Ah, then there's Prolixin, the start of what was to be a long battle with The Powers that Be in the area. Y'see, my mom was always the hands-off type, meaning, that once the school social worker came over (when I was five) to see about the bruises on my legs (Dad had spanked me REAL HARD for waking him up) her attitude was simply "Having trouble, dear? Why don't you just call the nice lady? She'll listen to you, I don't have the time..." This freed her up for, well, whatever it was she wanted to be doing...which tended to be staring into space, housework, her marriage, and her other relatives. (I'm an only child.)

So, when I didn't want to go to college, couldn't find a job, and was walking around in a fog, I went to the local public health clinic, and was told I needed tranquilizers. I was given a prescription, and walked down the stairs to be given some cunning little pills. I smiled -- better living through chemistry! -- and went home rattling the pills like maracas singing "Mother's Little Helper".

Took one. Took another the next day. Took them religiously.

"How do you feel?"
"Nothing happened."
"We'll up the dose...10mg."

"How do you feel?"
"Nothing happened."
"15 mg. OK with you?"

And then...

I couldn't get out of bed....

"Oh, M. Proust, stop daydreaming...get up, lazybones, we've got chores..."
"All right..." Feet made of lead, I stumble out of bed. It's fifteen feet to the bathroom, ordinarily. That morning, I had to establish a base camp at about six and a half, have a rest at eleven, and the last four feet were a real push. "I'm not feeling well..."

The next night, lactation started. Drops came out of my breasts, and when I pressed, I got a squirt. I filled a juice glass with my colostrum, and drank it.

"These pills don't work! I'm sick all the time, and I've got milk coming out of me!"

"Oh, don't be worried. We'll give you something to manage your side effects. But really...at 15 mg....that's very rare that you're feeling...so unwell. We hoped to get you to 30, 40 mg., before personalizing your treatment."

"I'm not taking them."

"Perhaps some Stelazine?"


Now, of course, it's tough to get any kind of mental health support at all. MSW's I see, not Ph.D's, whose only job is to convince me that I'm sick, sick, and wouldn't some medication help you? There's no one to listen when I've got troubles...MSW's can't give advice, and Ph.D's cost too much.

"No drugs." I say, despite it all. "I'd rather choose my own."

And that's the way it will stay.