I obtained on Tuesday, through tearful anxious phone calls, a refill on my antidepressant, Cymbalta. The substitution of Prozac for two days wasn't cutting it; I switched back to my shrink's recommended dose of Cymbalta, twice normal, of 120 mg. Tuesday afternoon.
Soon after I began to experience akisthesia, a peculiar symptom where you can't become comfortable, where your body must constantly move, twitch--where there is a supreme discomfort in stillness and you must keep moving--your feet, your legs, something. You can't watch TV or read; you can't concentrate; mostly you indulge in various irresistible writhings. Naturally this physical phenomenon drives Kathleen crazy in bed so I had to sleep downstairs. But I knew it was a sign that the antidepressant was working again, or about to work, unlike the thousands of psychiatrists who hear this symptom from their patients and think it means they can't tolerate the medication. I find this "ants in the pants" feeling in my body almost always precedes an improvement in my mood, and have observed the same in countless patients.
Although not confident Wednesday, I didn't cry. And Thursday I worked out for hours at the gym. Today I was afflicted with a little melancholy but managed to get a lot of work done despite it.
So, gentle readers, I didn't mean to leave you hanging on my decompensation--I'm doing better. The downside is that the damn Cymbalta capsules, of which I need two a day, cost about $5 apiece here until the discounted meds arrive from Canada. That's an expensive habit, especially when you combine it with Lamictal, of which I must take two a day, when each tablet costs $4, even at Costco. Until the patents expire on new medicines you need, you're truly fucked without insurance, and as I have previously blogged, I can't obtain insurance, medical or life, because I am a bipolar: bad risk).
The pharmaceutical companies have a limited window to recover their R & D money, and I don't see them as villains, more occasional saviors who must recoup R & D costs on all the drugs that didn't work from ones that do. Accusing them of malfeasance is like attacking "big oil"--wrong target. I'm no Republican; it's just so easy to blame the nearest elephant. The reality is much more complicated.
I've added another paying poetry publication to Byline and and Contrary now; I just got a check from Valerie Polichar's Grasslimb for "The Gloaming." Since I quit writing poetry and started marketing it, I'm not doing half bad.
Even more amazing, an original copy of my first and only book of poems, Elementary, which sold as a paperback at $14.95 in 1997, is listed by one seller at Amazon.com for $398. My eldest daughter told me this but I couldn't believe it. Go figure. Did the rumor of my death exaggerate the price? There are likely book speculators out there, some who are betting that I might be important someday. Or maybe it's just a fluke. Curioser and curioser. (I've never received a single royalty payment from the book.)
This fact gives me hope that the same concern, Mellen Press, might consider publishing a second book of mine. I should take the time to send them an actual query now that I'm a marketer and no longer a poet.
In the spirit of marketing, I'll close with a poem I wrote before I was an ex-poet:
You who huddle under billboards
happy in your anonymity,
grateful to avoid the rain,
how I pity you!
You should be up there
above the freeway
in a red bikini
with a high-end tequila
in your happy fist.
Don’t you get it?
Become a commodity
hawking you 24 hours a day:
be your own infomercial!
Celebrity is the only currency
and the Dow is measured in air time!
The first human infomercial was Muhammad Ali,
who became the most recognizable man on the globe.
To become your own spin doctor,
1) Wrap yourself up so tightly nothing hurts.
2) Like Rome, let every conversation lead to you.
3) Although you were never loved the way you wanted to be loved,
there's always a chance if you please your audience!
4) Always sell the product.
5) You are the product.
If Marx and Nietszche could see us now
united in the strife which divided us
at once worker and robber baron
it's hard to find good help anymore
no longer alienated from the product
nobody told me there'd be days like these
I'd love to see the look on their bearded faces.
Wish me luck as I perform solo at the Lavender Festival tomorrow. I hope the wine tasting goes quickly to loosen up my audience; I'm no James Taylor or Cat Stevens, that's for sure. But I do alright.
Thine at 1 kilorat,