Category: letters to dr. thomas

Published in the December 2010 online issue of Underground Voices.



Thirty amitriptyline will not kill you.  Well, maybe they’ll kill you, but they didn’t kill me.

Of course I no longer recall what the dosage was, just how many milligrams of the depression medication I actually took.  I no longer recall just how many days and nights I spent unconscious in a filthy bed in a tiny trailer somewhere outside of Birmingham, Alabama.  I think maybe it was two or three nights.

They were much easier to swallow than the aspirin.  I hadn’t been able to get the whole bottle of aspirin down, in fact, ten years earlier; a bottle’s worth of aspirin tablets is really fucking hard to swallow without gagging.  The amitriptyline pills, in their shiny, smooth little gel jackets, went down pretty easily with a couple of beers.  They didn’t have the hard edges of the aspirin, or the nasty lingering chalky bitter taste they left after getting stuck twenty times on the way down.  They slid right down like candy, like kisses.

I hadn’t done my research.  I hadn’t even planned it ahead of time, really.  I don’t think I really knew what I was taking, except the bottle had a warning label on it that indicated taking a lot of them was a bad idea. That was good enough for me.  A long-time pill aficionado, I knew they weren’t worth much on the street, weren’t a narcotic; I asked the guy whose bathroom they were in what they were and he said they were his ex-girlfriend’s antidepressants, “and the crazy bitch hasn’t been taking them.”

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