Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? Or to rephrase the question does TV imitate my life? I jest of course, but sometimes a show really hits home with me. Last night’s episode of Bull was no exception.
The show, if you have not watched, is about a “Trial expert” who specializes in selecting and reading jurors for lawyers. The cases are usually interesting. Last night’s episode dealt with a case against a Big Pharma company and the practice of drug trials. At stake was the case of an otherwise happy young man who committed suicide shortly after taking an experimental antidepressant as a paid trial. My attention was held hostage to this subject. I have a small history with this.
After the segment in which a witness, another recipient of the trial, testified of experiencing suicidal thoughts (with no previous history) I was in the full throes of a flashback. On the first commercial break, I said to my mother “that happened to me.”
My mom turned, looked at me quizzically and said: “what happened to you?”
“Suicidal thoughts while on an antidepressant”. I embarked on explaining this statement before the commercial break was over.
When I was in my late 30’s my blood pressure became an issue. My kidneys were failing and my marriage was in a shambles and I was a complete stress case. My doctor warned me that if I didn’t find a way to calm down and be selective about what I get aggravated about I was going to die young. She suggested a little helper in the form of a mood stabilizer. I was very resistant, I am very anti-Big Pharma and am of the mindset that a medicated life is not real life. I am sure I will piss someone off here and I am not trying to. Some people need it. I didn’t think I did. But I wanted peace at home and to live past 40 so I agreed to try Lexapro.
I tried it. At first, I didn’t notice any difference in my demeanor. Then gradually I noticed that people started telling me to smile, to cheer up. They told me I looked mad. Then I noticed that while driving I became fascinated by highway guard rails. In particular, I was fixating on what it would be like to hit one at 70 plus miles per hour. Suicidal thoughts are not me. At all. Something was wrong.
I have been through some shit in my life, more than anyone’s fair share, and I have never ever thought of taking my own life. I push on, I deny reality, I hope for better days but I could never do that to my family. But every single day guard rails were calling my name. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to recognize it as a problem. One afternoon as I was driving past a particularly inviting stretch of guard rails I grabbed the bottle of evil little pills from my briefcase, rolled down my passenger window and fired the bottle out the window.
My mother was very taken back by my story. I probably shouldn’t have burdened her with it but I have this new, annoying habit of sharing my thoughts with people.
The bright part of the story is that there are some good shows on television after all. I just wish they would stop hitting so close to home. It affects my mood. I wonder if there is a pill for that?