Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I was visiting the Mood Disorders Association clinic. One of the psychiatrists asked me what I was using for a PRN. A PRN is a medication that you take in an emergency. The initials are from the Latin, “pro re nata.”

“Ativan, one or two milligrams,” I replied.

“Where is it?”

“At home.”

He smiled. “How is it going to help you from home? Carry a couple of tablets with you in your wallet, okay?”

Running was a major part of keeping me stable and functioning while my wife was in hospital. Shortly after my visit to the clinic, I saw my wife, and she wasn’t doing well. The kids were at school. I decided to go for a run.

Usually, a jog would cheer me up, but not this day. As I hit the last six kilometers of my route, I started to feel like everything around me was unreal and that my life was coming undone. I came to a large bridge.

Midway across it I felt a strong urge to jump off – like when you stand on the edge of a pool and are teetering because you know the water is cold, but you want to swim.

I reached toward the railing.

It took every ounce of my will and training to stop.

I took all of the Ativan I had in my wallet and put it under my tongue. I thought about my kids. I felt the cement under me. I thought about everything I could to ground myself and return to reality.

After about ten minutes I could feel the drug start to work. The impulse disappeared, my mind relaxed.

I was shaken, but finished my run home. Near the end, I saw a good friend out walking her dog. She waved and I stopped. She asked how I was doing and I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe what had almost happened.

I saw my doctor right away. My medications were adjusted to help make sure that I wouldn’t get that depressed again.

The PRN did what it is supposed to do. It is the last line of defence with mental illness.

It terrified me to reach the point where I needed it. Hopefully, with the treatment I’m receiving now, it will never happen again.

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