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Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

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At first, the idea was to get me going so I could respond to talk therapy, but now it seems clear that my condition is chronic, that I'm going to be on drugs forever if I just want to be barely functional. Prozac alone isn't even enough. I've been off lithium less than a month and I'm already perfectly batty. And I'm starting to wonder if I might not be one of those people like Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath who are just better off dead, who may live in that bare, minimal sort of way for a certian number of years, may even marry, have kids, create an artistic legacy of sorts, may even be beautiful and enchanting at moments, as both of them suposedly were. But in the end, none of the good was any match for the aching, enduring, suicidal pain.

He sits down next to me, but I know he'd rather be with Emily, his girlfriend, or anywhere else. I know he'd rather be washing dishes in the other room or sweeping the floor or gathering cans and bottles for the recycling bin. I know that I'm so awful right now that cleaning is more appealing than sitting with me.

Julian says stuff like, Happiness is a choice, you've got to work toward it. He says it like it's an insight or something.
He says, you've got to believe.
He says, Come on! Cheer up! Pull yourself together!

...and I think that if I don't comply, maybe the men in white coats will come with a straitjacket and take me away, a thought that is momentarily comforting, and ultimately, like everything else, horrifying.

But depression is not a sudden disaster. It is more like a cancer: At first its tumorours mass is not even noticeable to the careful eye, and then one day--wham!--there is a huge, deadly seven-pound lump lodged in your brain or your stomach or your shoulder blade, and this thing that your own body has produced is actually trying to kill you. Depression is a lot like that: Slowly, over the years, the data will accumulate in your heart and mind, a computer program for total negativity will build into our system, making life feel more and more unbearable.

One morning you wake up afraid you are going to live.

My spirit,...was long gone, dead and gone, and only a mass of the most fucking god-awful excruciating pain like a pair of boiling hot tongs clamped tight around my spine and pressing on all my nerves was left in its wake.

Depression is in an altogether different zone because it involves a complete absence: absence of affect, absence of feeling, absence of response, absence of interest. The pain you feel in the course of a major clinical depression is an attempt on nature's part (nature, after all, abhors a vacuum) to fill up the empty space. But for all intents and purposes, the deeply depressed are just the walking, waking dead.

"It was sawdust, the unhappiness: it infiltrated everything, everything was a problem, everything made her cry--school, homework, boyfriends, the future, the lack of future, the uncertainty of future, fear of future, fear in general--but it was so hard to say exactly what the problem was in the first place." -Melanie Thernstrom The Dead Girl

I take pleasure in the pain I cause others.

I want so badly to have my life circumstances match the oppressiveness I feel internally.

My misery will begin to make sense. That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.

They will have to suffer as I have. And even after they've done that, there wil still be more. They will have to rearrange the order of the cosmos, they will have to end the cold war, they will have to act like loving, kind adults who care about each other, they will have to cure hunger in Ethiopia and end the sex-slave trade in Thailand and stop torture in Argentina. They will have to do more than they ever thought they could if they want me to stay alive. They have no idea how much energy and exasperation I am willing to suck out of them until I feel better. I will drain them and drown them until they know how little of me there is left even after I've taken everything they've got to give me because I hate them for not knowing.

I wish she'd let me sink way down low in front of her, let slide the need to maintain appearances just long enough for me to bottom out and get the kind of help Dr. Isaac was never going to give me. It was as if my therapy sessions with the doctor were one big buffer zone, a dopey palliative that would keep me afloat but would never really allow me to land in the depth of my despair. And I was starting to want to know the worst, I wanted to know how bad it could get.

I want out of this life. I really do. I keep thinking that if I would just get a grip on myself, I could be all right again. I keep thinking that I'm driving myself crazy, but I swear, I swear to God, I have no control. It's so awful. It's like demons have taken over my mind. And nobobdy believes me. Everybody thinks I could be better if I wanted to. But I can't be the old Lizzy anymore. I can't be myself anymore. I mean actually, I am being myself right now and it's so horrible.

But what does getting help with depression mean? Learning to keep away from your own mind? Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to get rid of Jack Daniel's than Elizabeth Wurtzel?

Depression was the loneliest fucking thing on earth. There were no halfway houses for depressives, no Depression Anonymous meetings that I knew of. Yes, of course, there were mental hospitals like McLean and Bellvue and Payne Whitney and the Menninger Clinic, but I couldn't hope to end up in one of those places unless I made a suicide attempt serious enough to warrant oxygen or stitches or a stomach pump. Until then, I would remain woefully undertreated by a Manhattan psychiatrist who could offer only a little bit of help amid the chaos of my home life. I used to wish--to pray to God for the courage and strength--that I'd have the guts not to get better, but to slit my wrists and get a whole lot worse so that I could land in some mental ward, where real help might have been possible.

...our biweekly visits were just a Band-Aid, a small buffer zone full of social prattle and practical advice, but getting down to the bone and the skin and the eyes and the teeth was not in the offing.

I want to kill my parents for doing this to me! I want to hack them to death for this because I was the best little girl in the world and instead of making me feel good about all the things that were good about me, they sent me away and I never really found my way back home! I was special! I had promise! And instead they threw me away and tried to make me ordinary! They threw me away with a bunch of normal kids who thought I was strange and made me feel strange until I became strange! And after all these years, I still despise them for doing this to me!

No one who had never been depressed like me could imagine that the pain could get so bad that death became a star to hitch up to, a fantasy of peace someday which seemed better than any life with all this noise in my head.

...lost in a loneliness that felt like forever, like a solitude that would never go away.

"If you take someone's thoughts and feelings away, bit by bit, consistently, then they have nothing left, except some gritty, gnawing, shitty little instinct, down there, somewhere, worming round the gut, but so far down, so hidden, it's impossible to find. Imagine, if you will, a worldwide conspiracy to deny the existence of the colour yellow. And whenever you saw yellow, they told you, no, that isn't yellow, what the fuck's yellow? Eventually, whenever you saw yellow, you would say: that isn't yellow, course it isn't, blue or green or purple, or...You'd say it, yes it is, it's yellow, and become increasingly hysterical, and then go quite berserk." -David Edgar Mary Barnes

"There's nothing I hate more than nothing
Nothing keeps me up at night
I toss and turn over nothing
Nothing could cause a great big fight"
-Edie Brickal Nothing

"People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." -Albert Einstein

And what I thought, every time I thought about my father, every time his name came up, was quite simply: I WANT TO KILL YOU.

"I know the bottom, she says
know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there" -Sylvia Plath Elm


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