The Weather

A Letter to Zoloft and Klonopin

Dear Zoloft and Klonopin,

We’ve spent a lot of time together, us three. Zoloft, I see you 50 mg a day. Klonopin, you and I are less consistent: I see you “as needed,” anywhere from 0.5 to 1 mg, zero to ten times a week.

Though our lives and chemistries and schedules have all intertwined, I still feel like you don’t know me. The real me. (I know Dr. Denny takes issue with the expression the real me, but whatever.) I’m talking about the person I was before we met. The person I was before that fateful day when I cashed in your prescriptions like winning lottery tickets.

I’m talking about the person who was convinced nuclear war was imminent, and that a nuclear bomb was hidden in an abandoned grocery store cart full of trash on a random residential street in Los Angeles. The person who feared her showerhead would release from the wall and fly into her head at a speed that would cause instant death by bludgeoning. The person who had such severe noise sensitivity that she hatched a plan to disable a pool pump that emitted a 0.2-decibel ringing in her apartment. The person who moved to a new apartment only to have her silent refuge interrupted by the discovery (via WebMD search) of a disease called Tinnitus wherein sufferers experience a continuous, high-pitched ringing sound in their ears, a sound unresolvable by either lease breakage or modern medicine. The person who then proceeded to obsessively listen for high-pitched ringing sounds in her ears until becoming convinced that such sound existed after conducting the “ultimate test”: the insertion of earplugs into her ears to trap the organic sounds of her ear canals while wearing noise-cancelling headphones and sitting in a closet with a blanket over her head.

I’m talking about the person who had approximately five rounds of anxiety-induced diarrhea before a date, and who would take small bites of toast before showing up, so as not to faint from choleric hunger or exude sulfuric starvation breath. The person who had three stiff drinks on said date before being able to utter a word of conversation and who then was unable to sleep for at least 48 hours due to an obsessive replaying of conversations in her head in an attempt to analyze her date’s precise level of romantic interest.

Yes, I’m calmer now.

With you, Zoloft and Klonopin, I’m a different person. Sleeping through the night, taking a pottery class “for fun,” driving around with the Pandora channel perpetually set to Bob Marley or Sublime, and being certain that the strangers next to me aren’t going to bash my head with a sledgehammer.

Over the last six months, we’ve grown pretty close, the three of us. Especially me and you, Zoloft. Our chemistries have reached what is known as the “restructuring phase,” in which I adjust to any physical side effects and “cognitively rewire.” Having hit this milestone and made it beyond a “casual” trial period, I felt it was time to open up. To tell you about my past and the life I had before we met.

Obviously, you’ve changed me in a positive way. For this, I feel immense gratitude. For this, I wish we could be together forever.

But sadly, I know one day we’ll have to part. At least that’s what Dr. Denny says. He says once I cognitively rewire, I should let go of you. That within a year I should see you only 25 mg a day, Zoloft, and that within a year after that we should head our own separate ways. (Klonopin, our future, like our present, is more uncertain.)

Apparently Dr. Denny knows best. Apparently, Zoloft, he felt, from the start, that this relationship would be temporary. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s you or if it’s me. But that’s just the way it goes. Apparently Dr. Denny thinks this is all “standard.” Apparently he thinks these relationships are a dime a dozen. Apparently he totally and completely understands what we have together.

But how could he understand?

Anyway. I guess it’s complicated. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves and ruin a good thing by talking about the future. I’m just happy with the present and enjoying our relationship a day at a time.

Also, serious thanks for sparing me some of your weirder side effects. (Like vomit that “resembles coffee grounds,” milk excretions from non-breast feeding breasts, “cold clammy skin,” etc.)

Those could have been deal-breakers.

Love,

Shirin

Shirin Najafi is a writer living in Los Angeles. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and worked in investment banking before deciding to quit and become a writer. She performs the voice of a cat in some videos (www.magicalstew.com) and is currently working on her first novel.