In the Psych Annex
My new Rx
Slogging through my bloodstream
Soupy, sluggish, songless
Stone didn’t skip on water
It simply sank
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Trifecta, 33 words, including the word “stone.” The prompt showed a Periodic Table of the Elements and mentioned that the element lithium is from the Greek word, lithos, or stone. It was not lost on me that the drug Lithium made me LIKE a stone!
True story: While “in the Bin” years ago, I was finally diagnosed manic depressive. The doctor was extremely old-school; she prescribed Lithium, claiming it was the only drug that really worked on bipolar disorder. For me, Lithium became cement for the soul. Fortunately, after discharge, I found a wonderful psychiatrist, Dr. Rao. He weaned me off what I called “Mister Sluggo” and began a careful balance of anti-depressants and anxiety meds. “Whoever says psychiatry is not drug experimentation is full of it,”Dr. Rao said. “The idea is tweaking until you get it right, and every person’s chemistry is different.” I have a new doctor here in Madison. He’s great, but Dr. Rao had wry humor and a calm, reassuring way… plus he didn’t accept samples from drug peddlers, and I admire that.
I know some folks don’t believe in psych meds, and I understand why. Whatever floats your boat; however, in cases like mine, where the chemistry is complicated and the dips and peaks extreme, my little boat would SINK without meds. I’ve lived life both ways, and I know what keeps my pencil sharp. Peace, Amy
March 9, 2013 at 1:07 am
I love that you tell it exactly how it is – for you – Amy. I’m so tired of hearing about the over-medicating of America (and Canada, for that matter) without any regard for those of us that must stay on meds to stay sane and alive. I do know that there’s a tendency for some doctors to take the easy way out and prescribe too readily but I also know there’s way too many people who think they should try and get off their meds as soon as possible, that somehow they won’t be well until they’re no longer taking anything. Unfortunately I know too many cases of these people who end up either crazier than they started or dead – suiciding out when it gets to be too much. And lithium – a blessed saviour of a drug for many – is also anathema for me…my shrink figured early on that I’m probably allergic to it, my reaction was so toxic,and he told me that that’s not such an unusual reaction….oh the things we learn as we go along…great poetry as always Amy. Glad to see you cooking again…
Sharp Little Pencil
March 16, 2013 at 12:17 am
Sharon, I’m breaking form by commenting on this. It’s true – my nephew was Ritalined into submission, and it stunted his growth for years. I myself was overprescribed the wrong drugs for the wrong condition(s), and I ended up in the Psych Ward because of it. Ironically, there was the start of Lithium. Only the least progressive psychiatrists use Lithium as the “gold standard” because they don’t do their homework, don’t compare notes with other doctors, and don’t attend seminars. They are too busy saving up for that yacht… ugh. Thanks for an amazing comment, and I’ll be right over to your blog! Amy
March 9, 2013 at 1:24 am
Sometimes bodies need a bit of help. No shame in that. Do what you need to stay sharp and stick it to that illness!
March 9, 2013 at 2:09 am
That final rhyme was simply perfect. Well done!
March 9, 2013 at 2:21 am
You got that right – keep the pencil sharp. Love reading your poetry
March 9, 2013 at 3:06 am
Nice one Amy ~ I know people for whom Lithium has worked, but have heard of more who have experienced bad side effects.
March 9, 2013 at 3:09 am
Skipped stone sinking – what an excellent analogy, Amy! Good stuff.
March 9, 2013 at 3:19 am
Fortunately for me, I haven’t had any meds. Which. I suppose, begs the question of being undermedicated. Glad you found your balance.
March 9, 2013 at 4:40 am
Succinct poem summing up a complex situation. The words ” and every person’s chemistry is different.” rang a big bell with me. So few doctors recognise that, and dish out standard doses without thinking. Case in point: My anticoagulent works sometimes too well at a quarter of a tablet and I get nose or gum bleeds. I met a chap who took two and a half tablets- and even that much was less effective than my quarter.
Sharp Little Pencil
March 16, 2013 at 12:58 am
Viv, thanks for picking up on that. It is indeed a delicate balance with any meds. Psychiatric meds are tricky because so many folks in care have a tendency to either go off their regimen without consulting their doctor or even sell their pills to make rent, which is truly tragic. A good doctor will tweak carefully, but if you get a psychiatrist like my first one, watch out. He mishandled and was too aggressive with my medications. I was seeing double and walking like a drunk!
Again, I know I don’t reply anymore, but this did bear writing. Thanks to all, and to you, Viv. Peace, Amy
March 9, 2013 at 5:38 am
Love you! Your poems are touching, heart breaking @ times, thought provoking … They are real. I love you for all the ways you touch me. Forever my friend!
Renee TennisMcKinley (@2old2tap)
March 9, 2013 at 6:30 am
I’m glad you found someone to hear you. I love the way you wove your words to express the feeling of loss you felt. Nicely done!
March 9, 2013 at 6:44 am
yikes…i am glad you got one that paid attention though…its hit or miss with psyches….had one that way over medicated hids…i def think meds help but they have to be properly regulated and not haphazardly given….
Lisa A.Williams poetry
March 9, 2013 at 6:59 am
Wonderfully penned, so glad you found someone to listen and help.
March 9, 2013 at 7:04 am
Amy, I read twice..each line capturing with sensitivity of your own story. I don’t know how you did it in 33 words, amazing.
March 9, 2013 at 7:38 am
This is fantastic! Love the line “Muses’ broom, Artist’s doom” – very clever and so well written. Great use of stone!
March 9, 2013 at 8:46 am
I loved this line:
“Stone didn’t skip on water
It simply sank.”
My sister has battled severe depression for years. At this point, our family would welcome any treatment that might help her. Thanks so much for sharing this.
March 9, 2013 at 9:54 am
Oh, Amy. That “songless” hit me straight in the gut like a right hook. Oooof.
I have heard you sing, read and heard your beautiful words. What a disservice to the world it would be to steal them.
This is a powerful, powerful piece.
Sherry Blue Sky
March 9, 2013 at 10:39 am
“Muse’s broom, artist’s doom”………..I hear you. My son complains bitterly about his meds, yet they keep him on the planet. I’m glad you found a doctor and a regime that helps, Amy. I love how you tell it like it is.
Josie Two Shoes
March 9, 2013 at 10:53 am
I am familiar with the likes of “Mr Sluggo” from years long ago, and I found that I detested feeling nothing at all, I would much rather be my usual “all over the place” self, but I totally agree with you that some chemical regulation is a godsend for people who bounce too high and too low, I have witnessed the difference it can make – especially in how in control one feels about their life. Bless you for continuing to pull yourself out of the rabbit hole when you fall in, we all land there now and then, but we know that it’s not forever, life cycles, and you return to bask in the sunlight on another day. Your presence here is powerful and treasured!
March 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm
You are a very clever little pencil, Amy! Wonderful!
March 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm
A brave thing to share – thank you.
March 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm
I’m glad you found a good tweaker, Amy. Heavy piece… like the Lithium.
March 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm
I love how you worded this ans I’m glad they found something that worked better/
March 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm
we were of the same “ill” mindset in our 33 words, amy. I related to it so much. The muses’ broom line was pure excellence.
March 9, 2013 at 4:04 pm
I love the honesty in this. Very good.
March 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm
I can’t tell you what part I liked best – because I liked it ALL. The fact that it is based on your experience gives more all the more reason to love it. Like Deana said: love the honesty.
March 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm
Amy, we are all individuals with individual chemistry, it is a complete balancing act and a lot of trial and error. My dad’s been on that ride for awhile and I am so thankful that there are meds out there to even things out. Would hate to live life otherwise–definitely would hate for my dad to live life otherwise. So happy that you found a way to keep your pencil sharp–that description of lithium made me feel like I was slooowwwing down too. Love- Sara v
March 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm
You’ve been open and most sincere in your posts! I find a lot of education in what I see of yours! Sometimes we get led off by those doctors with good intentions. It’s just that we’re individuals and no two persons respond in like situations. In certain cases, realization by the doctors may come a bit too late! It’s imperative we are the final decision maker! Nicely Amy!
March 10, 2013 at 7:15 am
Lovely post, Amy. I’m so glad you found someone and something that works for you. I was given Depakote. I took exactly one of those. I love the last two lines of this.
March 10, 2013 at 11:31 am
It took a couple of years before our son’s doctor found the right ‘cocktail’ of meds that work best for him. There was a lot of guess/check/revise.
The medication has made all the difference in the world to the way he can function on a daily basis.
March 10, 2013 at 11:32 am
The bit about the stone sinking instead of skipping is great. (:
March 11, 2013 at 10:08 am
You’ve done it again. One of my kids was on Lithium for a while. The experience mirrors yours, accompanied by hair loss, weight gain and bladder control issues– all known side effects of Lithium treatment for bipolar disorder. Thank goodness you both found better docs.
March 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm
Hi Amy, they’ve been working pretty well for me too. I would love to be med free, but hey, they work.
March 13, 2013 at 8:56 am
I’m glad you found some meds which work for you. I’ve been on the med rollercoaster before, too, and it sucks. I have chronic, major depression and anxiety. I’m on Cymbalta right now, which seems to be working fine at a middle-of-the-road dose.
Here’s a couple of things you might enjoy:
March 22, 2013 at 3:37 am
When I read this, I immediately thought of the line from Dogs by Pink Floyd…dragged down by the stone. I’m so glad that you were able to find that balance for yourself.
March 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm
Thank you for sharing this–my mom had been given lithium at her manic depressive diagnosis. it burnt out her thyroid and she is now looking for a possible kidney transplant because of the lack of follow-up damage that was done all those years ago. She accepts that she is bipolar and will be for the rest of her life, but it has been quite the journey…