The Times on Antidepressant Withdrawal

Glad this issue is getting some attention, from the press and from the scientific community.

I have friends who have gone through monstrous withdrawal experiences from these drugs. I have friends whose lives the drugs have dramatically improved.

Antidepressants have: done nothing to improve my life; improved my life; exacted significant tolls upon my life in exchange for improving it; wrecked my body without improving my life; asked me to weigh their benefits against their costs; led me to stop and restart and change dosage and change meds and abandon them and thank the gods for them over the last decade and a half; been prescribed in informed-sounding ways; been prescribed with serious discussion of withdrawal; been prescribed as if a lighthearted jaunt through a casino; been prescribed as if methodically combing a troubleshooting guide; led me to avoid them for the better part of a decade; made me functional enough to complete graduate school despite not feeling enough like myself to enjoy as much of the experience as I thought I would; made me functional enough to complete my first and last year of full-time college teaching though I didn’t enjoy that experience much either.

There is nothing redeeming or good about depression. I’m glad science has given us antidepressants–sometimes they help. Sometimes they save lives. Sometimes they repair people. Sometimes they make the unbearable more bearable and life more livable.

I have serious problems with how antidepressants are prescribed so often right now that it seems as if our culture would rather medicate away how guts-crushingly shitty everything is than to do the work of fixing the large-scale social problems that make so many people depressed, hopeless, suicidal, and unable to imagine surviving another day.

This is not everyone’s story. There are many depressions, many flavors, many sources, many treatments.

I’m glad we are, culturally, starting to look at the back end of depression and antidepressants, to try and make this thing–treatment, product, drug, addiction, boon, burden, mess–that already asks so much of people one day ask less.

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One thought on “The Times on Antidepressant Withdrawal

  1. Hey — searched for you online, found you on the sundress page, which brought me here. Congrats on the publication! I read a poem you wrote called Vapor that was really fucking cool. Hang in there on the work front — yes, academia is racing towards oblivion. I’m trying to become an anthropologist right now, and the endgame beyond the degree looks pretty bleak lolz. At any rate, really glad youre still filling this world with ideas. I often think back to Scott and High days! Was amazing to riff on cool ideas with close friends, so few obligations, and to be so extremely high all the time. Keep on persisting. Idk if you find misanthropy cathartic, but I recently discovered Flaubert and it’s like going to church

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