when depressed, do not read prozac nation

Sometimes it shames me that I feel depressed — because there are a lot of people out there who have more right to the feeling than I do. But there it is.

I’ve joked before, “I’m not depressed, I’m hormonal,” and that’s partly true. There are days — and nights — however, that I just have to admit to myself that yes, I AM depressed.

It doesn’t stop me from being functional (in fact I aim to finish something for work after this entry), but the admission does allow me to breathe a little and wallow a bit and keep the feeling in its proper place.

I read this today in a bid for some fellow-feeling, without having to come out and admit to an actual person that yes, I am a bit down-in-the-mouth:

“I’m the girl who is lost in space, the girl who is disappearing always, forever fading away and receding farther and farther into the background. Just like the Cheshire cat, someday I will suddenly leave, but the artificial warmth of my smile, that phony, clownish curve, the kind you see on miserably sad people and villains in Disney movies, will remain behind as an ironic remnant. I am the girl you see in the photograph from some party someplace or some picnic in the park, the one who is in fact soon to be gone. When you look at the picture again, I want to assure you, I will no longer be there. ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

Whatever her faults, Wurtzel knows how to write, and is pretty honest over her attention-seeking ways.

(I got that quote from Goodreads. It also has a very keen description of what it means to jump from a fire out the window and onto the pavement, from David Foster Wallace. Incidentally, he ended up hanging himself, what a pity.)

Admission to self is (sort of) easy, admission to another is just plain needy. (And I detest being needy more than I detest being quietly depressed.) Admission to the nameless countless — the Internet community — is risky but less a bid for attention than thinking aloud. Quite.

The one antidote to depression is productivity. How can depression work for you? Let it spur creativity, perhaps. Dissect it, analyze it, learn from it. Have it remind you of how lucky you are, miserable as you may be at the moment, to have the luxury to reflect on your misery. Add it to the well of empathy from which to draw when a friend comes calling for some tea and sympathy.

It’s a thought, anyway.

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