Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Prozac Nation

Once again, I am the last to join in the frenzy. I dunno why I haven’t read it before. But then I guess for some books you have to be ready. Generation X, the first time around, was a book to slit your wrists to, and it is heavy reading for an idealistic, naïve 13-year-old. Now it’s my bible, telling me more about the human condition than official religious texts could have ever gotten across for me. What does that say about me? That I have turned into the jaded adult I always feared to become? Unwittingly, slowly, that only in retrospect I realise this? Yet it isn’t a book of dread for me anymore, and I feel that in my core I still have that idealism from back then, even though I now have to defend it with nuclear arms.
Prozac Nation is quite similar. Let’s face it: it is incredibly depressing. Obviously, because it is about a teenager describing her depression. What astonishes me is how much I find myself in it – which is something I probably wouldn’t have years ago. Hard to say… I have had depression for most of my life, but haven’t achieved the self-awareness about it until recently, the ability to describe it, to distance myself from it. It's wry and dark and self-indulgent in the pathological way depression creates, therefore grasping the essence of the illness so vividly it is almost scary. It creates a love-hate relationship in me with that book... I am thrilled to see someone perfectly understands and speaks for what I feel, on the other hand, I don't like reading something that puts me so intensely into the state of mind I know too well and abhor so much. Wurtzel redefines the term 'painfully honest'. Just like The Noonday Demon, it is required reading for anyone who wants or needs to understand what depression is about.

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