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Finding My Fix

Finding My Fix

by Judith Sara Gelt

                   at forty.

I slumped in front of a massive desk, a passive patient corroded with failure and dread. The doctor’s wide form stuffed the room. Leaning toward me, he stared.

Can you tell me how you’re feeling? I’d like to help.

My hands and feet fixed and frozen, my brain laboring through haze, I didn’t comprehend words. But sincerity startled me alert. Misery stumbled from my throat. Air conditioning wiped my cheeks.


                                                                      an eight-year-old’s                             



                                                                      the daughter

                                                                                              whose own      mother

                                                                                              couldn’t           mother

                                                                                              her little           girl.                




                                                                                              and meds paid off,     








          I can

          almost forget


          when I am well.


                                  I can

                                  always remember


                                  when I am well

                                  (if I muck around

                                  in those memories).                  

          Why would I ever do this?

                                  Sometimes depression is hungry and needs to eat


an acquired


First, I downed pinky-nail sized, white disks like Oreo filling hardened to chalk. (Weeks of waiting, worrying physical sensations, then weaning-off time.) My second fix—mini-sized, hard, albino quasi-balls. Not pills at all, really. Round enough to roll across hard floors, get wedged in corners. Hide in carpet fibers where, on hands and knees, I scrape with fingernails because what if the dog dies because—of course—she eats the fucking things? (Weeks worrying sensations, weaning-off.) The third medication—a capsule. Faded pink of my pale wrist.


                  in my fifties.

Bad breakthroughs.

Sad breakthroughs.

Melancholy bullies past


Hello, you!

Come, sit with me

and be my love.

Here, on the sofa.

Take a load off.


I’m ready for you!

I fluffed the cushions.

Set the remotes

an arm’s length from where

we sit. Even closed

the blinds. Oh, you’re welcome!

I have Brooklyn 99 on.

And whatever you do,

do not answer my phone

or go to the door.

Let’s not talk anymore, okay?


                  Making Merry
                  in my sixties.


No need to shake my bottle

of antidepressants

to verify it’s empty. I ate

the last one yesterday. Gripping

the horrid-orange, plastic bottle,

my hand quivers.

I hope it’s nothing



(I don’t

have arthritis.)

For the life of me, I can’t recall

if I ordered the refill.

Gnawing my lips raw and red,

my brain delivers

depression’s invitation—

Come! Party with Dementia!

I’m scared shitless to attend.

I need my fix.


                  Some Delight in Detail


My small white discs were 200mg each. I was prescribed 150mg each evening. I purchased a pill splitter. I fell in love with the name—

                        pill splitter.


                  Sing a Little Song
                  at seventy.

                           The Quintessence of Depression-Meds Waltz


                                                                Everything Sounds Better Set to Music


(Sung by depressives maintaining senses of humor

while on effective meds. No one else feels like singing.)


to The Blue Danube ~Johann Strauss

                  My orgasms are gone. / Who am I? Who am I? /

                  Where the hell did they go? / What the fuck? What the fuck? /

                  These meds are to blame. / It’s not fair. It’s not fair. /

                  This makes me quite sad. / Swallow hope. Swallow hope.



Judith Sara Gelt taught middle school and university undergrads for decades before beginning to write, and her rhino-thick skin came in handy for both. Her memoir, Reckless Steps Toward Sanity (Winner of the High Plains Book Award), was published in 2019 by the University of New Mexico Press. Judith lives in Denver as a lucky Savta (Hebrew for grandmother) and hopes her daughter never writes memoir. You can find her creative nonfiction in Iron Horse Literary Review, Nashville Review, Superstition Review, Broad Street Magazine, Portland Review, and more. She is a member of Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop and can be found at