SELECTIVE SEROTONIN REUPTAKE INHIBITORS
I've never been a big Robin Williams fan. He always made me a bit nervous with his manic delivery. A friend of mine attended Mill Valley high school with RW back in the 60's and said he was always like that. That said, I think he was a real talent and died way too young, by his own hand. According to all news accounts he was battling depression. A few months back a friend of the CLGM, Christine, also took her own life. Like Williams she hanged herself. Like Williams she was depressed. And very possibly like Christine, Williams was eating SSRIs. In Christine's case it was Zoloft.
I know a little something about SSRIs. Around the turn of the century, I was broke, a bit lost, recently divorced, working a job i hated and dealing with a few personal demons. According to a couple of medical professionals I was severely depressed with bi-polar tendencies. One Dr. suggested anti-depressants. Why not? I'd self medicated for years with pot and booze and it no longer seemed to be working. I felt shitty enough to try anything. Prozac, Zoloft and Welbutrin were the popular SSRIs of the day. I'll take Zoloft.
The medical community will tell you it's a lack of serotonin that's causing you to feel bad. They also will admit that these drugs may increase your serotonin....but they don't know how. Most of these drugs were designed to take care of some other problem. Welbutrin was developed to get people to stop smoking. They will tell you it may take as much as a month for them to work. In the meantime you should stop drinking. 14 years later, they now will tell you the opposite. It's a 20 billion dollar business. So what if they don't get it right immediately.
After two weeks on Zoloft I was ready to stick the 12 ga. in my mouth. I was hyperventilating, on the verge of tears all day, and completely despondent. I called the Dr. and explained how i felt. "Give it some time." he said calmly. "It takes a while to work." I was at their mercy. I pulled the covers over my head and stopped answering the phone.
I am blessed to come from a tight family. It wasn't long before Mupp showed up at my door. If he hadn't I probably wouldn't be writing this. In between wrenching sobs, blubbering like a baby, I rolled a joint and lit up. I'd stopped taking the pills the day before. I felt a little better. Mupp listened and nodded. My parents called. Ever the pragmatist, my old man suggested I get off my ass and exercise. I started running 6 miles a day in the April cold. Within a couple of weeks I was on the road to recovery.
Depression is one of those maladies that feeds on itself. You become depressed. Then you continue to feel shame and more depression for being depressed. It's a lonely road. Sometimes someone else's perspective on the disease will make one feel a little better. But more times than not, it won't. I still can get depressed, but it never lasts. I'm very thankful for that. Pharmaceutical companies make big bank on depression. So there is little incentive for them to suggest alternatives to SSRIs. From my experience those fucking little pills only make things worse. But that's just me. Take it for what it's worth. As my suicide prevention hot line phone machine message used to say "Get your head out of the oven, and leave a message at the beep!" If you are depressed here's my prescription- twist one up and crack a cold one, after your run. You'll feel better. If not, keep running.