not quite fiction (part 4)
(april 13, 2002)

listening: thunder road melissa etheridge & bruce springsteen
reading: the complete poems anne sexton

At this rate, I might as well get an agent or something.

part 4

Until this very day I still can't be certain whether Prozac and Zoloft really worked their chemical magic and rewired the circuits in my brain and actually managed to quiet all that static in my head, or whether it was just simply a result of years and years of ferociously wrestling with my own deviant thoughts until something right snapped. Trying to tell whether these pills worked for me would be like trying to tell at what point exactly, by the milisecond, the day turns to night.

But I miss the idea of renewing all my tired hopes with something as external as a white pill. It is endlessly amusing to me that something as unaffected and tangible as these pills can cure something as abstract and innate as my messed up head. The external curing the internal. The outside curing the inside. What does the outside know about the inside? When put this way it sounds almost ridiculous and laughable.

But ah! Zoloft, Xanax and Prozac! My white and pink knights, beige and green armies of silence! All marched up in their silvery foil!

I remember the first time I was prescribed Zoloft. I was so excited. I remember asking, how fast will this kick in? Someone said, I can't quite remember if it was my shrink or a friend who had taken it before, it will probably kick in in about a week. All my woes will be gone in a week! A week! The end is now dateable!

Part of me knew all along that this would take longer than a week, that is, if it would work at all. Part of me knew this could be just another wasted effort, like everything else before this. But it had been really long since I had any solid, real hope of recovery, so I wasn't going to let pessimism, or common sense, dull out this rare moment of delirium. A week! That's just another ER episode away!

Of course, it took a whole lot longer than a week. If not this story would've been a lot shorter and I would have to think of a fresh new topic to write about. Zoloft got an upgrade to another drug, which I can't remember the name, but I remember its sweet coating. Or perhaps I took it together with Zoloft. I can't remember. I would've taken notes on these details if I knew I'm going to write about it. Sweetpills got upgraded to Prozac. Throw in a couple of Xanax prescriptions for the exam weeks.

So the pills became part of my routine. A Zoloft and a Sweetpill each morning before school. Later down the road, two Prozacs each morning. I rarely missed a day. But sometimes I did just to see if there was any difference.

Honestly? I don't think there was any. Perhaps the drugs were silent workers, discreetly rebuilding my neurological pathways when I was sleeping, quietly paving my road to sanity night after night, so I could be better before I know it. But they must be real discreet, because I really couldn't tell.


Unlike Elizabeth Wurtzel, who wrote Prozac Nation, my favourite Gen-X icon of the depressed, she felt the effect of Prozac almost instantly and surely as a brick, well, as instantaneous and as sure as you can get with these sort of things, anyway. I can't say I had the same experience. But then again, back in those dark years, nothing was instant. Everything was too long. Everything was like a torrid, exhausting love affair that refuses to end.

Except it was stronger than love. This might come across as selfish and hurtful to some people. But any OCD sufferer knows this for a fact. Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'hara can't win this one.

Love, even in all its grandeur, for us, is simply a distraction. If you've loved an OCD sufferer before, you've been used. You were nothing more than a decoy.


previous entry: stage fright (april 11, 2002)