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Ode to Citalopram - A.V. Lancaster

Mint and metal are the tastes in my mouth,

Scarlet trickling from thin faded lips,

Hollowed out eyes of a 7 stone girl (oooh aren’t you lovely and thin),

That I don’t recognise stare back from a mirror.

Teeth that haven’t been brushed for a week

Are doused with ice cold water, numbing the bleed.

A spectre watches from the glass as a comb is dragged

Through a forest of dulled blonde matted curls (so much hair, your crowning glory that my girl).

Lips painted crimson to match the bleeding gums,

Heavy black bags concealed by a French miracle at £25 a bottle (treating yourself today, Madam?).

A generous sweep of pink across the cheekbones enlivens the sallow, anaemic Irish complexion

Like a school girl caught in the dichotomy of laughter and shame upon hearing a dirty joke

The reflection looks on in contempt.

Abandoning parantheses, she acknowledges the truth, “but you’re not so innocent anymore, are you?”

Abandoning panic I place a small white disc on my tongue and chase it down with water.

I acknowledge the truth, “no, I am so much stronger.”


"My poem serves as a memory of the different voices that surrounded me when by depression became severe. I was in a dark place and my treatment (an SSRI antidepressant called Citalopram) was removed due to a separate liver function issue. I was no longer able to balance myself and my thoughts became so clouded that I truly lost myself and began wondering who I actually was. Who was I without the medication? Had I always been so very, very sad? As my physical condition improved I was able to start taking my antidepressants again but still felt a little hollow. The first step of returning to my stable self was taking pride in my appearance such as brushing my teeth, taking time to style my hair and eventually even put my make up on. Truly becoming myself again was a long difficult path but as I took more care of myself this battle appeared less obvious to family, friends and even strangers which are displayed in parantheses."

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