Prozac Nation This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Ms.Wurtzel, I probably wouldn't be writing this if it weren't for a schoolassignment. Sure, that sounds bad, but I don't mean it that way. Writing this hashelped me examine my life, although it's only 18 years short, and realize thatI'm a lot better off than I could be.

Although I wish you didn't have toendure the pain and mental anguish you did, I am grateful you had the courage towrite about it in Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America and inform themisled masses about mental illness and its inherent misperceptions.

Forthe last six months I have been in therapy and using Zoloft to eradicate mydepression. I'm not a crazy depressed person. I'm usually happy and funny andgiggly. But then something just changed. I became quiet and cynical. Sarcasmwasn't just for laughs anymore. It was a way of life. I disliked everything, butthe funny thing was, I didn't notice. My best friend and I were together everyday, and she noticed that I was different.

"Alexa, what'swrong?" She would ask, or plead.

"Nothing, I'm great!" I'dsay, not because I believed it, but because that is what I had to say. But themore she asked, the more I resisted and one time I mumbled, almostuncontrollably, "... but I wish I were dead."

And she heard me.And this is why I went into therapy, because I love my best friend enough tolisten to her. And I know she cared enough about me to tell me I neededhelp.

En route to mental wellness, I made a couple of wrong turns. Adoctor left me on 25 milligrams of Zoloft for a couple months. That is equivalentto one grain of salt in a gallon of water. I was happy for an hour, maybe. But Igot a new doctor, because I had to be well. I didn't want to spend the rest of mylife, however long or short it was, wondering when or if I would off myself. Thisis when I picked up Prozac Nation at a bookstore. It caught my eye, and I had acouple spare dollars. It was like salvation.

Sure, that sounds cheesy -salvation - but if I had not read your memoir, I perhaps wouldn't have wanted togo on talking to an easily excited therapist who called my mother every time Isounded remotely self-abusive, or bothered to find a doctor who got me on theright dosage. I was acquainted with techniques of hurting oneself, but I wasafraid to try. I am not sure whether it was fear that prevented me, or commonsense, but reading about your experiences made feel that I could stay away fromrazors.

Now, I'm almost better. My doctor says that I'm in"remission" and in nine months I'll be weaned off medications and leftto fend for myself. I can't wait! But a new problem has evolved - the friend whonoticed my problems now has her own that she stubbornly refuses to get help for.Counseling is as far as I have gotten her. Her mother is against medication. I'vetried to explain that it's not a moral failing, it's not her fault that her brainis having a couple of off days in the chemistry department. But no luck.

Prozac Nation gave me courage not to hurt myself, because I was notalone. Your book was so real and so dark that I felt the pain of the cuts, thesadness in the alcohol and the paranoia, even among close friends. I didn't haveto cut, or drink, or be afraid, or cry anymore, or do a line of coke on an oldPogues CD; you did it for me. You stopped me in your experiences. You saved alife, by living yours.

I'm going to send my friend a care package of books(Prozac Nation being the most important) that will help her realize she is notalone and that there is help, even if it doesn't come from me. I hope I can saveher, just as you saved me. I can't thank you enough for having the courage totell the brutal truth about depression.

Thank you, Elizabeth. You are avital part of this human race. If you hadn't been here first, I wouldn't be herenow.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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callie15 said...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

i totally know how it feels to be depressed. i had to go into counseling in the 4th grade. it only lasted about a year, but it was a long one. i had to take prozac and have been taking it ever since.

it sounds like a very inspiring book. i'll read it when i can. it is always nice to hear someone's story, so that you don't feel so alone:)

 
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