Dazed Comfort

“Is the “serotonin hypothesis” of depression really dead? Have we spent nearly 40 years heading down one path only to find ourselves no closer to answering the question how and why we become depressed? Must we now start from scratch and find a new theory for depression?”

I found myself reading a 2012 article by Siddhartha Mukherjee on the popularity and problems of Prozac and similar anti-depressants. I can’t tell what made me Google Prozac or reach this particular article…but I did. Maybe it’s all that I am watching and reading, wherein pills and an abundance of intoxicants are recurring motifs. I’ve never tried a pill, but I know those who have. And I have chosen the simpler means to numbness more than once myself. They present themselves as a way out of aches and pains…but when I think about it, the final effect is not one of relief, but of a strange ironical state of being. One isn’t lifted out of his/her pain—indeed it emerges more prominently—but is gripped by a complete lack of feeling. One takes comfort in knowing that troubles exist but need not be felt, not in that moment.

And as the stupor begins to wane, we crawl our way back to it.

Perhaps we are just a depressed species, which likes to convince itself—in its more optimistic moments—that its ideal state is happiness.


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