Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What I'm reading this week: Prozac Diary

Slater, L. (1999).  Prozac diary. New York, NY. Random House. 

I realize this makes two book reviews in a row about medication, and I promise the next one won’t be (although it is about healthcare, and then comes suicide, it is a social work blog after all).  I tend to have many books on the go at once, and I happened to finish 4 almost at the same time. 


I liked Prozac Diary.  I enjoy reading memoirs about people who have dealt with mental illness, disease, disability, abuse etc... I find that I learn a lot more from people’s stories then from any text book I’ve ever read or lecture I’ve attended.  That being  said, Prozac Diary was almost a little too “booky” for my liking.  I don’t tend to consider myself a linear thinker, but I’m beginning to think I like my books that way.  My main complaint about the book was that it jumped from past to distant past to present, and had some sections which seemed to be a bit metaphorical. 

The book talks about the author, Lauren Slater’s life as a child and then as an adult as she begins taking Prozac before Prozac became a “thing”.  After spending time in hospitals and trying a variety of the other medications out there, Slater finds that Prozac is her “answer”.  Almost immediately after starting Prozac, the author begins to find relief from her overwhelming OCD symptoms.  She no longer has to wash her hands multiple times or perform rituals simply to get out of bed.  Despite her doctor’s assurance that Prozac could not be working so quickly, Slater knows it has changed her life forever. 


By exploring Slater’s childhood, the reader learns that Slater’s issues began at a young age and were not precipitated by any one event.  However, it is easy to see how the author’s family constellation had an effect on her emotional wellbeing.  Through 10 years of Prozac we see Slater experience drug poop out, the party scene, a PhD and meeting the man of her dreams. 


While the book isn’t exciting exactly, it provides a nice middle ground, an “average” experience on anti-depressants one might say.  At the end of the book, Slater isn’t cured, and she still takes those little pills while struggling with the ups and downs of life and mental illness.  While it wasn’t my favourite, it’s definitely worth looking into if you or a client is struggling with the idea of taking medication long term. 



therapydoc said...

We like these kinds of reviews.

cb said...

I read this years ago. Nice to be reminded. I think I'd probably look at it differently if I read it now.!