To understand anguish and gloom, we need look no further than the following excerpt from "The Apothecary's Guide to Grief":

"The pathology of grievance is a dangerous subject. Despondency itself seems a plague that spreads thick and frivolous, but the apothecaries of the disquiet should fear not the affliction. For those in desolation, the treatment need not be complex.


Strychnine is for the madness of the moment. The convulsions and the twisting against the grasp of the day. A reality that won't let go and pulls further and further at the chest. The feeling of helplessness, and painful suffocation.

A dash of strychnine is best taken for deafening stimulus that clouds the mind, and strenuous hardships in the body.


Arsenic is for the sickening feeling of twisted bowels when the news hit hard. For the vomiting deep in the night when minds don't clear, and thoughts don't serve. When the morning comes around, it's for the retching and the cramping of the aftershock, the burns that sting still fresh.

Arsenite is best for the treatment of stomachs struggling to churn, and of guts tangled around heavy truths.


Phosphorus is for the anger and destruction of living moments. It's for the violent corrosion of what once was, and the gangrenous rot of what will come. For necrosis that spreads, eats and kills the world that was so carefully built for it.

White phosphorus is the cleanser of an ill-fitting body and will rid the patient of burdens of the flesh.


Cyanide is for the heartache and stinging lungs. For the moments when heartbeats struggle and fall short. It's for the clutching of the chest and the short, shallow breaths when the air feels empty and cold.

A breath of hydrogen cyanide is the sanitizer of the blood and the calmant of the heart.


Barbitone is for the restless nights and troubled sleep. For the torments of the mind that wake it in the dark and hold it prisoner to the reflection of the moon. It is the analgesic for the woes that roam the silence and blemish the synapses of the brain.

The bitter taste of barbitone should be used to numb the infelicity of midnight."