When the author began taking Prozac in 1988 she was 26 and had already struggled for over a decade with hospitalizations, suicide attempts, anorexia, and self-mutilation resulting from a variety of mental illnesses, obsessive-compulsive disorder the most recent among them. The newly released drug liberated her from debilitating anxiety and pain even as it raised unsettling questions about her own identity, as she had always been defined by her afflictions. "The world as I had known it my whole life did not seem to exist," writes Slater in a characteristically incisive sentence. She was happier, but she found it difficult to write without the inner voices that had sparked her fevered creativity; even the philosophy books she had once loved now seemed irrelevant to her newly healthy state. With utter candor (even about her dampened sexuality) and a surprising amount of humor, Slater chronicles the ups and downs of life on Prozac. A nightmarish relapse when the dosage suddenly proves inadequate ("Prozac poop-out") ultimately helps her discover inner resources to combat her illness in conjunction with the medication. She finds new love and a better understanding of her past; she avoids the equally unrealistic extremes of Prozac boosters who ignore the drug's costs and doomsayers who depict it creating a generation of zombies. Slater's balanced final assessment is voiced, as usual, in exact, lyrical prose: "This is Prozac's burden and gift, keeping me alive to the most human of questions, bringing me forward, bringing me back, swaddling and unswaddling me, pushing me to ask which wrappings are real.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (September 1, 1999)
Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
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