The scariest thing I’ve ever seen on television are those Zoloft commercials with the sad-faced little bubble moping along under a cloud until it gulps down a couple Zoloft and is suddenly doing a cha-cha line with other unreasonably happy zombie bubbles. The commercial’s soft, brain-choking totalitarianism ranks it right up there with the scariest thing I’ve ever seen anywhere, that Cold War-era cartoon with the lovably dopey Bert the Turtle counseling children about how they should “Duck and Cover” in the event of a nuclear blast.
They say the Unabomber was crazy, but he made sense when he warned that mass-prescribed mood-altering pharmaceuticals are evil precisely because they force you to tolerate situations which you’d naturally find intolerable. If your brain is squirting chemicals through your bloodstream that make you depressed, it’s usually for a very good reason. It means there’s something DEPRESSING going on in your life that needs to be fixed. Taking a Happy Pill only lulls you into sleep while you’re headed for a brick wall.
A dozen years ago, I let a jailhouse doctor talk me into taking Paxil, thinking I’d feel better about my wife and mother rotting from cancer while I faced twenty-five years squeezed in a box with incurable psychopaths. Two tablets daily, little pink tombstones I’d pop in my mouth, swallow, and then open wide to show Doc I’d been a good boy and taken my meds. Within days I was waking up to the sound of screams. It’d take a half-minute before I could tell the screams were coming from inside my head. It was the only time in my life I’ve had auditory hallucinations, and I’ve dropped more acid than a dozen psychedelic rodeo clowns.
I felt like a puppet, as if the drug had reached its hand all the way up my spine and wrapped its fist around my brain. And forget about being able to jerk off. I’d flap around like a sweaty fish for an hour before finally giving up. Gimme back my depression. Gimme back my orgasms.
A few days after discontinuing the Paxil, I could feel clarity dripping back into my brain as if my sinuses were unclogging. I’m insane in the sense that, sure, I could murder someone for accidentally stepping on my foot, but I’m not so fucking nuts that I’d ever believe what psychiatrists tell us. If you even consider taking psychiatric medication, you’re totally fucking crazy.
There are two types of madness in the world: mine and theirs. I’ll stick with mine.