Sunday, March 22, 2015

Embracing the Crazy

Conversation between me and Precocious Daughter yesterday:

Me: I need to call in a refill for my crazy pills.

PD: Yes, do that please.

*later, coming home from mall*

Me: Don't let me forget to stop at the drugstore to pick up my crazy pills.

PD: Don't forget to stop at the drugstore to pick up my crazy pills.

Me: Yeah, thanks.

*at the drugstore, picking up pills*

Me: Here, hold these.

PD (reading from label): "Fluoxetine." Is there, like, a brand name these things go by?

Me: Of course. It's Prozac.



PD: Oh.....................................................I know what that is.


So, apparently up to now there's been some disconnect between PDaughter's knowing for years now that Mommy takes "crazy pills" and her perhaps more recent knowledge of what Prozac is and what kind of thing it's taken to treat.

I learn something new every day.

For the record, I'm not in the least ashamed to say that I've taken Prozac for the last dozen years or so. After suffering from cyclical depression since the age of 12, it gave me, at long last, the gift of emotional normalcy. It doesn't make me happy or blissed-out or comfortably numb; it simply lets me live on a level playing field where I can experience the normal range of emotions like a normal person. I have one days and 10 days on fluoxetine, and every number in between days, too. That's how life goes. On the other hand, I don't have months of -10 or manic periods of 40. And for that I'm tremendously grateful to modern medicine.

For just over four bucks a month - that's not even a copay, that's the retail price - I interact with the world more or less like a person whose hormones don't regularly mutiny and try to make her walk the plank.

I'm a little bit sorry that I didn't realize PDaughter was ignorant of the connection between Mama's crazy pills and the thing she's heard of called Prozac. I don't like having secrets between us. Because knowledge can be hard, but secrets are so much worse.

I'll revisit the topic with her soon. I want her to understand that I don't take Prozac because I'm crazy, but because it keeps me from getting crazy. I want her to understand that there's a fair chance she's inherited a disposition to depression from me (and from her grandmother), and I don't want her to ever feel ashamed to seek treatment. We are not in control of our brain chemistry. But we can control how if affects us, thank goodness.

I want everyone who takes anti-depressants to own the commitment they've made to wellness. I want to eradicate the dim view society takes of people who rely on science to correct a deficiency of nature. Congenital normalcy should not be valued and celebrated at the expense of those who start in a different place and struggle to achieve what others experience naturally. matter where you are or how you feel, your normal is OK. And if it's not OK with you, you totally have my support to make it better for you.

Protip: Prozac is awesome.


  1. No judgements from this end :)

  2. Years ago...when baby girl was born...I had a bout (one of several) with depression. The dr put me on Zoloft, and back then they had the commercial with the cute little rock that was moving along all sad and mopey. My son (4 at the time) saw the box and quickly pointed out that I must be depressed. That was super awkward (those darn precocious kids we have). I have had my ups and downs since then but never been one to hide my issues. I have always hoped my openness might help someone else feel safe about seeking help.

  3. I've been off and on antidepressants for 20 year. I always come back. I remember hiding my prozac in a jewelry box at school so that my roommate (and by extension my entire sorority) didn't know I was depressed. Uh, I'm pretty sure they knew anyway.

    I love my happy pills. LOVE.

    Although recently, I've been "forgetting" to take them. I need to get on that.

  4. My oncologist put me on Zoloft. It's annoying that some people will say, "Oh, well, you had something to be depressed about", as though those who suffer from depression don't. It made me realize there's no difference between depression and, say, rheumatoid arthritis. In both the body turns on itself; something is out of balance. And often there aren't visible symptoms of RA. When someone has it we take their word for it that they're in pain. Why should depression--or for that matter any mental illness--be regarded differently?

    I never realized it before but the one benefit to wall-to-wall drug advertising may be that every condition is treated the same. Social anxiety disorder is no different from an overactive bladder. Both make riding the bus difficult.

  5. Count me among the long-term depressives. My 18 year old is a ball of anxieties, so he has his own. Around here, the call is "have you taken your drugs today?". Stability is a good thing, however it is attained.


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