Jay picked up one of a collection of silver strips of medication, popped a pill out of its container and swallowed it.
Forgot the water. Always did this. Never mind, on Omaprazole anyway.
Medication was a routine. An occupation. One of his only regular occupations. His penance. His guilt for being a ‘scrounger’. This is where he paid his dues.
The comforting snap of the the popping pills from their metallic plastic casting. One silver strip after another.
14 pills a day. 4 at 9 in the morning, 4 at 6pm, 6 at bedtime. A working day of pills.
You start with depression. They give you a pill. Then you get meta depressions.
Where’s the BNF?
Have to engage with these things for some sense of authenticity, some sense of autonomy. But then wedded to pills as a result. Tied to this whole language of yourself.
Moods, crankiness, shakes, fear. Withdrawal. Time for meds. What is real?
There’s so much to be depressed about, so much to fear, so much unknown, unknowable. Unthinkable.
Depression is so rational. Completely rational.
Pills are like a cover. Help you hide, drift, unnoticed.
But there was honesty in depression, in panic, in fear. It defied control and shrieked from some inner place that confounded language, description.
Depression sees a colourless world, cold and emotionless.
Psychosis lifted the lid of all that surface and found the abyss beneath.
Pills threw a cover over the abyss, and gently pulled you back from the edge. All you had to do was put your faith in them and they wouldn’t drop you.
Still lose your footing now and then, and each time you have to adjust to a new landscape, with new, hidden horizons.
There could be no absent minded popping of pill after pill. Your grip could falter, a new unknowing. The real. The abyss. All could become one, out of focus, indistinct.
Pick up the BNF again. Trying to replace these two for this new one. Might resolve daytime drowsiness but may increase paranoia.
Which was worse? Who knew. More awake, more alive, more afraid.
Only pills fit in pillboxes. Nothing else. The banal horror of it. Advent calenders from PharmaCo, your daily pill regime behind every door. You wouldn’t need the cracker joke. The joke would be plain to see. You. The world you live in.
Systems that ensnare you are also your freedom. It’s all so self-defeating.
So what did a few pills matter. Fuck you meta depression. Authenticity. What did that mean anyway.
Pillboxes with the days of the week marked by single letters of translucent blue over an off-white case. Like old milk, fibrous, gloopy, indistinct.
Give me the tactile snap of the silver strips. Sure, certain, bordered. My hours, days, my working week. My calender, my to do list.
My silver strips.
Keep your pillboxes. They don’t fit.
Maybe pills were freedom. Freedom from thought, and words that stumble blindly along a path from feeling to sense.
But what if feeling was all imagination and sense didn’t matter.
What if pills just shut off all the white noise. Left you free to simply listen, not talk, think, interpret, judge, debate, conflate.
Rhythm mattered. Nothing else. Most are handed to you, ready made, pre-packaged. The rest you have to make yourself.
Keep your pillboxes. Divided, like the world. Levels, restrictions, exclusions.
I’ll take my silver strips.