lexapro_logoAfter almost a year of being on and off different anti-depressants at my own discretion, I decided to start taking a box of something called Lexapro which a doctor had given to me from his sample closet some time ago. The only reason being I was annoyed it had taken up room in the back of my clothes closet for so long. And I was bored. And probably depressed. But mostly curious because their logo looks like a Typhoon Genie.

After several weeks of taking the tiny white pills, I was very impressed. It had achieved what Effexor, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Zoloft, and peyote had failed to do – make me a happy drunk. I wasn’t the “throw-down” angry drunk I always wanted to be, but I wasn’t sitting in a corner with a bottle of Root Beer Schnapps either, and I think that’s a major improvement. Of course, when I wasn’t drunk, the only effect I noticed is that I was much more inclined to do jumping jacks at one in the morning than fall asleep. I think this means I should just drink more often. Not that I wasn’t without my concerns. For instance, I listen to a lot of Nick Cave – sad songs all about the nastiness of human nature. I used to tear up, but with Lexapro I started laughing until my eyes watered. If both end results involve crying, what’s the point?

Still, I figured I might as well take Lexapro on a regular basis and tried to fill a prescription. Turns out, for my insurance company to pay for something that is actually effective I would need to complete a face-to-face interview with a mental health specialist. I told them reading this website would probably clear up any doubts, but they didn’t buy it.

Sitting in the waiting room of a state’s mental health and substance abuse clinic should make anyone depressed who already isn’t. All the patients are extremely fat or extremely skinny, most of them extremely crazy, too. I sat there for two hours watching them come and then go while their nurse or therapist kept yelling the phrase, “Remember, find a group!” until they were out the front door. There was also a huge pile of charity bread in the corner, from sealed bags of hotdog buns to unwrapped loafs lying on the laminate tile floor. About half of them stopped to pick up what I had a feeling was dinner.

In addition to the obvious national social and economic crisis this group represented, it also brought up a more personal theological issue. Many of these individuals are, I’m sure, deserving to go to heaven. However, the time spent with them in the lobby was more than enough for me. How can my eternal paradise include some guy who talks to issues of Cosmopolitan while waiting for his Lithium? This is the central paradox of the Christian afterlife and why I must conclude it does not exist.

Or I am going to hell. I guess that solves the paradox, as well.

By the time I finally met my “intake specialist”, I was very tired and past the point of calculating what I thought the answers to the questions she peppered me with ought to be in order to appear hopeless enough to get my prescription filled yet not despondent enough to be assigned group therapy sessions with the Cosmo guy. After she asked me to count to 30 by three it went a little like this:

Without looking at a watch, what time of day would you say it is, morning, afternoon, or night? Afternoon. Who is the president? Al Gore. Do you have any sexual practices that may be harmful to the community? Is that code for gay sex? No comment. What are your accomplishments and goals? Umm, I haven’t pretended to have those since high school.

Apparently, my answers were good enough to be approved. But I quickly learned that the approval was not for Lexapro, but to be seen my another person in two weeks for another psych evaluation. I was becoming exhausted and not sure the whole process was really worth it for something that was probably a placebo anyway. Now I am waiting for that appointment and, I admit, will probably go. I figure if nothing else, I can stock up on the most important part of a sandwich. And if any future party guest asks why there is an imprint of a shoe on their bread, it will make for a very good story.

UPDATE AFTER TWO WEEKS: When I arrived, the bread was still there on the floor – though thankfully not the same bread. The psychiatrist who interviewed me this time had a shorter list of questions, although it was clear the most important ones were “Do you see or hear things others don’t?” and “Do you find the television or radio is saying things directed solely at you?”. Though I answered each negatively, anyone with even the slightest familiarity of David Hume (or any epistemological philosopher, really) would know the answer to the former question is, “How the fuck would I know?” And I firmly believe the correct reply to the latter is, “Yes, they’re called commercials.”

celexAfter all was said done, she gave me some meds – but not Lexapro! Because they don’t carry it, I get to try something else called Celexa. After some research, I found that their logo is an equally appealing Whirlwind Genie. But I also discovered “47% of patients who did not respond to the older, dated drug Celexa responded to treatment with Lexapro.” That is not the even funniest part. The doctor was actually the second in my life to open my chart up for the first time and proclaim, “Wow! Your’e still alive!?” Maybe the fact I couldn’t stop giggling for 5 minutes after she said that was the real reason I got my pills.

UPDATE AFTER FOUR WEEKS: For some reason, Celexa made my arms numb for days after drinking heavily. So, I decided to stop taking it.