I started being serious about taking medication for my depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and whatever else in September of 2015. I’d tried it on and off since I was a teenager, but I was never very motivated to take it and my compliance was incredibly low. I’d asked my primary care physician for anti-depressants once as an adult, but when it completely knocked out my sex drive I abandoned the whole idea.

Since then, I’ve seen a psychiatrist and two psychiatric nurse practitioners regularly. I also saw several different psychiatrists in the hospital and my stay in a psych ward last October. I currently have someone I see monthly who I respect and am confident in. Over the last month we’ve changed up my medications a little and seem to have landed on something that is working well for me. I am so incredibly grateful to my professional team and my prescription drugs. They changed everything. They saved me.

Nadine and I used to walk around Green Lake once a week. We’ve recently gotten out of the habit, but I’m sure we’ll fall back in. There were these two dogs who always seemed to be there the same time we were. Pitbull mixes with sharp ears and short legs, they walked around the lake as if they were on patrol. They owned that territory. One day, one of the dogs was missing. Then we stopped seeing them all together. But today on my run I saw both dogs back on duty. I couldn’t stop smiling.

My friend George–who I’ve known since I was thirteen–came to visit me the last couple days. Before he left today he tidied up the entire apartment and took care of a branch that was hanging right at eye level on our sidewalk. No wonder I’ve kept him around.

Autobiography · Mental Health · Poetry


© Photography by Tanya De 2008.
© Photography by Tanya De, 2008.

I’m tired all the time.
But my new medication
must be working,
because today I heard myself

I had to stop.
To check to see if
the sound was really
coming out of me.

On my run this morning
I think I was smiling.
Breath heavy,
tufts of clouds like smoke
propelled out of my mouth.
Legs strong, feet steady on
leaf-smattered ground.

Something is shifting.

I think about calling my NP and
confessing my love to him.
Almost cry over the fact
no one tried this sooner.
Terrified it’s going to
stop working.

But for now,
I’m whistling.

Autobiography · Mental Health


"Seaside Silhouette" © James Harrison, 2014. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Seaside Silhouette” © James Harrison, 2014. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

“Hey, kiddo,” my dad says to me over the phone. My whole body becomes sunshine for a moment. “I don’t even know what time it is these days. It’s either light or dark,” he tells me when I ask when he’ll be at our new apartment.

“I feel that. It’s five o’clock all day, and then it’s suddenly time for bed.”

Quitting coffee for the second time this year was not timed well. Setting the clocks back is exhausting, caffeine withdrawals doubly so. As a result, I’ve been a walking shell for the last week.

It’s an accomplishment whenever I get out of bed, shower, get dressed. A day I remember to feed myself without Mason having to remind me is marked down as a success.

My writing has became a leaky faucet, drip by drip I work on three different projects. Mostly I just stare at the screen.

Started watching TV again. Lay on the couch underneath a soft, teal blanket and stare at the box as if I’m actually capable of keeping track of the plot line.

The train takes me out to the opposite side of the city and I run from the stop to the office of my new psychiatric nurse. For an hour and a half he asks me questions. “You’re on all these medications and you really don’t feel any better?”

“Some days. Maybe. A little. I don’t know. It’s hard to judge.”

He listens intently to all my answers and begins his wrap up with, “I want to take you off basically all of these, but first we have to find one thing that works.”

Each word felt like he was unburying me. Another brick lifted off my legs. I knew I’d cry if I said anything more than, “Yes, please.”