2010

There’s No Shame In Taking Meds

Ever hear the tale
Of a man at the top of a mountain in need of a rescue?
A car rattles past, he refuses-
“Gd will provide.”
A lifeboat comes by, water up to his knees, he refuses –
“Gd will provide.”
A helicopter comes by, water up to his neck, he refuses –
“Gd will provide.”
Then he drowns,
And as his soul rises to heaven,
He asks the predictable question heavily weighing on his lips: “Where were You?”
“I sent you help three times! ” Gd protests. “I tried to provide.”

So I reach my hand out to you
And I show you a tiny blue pill
And I tell you that in this pill
Gd has given it power,
Somehow,
To travel to your brain and alter it
Just enough,
So that the darkness isn’t so dark
And the heaviness isn’t so heavy.

No no, you moan,
Not me,
Not yet,
As if a pill that would give you more clarity and strength,
Is the dunce cape of shame on your head.

You tell me month after month
that life is a weight that threatens to crack you open
Paralyzed, you lie on the sidewalk
And recite His Tehillim.
And refuse my handouts.
As if it would take away “you” and your personality,
As if this melancholy, frightened, overwhelmed self is you at all.
Wasn’t it you,  years ago,
That lectured me about how it’s not medicine that makes us better
But Gd who gives the medicine power, every time we take it?
Can you swallow your own words?

Your resistance is
 vanity
Mistaken for courage
Because you’re afraid giving in to medication would imply there’s something wrong with you.
It’s not you, honey.
It’s this world of His that’s too heavy.

Yes-
Besides sleep,
and exercise,
nutrition,
and therapists.
Besides friends,
family,
Torah,
and guidance –
Maybe we can bow our heads to the truth
That Gd also gave us a pill-shaped lifeboat for when this exiled life gets too heavy
As we approach the End.

The End-
The heels of the generations;
When our psyches are more fragile,
Our trust more shaken,
Our communities more broken,
Our isolation more resounding.

Instead of hiding,
Let’s kvell
That in order to finish the magnum opus of humanity
In health and happiness,
We can get some help
In the form of a pill
Fashioned straight from the hand of Gd Himself.