By Briton Underwood of Punk Rock Papa
I line the pills up on the counter. One, two, three. I send them into my mouth, washing them back with a swig of water and disdain.
It’s gotten exhausting.
I take two for depression. One for acid reflux. One for allergies. Two on days my back feels out of sorts.
It’s the first two — the antidepressants — they are especially tiring. For some reason, they always seem to be the hardest to take. So, I start to skip them. Days on end, I skip the line up. And why not?
I feel fine.
I’ve taken them so long, it is hard to remember life without them. But nostalgia tells me the days were better before. It tells me I never needed those little white pills.
I used to write. Thousands of words on end. Something inside me whispers, the pills took away your voice.
The days stretch into a week. The voice inside tells me I am great. I am cured. The depression was just a stuck in the rut sadness. It was all in my head.
I try writing again. Searching for the voice I felt I lost. It’s been a week and a half and I am sure I was tricked by big pharma. I feel fine.
Then, I wake up and I lay there wondering how much better off the world would be without me. I lay there and I fantasize my children growing up without me. Weigh the pros and cons of disappearing. Something inside whispers, They are better without you.
I move past the cabinet I keep my pills in. Eyeing it warily, I attempt to shake the ebbing sadness I feel in my chest. I can’t shake the lump in my throat. Or the worry I may break down at any moment and begin sobbing for no apparent reason. The tears are there. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I just need a good cry.
I cry. The lump stays. I cry again, harder this time. Wracking sobs, trying to discharge the sadness like it’s phlegm stuck in my throat.
Nothing. It doesn’t go away. Instead, because I lay there crying I have begun to feel like more of a burden than I did before.
Why do I exist?
The sadness has me in full blown existential crisis mode. I now am sure the world is better off without me. The foundations of my life are messing up the lives of others.
I walk to the kitchen. My heart races for some reason. The sadness hurls insults inside my head. My brain, or whatever it is, tells me I need to off myself. To go kill myself and make everyone happy.
On the way to the pills, I bump into my son. He falls down and shouts, “Daddy, you pushed me!”
As I use my calm parent voice, I begin retreating back to the bed.
“Daddy, you pushed me!” Reverberates through my head. For some reason, I am now awash with guilt. It reaffirms the voice inside telling me I need to disappear.
Scenarios begin to loop through my brain. Sharp objects and asphyxiation. Ways to ease the burden of me I put on my family.
“Daddy, I miss you.”
I barely hear it. Wrapped in ways to not exist anymore.
“Daddy, I love you.”
A hand touches my hand. As I fake a smile, my son reaches his hand out.
“High five” He says. I high five him. His hand turns to a fist and he tells me, “Punch!”
After our fist bump, he pulls me by my hand. I am so exhausted. Not due to lack of sleep, I just lack any sort of energy anymore.
“Daddy, I want ice cream.”
I open the cabinet to get a bowl. The pills sit there on the top shelf, high above everything else. I pull them down and take them. One, two. I wash them down with water and disdain.
I try to count the days I have lost. They all blur into a blue and grey sadness. I haven’t showered. I haven’t genuinely smiled. I haven’t written.
I begin my pills again. I check the calendar for the next visit to the doctor.
I eat ice cream with my son.
The pills take a few days to take effect again. To subdue whatever chemical imbalance screams “KILL YOURSELF” to me.
Manageable now, the sadness inside doesn’t feel as if it’s constantly ebbing. It’s still there just easier to ignore. The lump is finally gone.
This is why you take your pills, a voice reminds me.
I write the things my brain has told me the past few weeks. The many different ways I burden the world. I log the memories on paper as a reminder of why.
I line up the pills.
My son calls for me. I am no longer hiding in a dark room crying.
“Daddy, I missed you.”
“I missed me too, son.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Briton Underwood, better known as Punk Rock Papa, is a parent above all else. When he gets sick of being at their beck and call, he likes to escape to his Facebook page or website, Punk Rock Papa. He writes about any and everything he wants, but mainly about his twin boys or his newest addition: another boy.