• Published 4th May 2014
  • 1,340 Views, 24 Comments

Drug Dust - Maxojir

Lightning Dust struggles to deal the severe depression she fell into after being kicked from the WonderBolt Academy, and tries to find a new future for herself.

  • ...

Depression and Anxiety

A young red pegasus stallion, Keto Profen, sighs with exhausted relief as he finally finishes dealing with yet another patient, and the last in the line. Right after he does, he hears the door open and once again opens his eyes.

A light greenish-blue pegasus mare with a swept-back orange mane enters the pharmacy through the front door and begins lethargically dragging her hooves up to the counter. It takes her a moment to reach it, as she walks with a half-hung head and an absent look on her face.

“Hi, eh-how can I help you?” Keto greets her with a half-awkwardness, typically being introverted and just having had to interact with a number of ponies.

The mare sluggishly sets the piece of paper down on the counter in front of her, and slides it over to him slowly with her hoof.

“My doctor gave me this.” The mare all but mumbles in an apathetic voice.

Keto Profen places his own hoof on the slip and drags it over the rest of the way. It was a prescription, though anypony could just guessed that, and it was authentic; raised Equestrian Medical Association seal and all.

In his upper peripheral vision Keto Profen notices that the mare's hoof is still on the countertop, albeit just on the edge. He lifts up his to look at her and sees that she's practically just letting her hoof slowly slide off of the counter by gravity's act alone. In fact, she wasn't even paying attention to it, or him, she was just looking hollowly down.

“Ah . . . hey, is everything alright?” Keto feels compelled to ask.

Keto Profen knows the answer to his own question, granted not what her exact answer might be. But, he had gone through enough Patient Behavior in Healthcare courses in his studies to at least be able to intuit when somepony has something seriously bothering them in some manner.

“. . . Yeah . . . it’s fine.” Lightning responded with a lie, voice filled to the brim with hollow misery.

She doesn't even look at him when she answers, and a prickling flush runs up him as he realizes that he's about to navigate an attempt at an empathetic interaction with this mare standing across from him. Were it not for his coat being red itself, his face would be beginning to show a faint red of its own right now.

“It really doesn't look like it. Ah-I know ponies you don't know asking you what's wrong can get kind of annoying, but . . . well everypony who cares about probably said they want to help you, but even if it's something nopony else really can you should tell me; I'm going to be one of your doctors. Or, well, I am a doctor, just a different kind than ponies usually think it means.” Keto does his best to maintain something of a pleasant tone.

“Nopony tells me they wanna help.” She replies bitterly.

Keto Profen takes a moment to absorb her response before he winces a bit to it. She was definitely depressed then, that much he could see for sure.

He looks down at her prescription again, and is thus not at all surprised at what he finds written: Venlafaxine 75mg qd, fill 30, Rf - 0. Venlafaxine is an antidepressant, exactly as he had then expected.

He lifts his head back up to her again.

“No pony? W-uh . . . I mean, have you talked about this-whatever's going on with anypony else? Just your doctor?” He can’t avoid letting a hinting tone of disbelief slip into his voice.

“No, can I just have this stuff and leave now?” She answers him rather shortly.

“Uuuhh, sure, I-I can prepare this for you if you're really in a hurry. But . . . ah-I really wouldn't exactly feel great about just . . .” He starts to respond.

Keto Profen halts for an instant, clenching his teeth.

“. . . letting you head out like this, unless you really, really NEED to go.” He finishes his sentence, sounding as uneasy as he feels.

“Yeah, I have a ripped uniform to stare at some more.” She affirms her position despondently.

“A unif-staring? At a uniform? Uh, something that means something to you?” Keto finds what she said a bit weird and asks about it.

“He doesn't even know. Nopony knows what it's like; not that stupid doctor and not you.” Her voice is beginning to waver as she speaks back.

“Y . . . your doctor doesn't understand what's bothering you?” Keto asks the question the only way that he can obviously think to.

Lightning Dust lifts her head up, looking right at him with an expression lost in a blur between reactive anger and overwhelming sadness.

“Bothering me? Nopony gets it. None of you other stupid ponies get it!” She declares with both sadness and anger.

“Uh-uh sssory. I'm sorry . . . please, I'm sorry. Whatever it is, th-ugh, there's nothing I can do, not even knowing what's going on.” Keto fumbles about with words, trying to apologize.

She only continues to attempt to glare at him, but her expression comes off as a shaky straight face, depression and frustration both pulling on her equally. Keto Profen struggles to keep his own appearing somewhat calm while his panic and unsurity fight to show themselves.

“I don't want you to feel like this, or, however you are.” Keto Profen tries to tell her.

“Will you just give me this stupid stuff and let me go? I don't care what you don't want me to feel like; you don't even know anything about it.” Lightning lets her bitterness get ahold of her voice.

“Yeah, I know, but I'm trying to ask you to tell me about it. And no, I can't, this has to be rewritten anyways; you're . . . ah, a lot more depressed than I think your doctor thought.” He tries her again, and lets her know of his intention to alter her medicative regimen.

“Just let me leave.” She mutters to herself.

“Hmm, yeah, there's no way 75 milligrams is going to be enough. I know it's the standard starting dose, but still . . .” Keto Profen thinks out loud.

As Keto Profen stares down at the prescription slip, thinking, Lightning Dust abruptly turns about and begins to walk away from the counter back towards the door.

“Huh? Uh-wait!” He yells to stop her, though his yell itself is weak.

Keto Profen begins to feel an onsetting rush of panic rise up within him. This was his first day being allowed to run the pharmacy alone, and Lightning Dust, an obviously severely depressed patient was just walking away.

“Just back off and let me leave! I shouldn't even be here. I shouldn't even be cause this . . . this wasn't supposed to happen!” Lightning snaps at him.

“Miss, what . . .” Keto started asking, but she almost immediately cut him off.

“It's LIGHTING DUST!” She rages at him.

Keto Profen cringes at the wrath in her response, and hesitates a bit more as he tries to approach her again.

“I was . . .” He tries to continue, only to be blocked from it again.

“You DON'T know what it's like! And you DON'T care! So stop trying to act like it!” She makes what she’s convinced of explicitly known.

Keto Profen is just left to listen to her all the way at this point; he feels it's the best thing he can do, and given his social skills, probably the only effective thing.

“I was the best! I was the best flyer wherever I was! Always! I should have . . .” She isn’t even able to finish what she begins to attempt to rage out.

This time, as she reaches those last words, it's her who begins to cringe, and cringe hard. Her knees quiver even, for a few seconds, until she lifts up one hoof and slams it back into the ground. Her teeth grit and show just after the impact.

“I blew this one chance! This is it, there's nothing left! My dream is . . . gone.” She finishes what she was saying as her depression overpowers her anger and regains its control.

Understanding now finally snaps into Keto Profen with this clarity-bringing revelation. He himself even feels a good bit of mock-sorrow, imagining what it would have been like for him if his attempt to get into Pharmacy School had failed.

“Ah-uh . . . yeah, I don't know, not what that's like. But I can relate to feeling really depressed like that, just . . . not as much as that would do.” Keto pulls a couple sentences together, coming back out of the silent position he had taken to listen to her.

Lightning Dust stays where she is, and just looks down at her hooves, or rather the empty ground between them. Keto Profen hesitates a bit longer to see if she'll respond, but worried she might resume walking away, he continues.

“Ah-I obviously don't know what that's like, but . . . for the whole time it me to finally get here to my dream, all I ever did was doubt that I was ever going to make it. All six years of education. And even now . . . I still don't exactly have any confidence in myself and I come in here waiting to be fired every day.” He tells a portion of his own story, hoping for an understanding to pass between them, and for her to be able to see him as more than just an object.

Lightning Dust keeps her head down for another few seconds, until she can't help but lift it and turn to look over her shoulder at him with a practically compulsive odd, though still depressed, look. Anypony not having confidence in themselves had just never made any sense to her at all, to the point that even now that lack of sense managed to seize some prevalence away from the depression for a moment.

“But, I was depressed, all the time. I know it wasn't anything like what you feel, or I mean it can't have been; not anywhere that bad. But it still interfered my life, a lot, like I know this must-is, obviously, doing to you.” He goes on to tell her just a little bit more.

Keto Profen washes over with so much relief when Lightning Dust finally turns back around and starts slowly walking back up to his counter.

“And You took . . . whatever this is too?” She asks him.

“Uh, no, something different, but it's from the exact same drug class, so you could say that . . . kind of.” He does his best to explain it basically to her.

“Yeah, fine . . . I guess.” She reluctantly agrees to give him credibility.

“Oh, then uh, let me grab this real quick. Effexor is usually in a pre-set bottle ...” Keto says after a relieved sigh.

Keto Profen cranes his around looking down the rows of shelves and steps a ways off to search for her particular antidepressant.
Lightning Dust slumps down on the counter.

“I don't care, I just don't want to be like this forever.” She mutters miserably.

“Here!” Keto exclaims when he finds the arrangement of Venlafaxine/Effexor bottles.

He quickly comes back to the counter with a bottle.

“Now-aahhh, hm, ehrrr four, I'd say four days; come back in four days. I mean you don't have to, I'm not saying. You're just as free to stick to the standardized prescription regimen your doctor sent you here with as you are anything else. But I'd just like to see you back in about four days cause I . . . I really think it'll be a lot better for you if you're on a higher dose than he wrote. I do agree with starting at this though, if anything just to make sure you don't have any negative reactions. If you want to, you can come back after a few days and we can talk about it some more? I'd really like to see you again.” Keto spoke for the longest he had since Lightning first came in.

Concealed underneath his red fur, Keto Profen's face heats up in a blush after he realizes how much his last sentence might have sounded like he was interested in her on a relational level.

“Yeah, sure, I guess.” Lightning agrees to return in her apathy-restored voice.

Lightning responds without even looking up at him, though she does remove her head itself from the counter top. Her eyes stay aimed low and look from one direction to the other

Suddenly, she does raise her head back up near it's normal position and looks at Keto Profen.

“T-that's when you're going to be here again, right?” She uncertainly asks, not comfortable with the idea of dealing with anyone else since only Keto has remotely understand her so far.

Keto Profen makes a sound just to acknowledge that he heard what she said, and then smiles by just a tiny bit and nods twice.

“That's Thursday so I'll be here; I'm always here all day on Thursdays.” Keto Profen assures her.
Lightning Dust appears to actually consider it for a moment.

“Yeah . . . I'll come back if you really can make this stupid stuff make this all just go away.” She says.

“Well-ah . . . I can't "just do" things. I mean it all depends on the severity of the condition, no matter what the medicine is, and on how well your body responds to it.” He has to respond back, hesitantly, aware of the potential consequences of the truth.

Lightning Dust begins to swiftly lose the tiny bit of upliftedness that had just begun to gain access to her face. Keto Profen instantly makes himself go on upon seeing it, desparate to keep her from slipping back or entering a worse emotional state than she'd walked in with.

“But I can help you. I'm supposed to be here to guide you through everything you need to know about taking your prescription, and to answer any questions about it or anything else.” He goes on to try to prevent her from regressing back down from the momentary hope she’d seemed to have gained.

Lightning eases her expression down a little bit, but overall she still appears unsure again. She looks glumly down at her hooves for a moment, and then turns her head to look outside, at the thin strip of sky she could see out of the Pharmacy's front windows.

“Hey, it's . . . ugh, nothing's a guarantee of anything. I can't promise you that anything I give you will make all of your depressive feelings go away.” He say to her, making her turn her head back to him.

“But, Lightning I do promise you it will do Something. It-it just may not be the best for you. I don't know you. Or-uh, uh-I don't know anything about you, physically . . .” Keto continues to speak, but cuts himself short.

Keto Profen's face shot a deep enough crimson to match the color of his fur, which again concealed it. He couldn't believe he actually just said that, or at least what it could sound like.

“Your body might react differently too it that it would to other SSRIs, or SNRIs. It's side effects might bother you more than some other medicine's would. And, your-y-rr, stupid stuttering, you might just not find it as effective as you want. But it will do Something.” He explains to clear away his red-facedness, and promises her again.

Lightning slowly changes to appear so much more hopeful, though still with her deeply depressive state obviously visible.

She looks him eye-to-eye with her new believing, dimly hopeful expression. Her eyes shift down to the white, labeled bottle of pill capsules that Keto had brought up and placed halfway between the two of them on the counter. For a few seconds of time she stares, but then finally lifts her eyes back up to him.

“Alright, if you're saying it will do something, at least.” Lightning finally agrees to listen to him completely.

She reaches and pulls the bottle over to herself across the counter.

“Yeah. I promise.” He says, even smiling whole-heartedly, which he often found difficult.

“Just come back in four days, on Thursday so we can see if you have any contraindicating reactions to Venlafaxine. If you seem fine with taking it then I'll use my Pharmaceutical authority ehh-for the first time, and see about upping your dose.” Keto repeats himself from earlier in summary.

“Uhh-um, is that O.K?” He then asks.

“Sure, I guess . . .” She responds in mope again.

“Oh! Ahh sorry about making it seem like I was telling you you had to come back, we're only ever supposed to suggest things.” Keto Profen suddenly tells her out the guilt from his realization at the fact.

Keto sighs with a closed-eyes look of mental exhaustion.

“I’m gonna get fired.” He says quietly, resolved to what he assumes is his inevitable fate.

“I bet you won't.” Lightning lets out a horse snort before betting.

Keto lifts his head and opens his eyes back up with a look of slight confusion as to the grumbling tone of Lightning's voice used with her otherwise would-be cheer-up comment.

“Hmpf, I never though I'd get kicked out; I was never even worried about what I was doing . . . and I got kicked out . . .” She reveals where she is coming from in what she said.

Keto's confused look turns to one of uncomfortable empathy as he gets that she's referencing whatever's behind her extreme depressive state.

“You're worried you might get fired, you said you're always worried about everything . . . so you probably never will, since I wasn't and I did . . .” She finishes what she had begun telling him.

Keto can't overcome muteness for several moments after she finishes, for lack of knowing really what to say. All the while his face at least does a decent job of displaying his uncertainty.

“Uh-hey . . . don't-don't let me say anything that bring's up really bad memories or-no, agh, that's not . . . what comes out of my mouth isn't your responsibility, it's mine. I'm sorry” Keto berates himself again.

Lightning reaches across the counter and starts to pull the bottle over to her side.

“Wha-No, wait! I have to tell you some things about it first.” He stops her.

Lightning holds her hoof in place around the bottle for several seconds before letting go and letting her hoof slide back by gravity to the counter's edge, only this time keeping it just clinging on as opposed to letting it fall.

“You just-uh you have to take this with food; or at least you should, unless you have an iron stomach. And don't take any of the common pain&fever meds with this, only Acetaminophen. So, none of the profens; no Ibuprofen, Naxoprofen . . . me, Keto Profen. And . . .” Keto runs through the first portion of his knowledge about the medical drug he was giving to her, revealing that his name is also that of a medication in the process.

Keto pauses for a moment, twisting the bottle back and forth examining each phonetic portion of the drug's chemical compound name.

“it . . . looks like you shouldn't expect too much negative reaction to it, just that it might start giving you bad insomnia once we move you up to higher doses.” He finished off with the last bit of what he thought she should know.

“Why don't you just give me the higher dose now? Nopony gets it: I can't take being like this.” Lighting suddenly questions in depressed frustration.

Keto Profen winces at her miserably aggrivated demand. One hoof even lifts just off the ground and tucks back a bit for a few seconds. He appears stuck, empathetic but stuck, and the red his face is turning is almost enough to be seen through his fur.

“Ah-I, I . . . I know. I really really do think this dose is too low for you, but I don't wanna take any risks with you either. That's why I really want you to take this one but only for the four days we agreed and then I'll elavate you, I promise. It's just, if you turn out to be hypersensative to it there's really bad things that could happen to you.” Keto explains under stressed sympathy.
Lightning slightly relents her depressed glare.

“And the higher the dose you start at without knowing if you are hypersensative to the drug, the worse that outcome will be. You could get Serotonin Syndrome from this, and really quickly go into hyperthermia.” He goes to explain more.

Lightning still appeared as depressed as she was, and if anything far more depressed than confused, but her lack of understanding of Keto's terminology did show in her look.

“You're a flyer right? I mean an athlete. You know how hot and overheated you can feel after working out real hard for a really long time; hyperthermia's overheating, just like that but three times worse to the point you feel sick . . . and you can die . . .” He tries to adapt what he previously said over to something more understandable.

Lightning's expression started initially at depressed denial of what Keto was saying, but from his voice at the end, her face changed over to one of grudgingly reckoning with reality.

“And I don't want that. I mean, especially not you. Somepony who could qualify to try out for the WonderBolts would be a hard loss, there's so much you could do.” He says, slipping his words and accidentally using I instead of nopony.

Keto Profen's face becomes red enough now that it does show through his fur. How could he keep sounding so stupid? He'd meant to just be encouraging, but what he was saying could easily be misheard as him attempting, although horribly, to flirt in some manner his patient.

To Keto's relief, albeit a guilty relief for feeling such at her unyielding depression, her expression didn't alter.

“Yeah right.” Lightning bitterly mumbles.

“It doesn't even matter; being in the Wonderbolts is all I ever wanted, but now it's gone.” She declares to him, completely broken.
Keto doesn't respond, instead he lets his eyes think down and gets lost really trying to empathize with would it must be like for Lightning Dust to have gone through.

“Yeah, if I'd been stopped from getting to be a Pharmacist . . . I'd be pretty soul-crushed.” He connects completely with what would have been the same for him.

Neither of them say anything. Lightning continues to look miserably down at the ground, while Keto does the same while glancing up at her once a second to know when she was ready to resume.

“So is that it?” She asks plainly.

“Oh? Oh, uh-yeah, there-there's nothing else to tell you. About your medication, I mean.” Keto affirms.

“I'll come back by on Thursday.” She says, finally, raising a smile on Keto Profen’s face.

Lighting tilts her head sideways and grips the small pill bottle in her mouth. She mumbles or says something in a really low voice as she turns away. The words sound distorted by her having a little plastic bottle sideways in her mouth, but they're still discernable to Keto Profen as a "Thanks". A glum thanks, but a thanks all the same, and it brightens up his day.

Keto picks up a clipboard with his wing and a pencil with mouth and begins walking up down the aisles of medication shelves, taking inventory. At the start of the third aisle though, he begins to accept that he is feeling a deal of malaise, leftover and originally risen by his anxiety during interacting with Lightning Dust. He’d tried to suppress it up until now, but it becoming a little too much for him to maintain sufficient focus.

Keto Profen had problem conditions of his own, anxiety issues in particular. His could get so bad to the point of making him feel ill, or just completely not right and uncomfortable like it was doing right now. He had medication of his own he frequently had to take, and that’s precisely what he does now.

He sets the clipboard down on an open segment of shelf and walks over to his small little desk in the back area and extracts his bottle of Lorazepam.

“What if I did even try to flirt with her . . . or ask her out, or any mare, ANY? I’d be so terrified, even somepony who’s not a Pharmacist knows the dose of these I’d have to be on isn’t safe.” He thinks to himself as he takes a single half-tablet, and then waits for it to begin affecting him and relieving his uneasiness so he can return to taking inventory for the day.

Author's Note:

The first story I've ever posted up here. I've been out of fanfiction writing for while, but I'd like to consider myself back now, and rebooted with improved craft and more well flushed/thought-out ideas.

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