Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy

The antidepressants, samples of 30 and 60 mgs, provided by my doctor, are on the countertop.

“I’ve never seen you cry,” he said.  I told him it’s because I’ve been such an amazing actor these last four years.  And that I’d like to thank the Academy.  He raised the blinds in the examining room and told me to look at the beautiful day.

“You think I don’t see this?’  I asked.  I love hearing the rain at night.  I’m in awe of the ocean, kissed by sunlight or indistinguishable from the sky.  And sitting with Laura and Erma on their patio, watching hummingbirds feed.

“You have such a zest for life,” he said.  I told him he’s saying this because most of the patients in his reception area are in their late nineties.  “See, you’re funny.”  Yeah, I can be, and I’m not in the fetal position.

A friend was over the evening after my appointment, encouraging me to give the medication a try.  He opened one package, the starter dosage, and removed the cap from its bottle. After he left, I returned the lid to its position and placed the container in its tidy box.

Each morning since, I ‘ve stared at Big Pharma’s cure before making my coffee.  I shake my head no, drink a mug of the drug, caffeine, slip on my running shoes, and off I go, in and out of every enclave here, climbing the steps near the Radisson in the center of Cross Purposes, doing lap after lap in the parking lot next to the tennis courts, heading out to the main road, turning, and, then, charging the hill that leads to my condo.

Millions of Americans take antidepressants.  In fact, more than 1 in 10 people over the age of 12 are using them.  Some studies indicate that for those suffering mild or moderate symptoms, the chemicals are no better than placebos.  But placebos placate.  If you think something’s working, you’re feeling better.

For some reason I don’t quite understand, I can’t make myself swallow one of the capsules.  I’m questioning if it’s my loathing of Big Pharma, the Greed Giants, or if I just believe I should be strong, accept loss, and move through the birth canal of pain that leads to some affirmation of life.  After all, what I’m feeling resides within all of us who love and outlive the person or persons to whom we are/were devoted.

So many people have responded to my grief pieces.  Jeez, I write that—grief pieces—and see pieces of grief and she’s in pieces.  I stare at the words, my fingers, typing, and, then, think: pieces of my mind.

And, then, peace of mind.  I want peace of mind.

Just not through selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexa-this or Luvo-that, accompanied with side effects—so many that when I read about them, I become slightly agitated.   Running the spectrum of reported maladies I’d prefer to avoid are potential problems, including dry mouth, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, drowsiness, headaches, tremors, heartburn, blurred vision, and get this:  anesthetized vagina.  Okay, the irony of that one makes me laugh, especially since one of the drugs with this particular warning is Lustral.  There’s a mondegreen for you, lust trial or lust try.  But there’s really nothing funny about any of the side effects, particularly this:  anxiety and depression that could lead to suicide.  How crazy is that—to take a chemical to avoid anxiety and depression but whose use could result in suicide?  Even though I’ve said, “It wouldn’t kill me to die.”

I know that many plagued with severe depression improve after taking these drugs, but grief is as normal as loss.  I need to walk it, brail my way, touching it, married to the wallowing, the crawling, without placing that little bullet, with all its possible demons, including suicide, inside this mouth that, sometimes, just wants to scream.  But doesn’t.  I’m neither a pill taker nor a pillow puncher.  Instead, I smile and say, “I’m fine.”  Or, “Everything’s all right.”

Again, I’d like to thank the Academy.  Because being an actor is not unlike the placebo effect.  And repeating something positive, “Everything’s all right,” is helpful, mostly, during the loneliest times, morning, night, and in-between.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  She can be reached at:




More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”