.

"A Dark Planet."

He sighed and said, "Oh, David."

So, Dr. Evans, if you are indeed reading this, let me end on a brighter note, something in a major key.

Something like Party Time!


Anonymous said...

Dave, I had a doctor prescribe Prozac as a weight loss drug once. I was at 248 pounds and dropping.

I am now back up to 285, diabetic, and scared shitless the obligatory Winter heart attack, despite exercise and controlling my blood pressure, is just around the corner.

All because some quack misprescribed a antidepressant to do something it wasn't designed to do. 30 of those extra pounds I mentioned were a direct result of the "weight loss" drug.

So my suggestion to you is to mention the word "malpractice" to this sonofabitch. And tell his pharma rep to go fuck himself/herself.

JD Rhoades said...

"I just think you dwell too much on the dark side of life."

No shit. You're a mystery/thriller writer.

I had the same experience with Wellbutrin. I wasn't depressed. I wasn't...anything. If that's what people think of as "normal," I want no part of it. I'm not fond of the Black Birds when they fly in for a visit, but they are, by God, all mine.

Writing is my therapy. That and rum.

Anonymous said...

All throughout your post I was thinking of the (under-appreciated, IMO) Kids In The Hall movie, Brain Candy. It sorta touches on your overall theme, but with an occasional homo-erotic sub-plot.

Graham Powell said...

Feeling down for good reason doesn't require any medication stronger than Killian's Irish Red. I mean, I have the sunniest damn disposition in the lower 48 states and there have been times in the past year where I barely felt like getting out of the bed.

But don't worry - all things must pass, and this will too.

RedTree said...

I agree with JD. I don't like it one damn bit when the darkness comes over me but I gave up fighting against it years ago. I realized that it was part of what I am and to alter it was to lose part of myself.
I can live with the darkness. But I can't live not being myself.
It'll pass, if you let it...

Harbinger Of Doom said...

Absolutely love your writing...

Anonymous said...

I kept my word. I like the blog.

Dr. E

Karen Olson said...

Way too many drugs being prescribed these days.

At one point I was suffering through what was clearly, to me, a physical issue. My doctor gave me a prescription for Prozac because "You seem depressed." I told her I was depressed because she wasn't paying any damn attention to what I was saying. I tossed the prescription, found another doctor who found the actual problem, a low thyroid, and prescribed the proper medication and I was 100 percent better.

Jeff Shelby said...

Just for the simple fact that Dr. E was willing to check out the blog tells me that he is, at the very least, a doctor who takes a genuine interest in his patients and not someone who is offering a quick, easy fix. That is a nice thing.

David Terrenoire said...


You are absolutely right. That is a nice thing and as you might suspect, I'm not the easiest patient a doctor could have.

Phoebe Fay said...

Been there. Went to the doctor because I wanted my blood sugar and thyroid checked, and all he wanted to do was give me antidepressants. Seriously, his hand kept hovering over his prescription pad the whole time I was explaining to him that I never ever EVER want to go on antidepressants again.

I strongly recommend you get a good multi-vitamin and some fish oil and/or flax oil. Omega 3s make a huge difference in brain chemistry.

And me, I personally keep the black dog at bay with 5-htp, which is the stuff your body uses to make seratonin and those other happy neurotransmitters. It's made from a plant and is available at health food stores, and it makes my life so much better than Effexor ever did.