“Let’s go with Lexapro.” The nice looking woman is typing into the computer as she says this. She’s a doctor, and we’ve never met before, but after a ten minute conversation she is sending a prescription for Lexapro to the Safeway pharmacy by my house. I smile, and then she feels inspired to prescribe me more Xanax, which is cool, but first I have to listen to her telling me that Xanax is a highly addictive substance that should be used in moderation, and that heavy use over time can lead to chemical dependence. I continue to smile, mostly because I know all about Xanax, but also because as a modern American twenty-something, I have already spent plenty of time weaving in and out of chemical dependence on things like Xanax.
She hands me the prescription for Xanax, which I fill the next day, but I don’t pick up the Lexapro because there’s something subtly misguided about my attitudes towards pharmaceutical remedies to my recent episodes of anxiety and panic. Despite having spent years popping benzos in a purely recreational form, my exposure to pop culture messages on drugs has inspired me to turn my nose up at the Lexapro mostly because, um, what am I going to do, take a pill every day in order to feel normal? I don’t think so. On the other hand, popping pills in order to get high: that’s more my speed.
It was in that moment that I realized that maybe my logic might be flawed. There are plenty of things that I do every day in order to feel normal. There are plenty of things that I consume every day in order to feel well adjusted in this misguided society: caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, weed, just to name a few. Those three things are pretty normalized for adults to consume on a daily basis, yet the idea of taking a little yellow pill that we commonly refer to as an “antidepressant” feels like a stigmatized surrender to my social status as someone who just can’t cope with reality. Being depressed is much more embarrassing than being an addict, yet being depressed and seeking a remedy that has been tested by medical professionals is the biggest defeat of all. Perhaps it’s because I’m surrendering control to the regulation of my own emotions to a large corporation, but, who am I kidding, my misgivings aren’t that politically motivated. It’s more that being healthy and asking for help in attaining that goal just isn’t glamorous. And it sure as fuck isn’t fun. Although, Xanax is fun, so I’ve been walking around with those white pills in my pocket for a few days now, waiting for the opportune moment to pop a pill and hop on a train to blissed out IDGAF land.
But then it occurs to me, after having walked out of the doctor’s office after fifteen minutes of saying things like, “Yes, I’ve been sad lately. No, I don’t want to kill myself,” to a total stranger that perhaps the solution of “here’s a look of pity and two prescriptions for thirty pills,” isn’t really what I’m looking for. Perhaps it’s knowing that I’ve spent the last ten years of my life self medicating with chemicals that really didn’t work out for me, and finally upon my arrival at in institution that is supposed to fix the problem – getting the same solution that I give myself on a daily basis feels empty. How many times I have I walked into a party only to get Xanax bars dumped in my hand? And now, here I am, with this prescription, and I’m wondering, “Am I supposed to call my drug dealer and ask him to fill this scrip for me? And does my drug dealer take my insurance?” Although, no – I’m going to Safeway because Safeway gives me these drugs for free. (As much as I do want to support my local narcotics entrepreneur, I can’t say no to free shit.) I guess what I’m saying is: if I wanted more drugs, I would have called my drug dealer, not my doctor.
That’s okay. I think I’m just going to stay sick until it kills me, but at least I get to get blissed out on Benzos nine more times before I die. Maybe taking the Lexapro wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but I have a feeling that further attempts to alter my brain chemistry and therefore my perception of reality with drugs isn’t going to solve the problem. It hasn’t solved the problem for years, so why would that change now?