Small white pill.
Twenty milligrams,
taken daily.

It’s supposed to be the cure
or that’s what the TV commercials say.
It’s supposed to restore interest
in daily activities, love for life.

This is a complete misrepresentation.

The pill helps, but I don’t
swallow that small white pill
with the name I can never quite pronounce
to feel happy.

I take it to feel.

I take it so my muscles can unclench
so that my ribcage
releases tension long enough
for my lungs to breathe

so my heart will slow down and
stop racing the moments of my life

I take it so apathy can be washed away
by tears and anguish and even despair.
I take that twenty milligrams
each and every night even though
I hate taking that twenty milligrams.

but it doesn’t fix me,
doesn’t make me happy.

It means that I feel life.
And for that, I’ll keep swallowing
the white bitter pill
because antidepressants
are better than not

I’ll push through the fog the meds
throw over my brain
and difficulty remembering things.
I’ll deal with the weight gain,
the increased sensitivity to heat,
and the sometimes-insomnia
because at least I can deal.

And I proclaim loudly and
fake-proudly that I’m on the meds
so someone else can feel
a little less shamed at needing them.

Because I do feel shame,
that I can’t just snap out of it.
that I can’t just go for a run
that taking vitamin D didn’t
fix me.

But mental illness isn’t shameful.
So I’ll let myself take those
twenty milligrams

because I deserve them.

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