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All Columns Editorial

Bitch! Prozac pilloried (with alliterative alacrity)

By Leatrice Spevack

“Life is like a bridge of sighs,” wrote Kierkagaard. Unless, you’re taking Prozac, in which case, I suppose, it’s a barrel of laughs.

This quick-fix anti-depressant has proven a picayune problem-solver for the nebulous ‘90s; the perfect pal to shrinks with pesky patients. Hundreds of Dr. Feelgoods are recommending it for every infirmity ranging from shyness to Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. The Chief of Psychiatry at Hamilton’s St. Joseph’s Hospital describes his rationale for employing it to treat PMS-sufferers: “They hate themselves, their husbands, their children, their work – everything.” Yeah? Who doesn’t?

PMS is women’s greatest subterfuge since the “headache,” the freedom of bitchiness one week out of every four. Give that up? Are you nuts? 

A mood is a terrible thing to waste. Sylvia Plath was inspired to write (until she stuck her head in the oven). Hemingway, Mozart, and Glenn Gould all knew that moodiness was more than mere malady – it was a muse.

Dr. Oliver Sacks (The Awakening) says, that in a creative person, medication “dampens them down…which is fatal.”

Depression is an appropriate response to loss, hurt, the Harris victory, and other crises that plague us. Do you really want your emotions flatlined? In his book Talking Back to Prozac, Dr. Peter Breggin says that it produces “an apathetic state not unsimilar to having a lobotomy.” If that’s not the slippery slope to Happy Valley, I don’t know what is.

The 1993 Compendium of Pharmaceuticals lists more than 200 adverse effects from Prozac, not the least of which is that 40% of users experience a decline in sex drive with many unable to reach orgasm. Yikes!

What was once your personality is not categorized as some sort of illness. In Listening to Prozac, author Peter Kramer claims that it is unbuttoning the inhibited and jump-starting the passive. Now we must endure Prozac-enhanced egos as the wallflower evolves into a party animal. Get the loon a lampshade and show me to the door. 

Yes, you can now choose your own mood or pick a new personality from a cornucopia of chemicals. Hopefully, you will choose more wisely than Prozan popper Joseph Wesbecker: he killed eight people, wounded thirteen others, and committed suicide during a shooting spree in Kentucky. Bring me a Brador and pass the beer nuts. I think I’ll choose to wallow in my misery.

Call me crazy, but I gotta be me.

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