The true self, in the face of depression, is the medicated self. Depression renders us incapable of living a full life free from dogged thoughts of gloom, despair, and even thoughts of self harm. Prior to Prozac, depression was a fuzzy concept that carried much social stigma. Now, more than thirty years since its release, Prozac and depression are household words. Prozac made it okay to be depressed and to seek treatment. The unprecedented media fascination with Prozac mainstreamed depression into everyday life, bringing awareness of the disorder and encouraging many to seek treatment. Worldwide, depression is the number one cause of disability, and every forty seconds someone commits suicide. There is little reason to suffer without treatment, and one need not fear that the true self will be compromised. To be true to ourselves, we must live to our full potential, which depression robs. Depression Since Prozac: Finding the True Self delves deep into what depression is, why Prozac has been such a popular remedy, Prozac's effect on creativity, and explores why so many have embraced Prozac and why so many disparage it as unnatural, even claiming that it provides an unfair advantage. Prozac may indeed make you "feel better than well," but what could be better than that? More than just a mental "nose job," Prozac has helped millions to live with depression, to be happy and successful, to retain our identity and to realize our true selves.
Russell Helms teaches scientific and creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Tennessee. His battle with depression goes back to when he was just ten years old. Growing up in a void of informatiion about depression, he remained untreated until he was thirty-three, losing many valuable years of productive life. He wants to let others know that it's okay to be labeled as depressed for therein lies the road to wellness. He took Prozac for some twenty years and is a living example of the benefits it brings. Of course, Prozac may not be the ideal medication for all those who suffer from depression but it represents a class of drugs that has opened up the discussion of depression. Feeling terrible day after day no longer has to remain a mystery. There is hope, Helms says, and one need not worry that medications will change who we are are. The true self is the medicated self.