Friday, April 04, 2008

The Feel-Good-Enough Drugs

Antidepressants are widely prescribed because they restore balance. But balance isn’t happiness
by Walter Armstrong

I’ve been taking antidepressants since 1994. That may seem like a long time, but since I expect to pop these pills every morning until I die, I’ve stopped keeping count. You could say I’m reconciled to the fact that I was born with bad brain chemistry and need a little extra push to reach that state familiar to everyone but the chronically depressed as well-being. I like it there and have no intention of leaving.

I remember vividly the moment when Prozac first kicked in, like switching from black-and-white to color. I was talking on the phone to a friend who was telling me about her problems, which included taking care of a husband who was dying of AIDS. I heard in the familiar tone of her sad voice how hopeless she felt, but for the first time it failed to find an echo inside me. I proceeded to deliver my first-ever pep talk to her, with all the annoying sincerity of a fresh convert to hope.

The novelty wore off soon enough.
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