Tuesday, March 9 2010
Because of the peculiarities of her neurochemistry, Gretchen takes the antidepressant Celexa, and this has allowed her to be a functioning member of society for the time we've been together. It's not a perfect solution, but few fixes are, particularly for problems as complicated as those associated with mood. This whole time I've been curious what Celexa actually does to a person, and a recent article in the New Yorker made me even more curious. One of the theses advanced by the article was that antidepressants work mostly via the placebo effect, though not the purely-psychological kind tested for with sugar pills. Because antidepressants have real (and often profoundly mental) side effects, people know the difference between being on them and being on sugar pills. And so the healing they then experience has a potential to be mostly psychological. While people with existential depression problems (such as Gretchen) will beg to differ, I could imagine this being the case for large swaths of people being treated with antidepressants.
Though I've never been diagnosed as depressed and do not feel that my mood swings are especially wide, I've been wanting to try Gretchen's Celexa for years. The problem is that I never remember to actually pop one of her pills. That's how it is with pills for me; I have to consciously work to keep them in mind as an option. But I've been thinking more about pills lately just from watching Intervention so much (where a good ten percent of the addicts have a problem with pills). So today I put aside a small number of Gretchen's Celexas near my computer and immediately swallowed a 20 mg pill (she'll probably read this and yell at me for not asking her, but not asking was part of the experiment). Though Celexa is supposed to take days or even weeks to alter a personality, I felt the effects from that pill within an hour. It manifested as a speediness, and I found myself clenching my jaw.
Later in the day I started feeling hungry in an unusual way. It felt like a cross between acid reflux and nausea, though somehow I knew I could cure it by eating. Ordinarily I would have satisfied this feeling by making myself a peanut butter sandwich, but I found myself craving something more complicated. So I ended up making a fairly elaborate vindaloo-style chickpea and mushroom curry. I was inspired by some Ethiopian injera Gretchen had brought out of the refrigerator (Indian curries work well with injera).
Meanwhile Gretchen and I had been tasked with the job of putting a couple of the neighbor's cats away in the afternoon (after they'd been let out by another set of neighbors tasked with the job of feeding them and letting them out). I went over to this neighbor's house to put away the cats, but only one of them (a black female) showed up, while the other, a mostly-white male, was still on the lam. I ended up going there three times, which really threw a monkeywrench into my afternoon. And after she came home, Gtechen went over there twice. We called the neighbors to ask if they'd seen the cat and wondered if we should call the cats' mom, whose only possible reaction would be to worry. But then on my last attempt I found the little fucker, looking like a moving clump of snow on a different neighbor's lawn. The job fell to me to call the various neighbors to tell them that the cat had been found. Normally cold-calling people like this would have been stressful for me, but evidently the Celexa had dissolved all such anxieties, and I had no problem making these calls.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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