Bitter pill

I’ve started taking antidepressants, and it’s literally a bitter pill. It stings on my tongue, and if I swallow it without water, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

It’s such a little pill, and it should be no problem to dry-swallow. But it always catches on my tongue, and up to an hour later, I can still taste it.

Even after I’ve had some chocolate milk, I can still taste it. I don’t know if it’s my taste buds, or my brain hanging on to the taste.

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For years, in my work and in my personal advocacies, I always talked about health. Reproductive health, sexual health, mental health.

I remember trying to explain depression to people, how depressive episodes didn’t need specific triggers. I remember trying to explain how even simple daily tasks could be exhausting, draining. I remember explaining that sometimes, people who are depressed can barely muster the strength to get out of bed.

I remember trying to explain to my husband what a panic attack felt like.

For years I was talking about other people.

Now I’m talking about me.

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I had to ask Oneal to check on me when I’m having a panic attack.

Lately the panic attacks have shifted. Instead of crying episodes, I hyperventilate, my fists clenching, nails digging into my palms, my whole body tensing. If I keep going, I start to rub my feet together frantically, and I can’t stop.

I asked Oneal to help me out of those episodes. Rub my arms, gently unclench my fists, and check where else I’m tense.

It calms me down when he strokes my hair.

+ + + + +

The crying still happens. It’s not an uncontrollable, gasping episode that leaves me with a throbbing headache and swollen eyes. Now it’s a small burst of tears. And then it’s done.

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I can’t eat.

I try. I swear I try. Mornings are especially difficult. I get a little bit of food, and halfway through I can’t swallow anything. If I try, it feels like the food will come back up.

Yesterday I barely ate anything. In the evening, I finally felt some heartburn, and I forced myself to get out of bed. I made some instant noodles, and I alternated between taking small bites and wolfing it down. Small bites, so that I wouldn’t throw up. Wolfing it down, just to get the ordeal of eating over with. It felt like my throat was locking up. When I finally finished eating, it felt like the food was having a hard time going down my throat, so I had a lot of water.

Then it felt like the food and the water were just sitting in my stomach, like my body didn’t know what to do with it.

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I don’t know if it’s my condition, or this surreal existence, but the anxiety is almost constant now.

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