I’m standing in the kitchen staring at my knife block.
Next to it, cartons of pharmaceutical paraphernalia are pushed haphazardly into an old plant pot; an expression perhaps of how I see my daily medical needs: something whimsically thrust upon my life without warning. Something I hope one day to put in the trash. Unceremoniously.
I’ve been taking anti-depressants for two years and today I am about to take my last one. This is it. I’ve stopped my prescription. I’ve deleted it from the Medical ID on my phone. Citalopram, at its varying strengths, will be something I used to take. Exciting, really. Or is it?
It’s tiny. I’m down to 10mg a day. Something my doctor calls “practically inconsequential”. Only it has been the complete opposite. That small white pill has been something I’ve had to declare for insurance purposes. Sometimes for employment purposes. It’s held me steady when the thought of dragging myself out of bed has seemed too much effort. It’s held back some of my nightmares. It’s allowed me to sleep. It has quietened my mind when my brain had buzzed too loudly. It is the reason I’ve had to suffer through menstruation without ibuprofen for the last 24 months. It has been both a menace and a lifeline.
It’s made people judge me from the minute it was announced. I’ve been considered a suicide risk by a stranger on the phone. It’s caused pitying smiles, abrupt silences, gentle pats on my shoulder. I’ve had to fight doctors to prescribe it, and I’ve had to fight to stop it. I’ve fought for every dosage increase, and every decrease. I’m still not convinced I even believe in it. I would never want to promote giving such drugs to anyone else, despite the “success” I’ve had on them. I’m actually not sure how I feel about such things at all. I just know that they were once something I fought for; if nothing else, a purpose.
But tonight I’m taking my last one. This one little pill. It’s smaller than my smallest finger nail. It tastes of nothing. My family are so ecstatic, so proud, believing me to have won some sort of battle. Initially, so did I. When I cancelled the prescription, I rang around joyously. But in this moment, I don’t really feel anything. I just think back to all the nights I have stood at my kitchen counter and popped this pill in a rush before I jumped into bed, or fed the cat, or watched some inane show on TV. A five second habit I try not to give much thought to. Tonight’s pill is no different. Except it’s my last one.
That’s not to say it’s my last ever. This isn’t my first trip to the rodeo, just my longest visit. It should feel like a jump, but it isn’t. It’s a stop. Tonight I will take Citalopram, tomorrow I will not. I might feel shaky. I might be nauseous as my body recallibrates. I might not. I might leap into the sunset and never look back.
Whatever comes next, this is my last one. This “inconsequential” white solid mass that sits apathetically on my kitchen counter. I’m standing in the kitchen staring at my knife block. Today’s the day I never really believed would come. But it has. I down the pill in a hurry, swallowing hard with fruit juice, wincing as it hits the back of my throat. I am in a hurry to play with the cat. I cough a little.
That was my last pill.
I did it.