For years, I had resisted going on any sort of anti-depressant. When Prozac first came out it developed a sort of chic reputation, followed by a time when it was very unfashionable, then becoming vogue again. At least, I think that was the case. I really only had a vague notion of it’s dithering public perception, but that was enough to turn me off, as I try to avoid doing anything that seems extremely, moderately, or not at all trendy.

The other reason I didn’t try it is because I already take enough pills a day. The pharmaceutical companies already have an extreme financial interest in the majority of my body. But my brains… them’s mine. It always seemed to me as if these mood enhancement drugs change who you are. They rose questions of identity and the light philosophical definition of self. I figured I would rather be miserable than alter my personality. But then I figured a few months ago, you only live once, so you might as well be doped up.

I came to this conclusion from after a few occurrences. A movie I recommended to a friend as a “great comedy” made her cry (Todd Solondz’s Happiness). I became despondent for a week after benching the wrong players in a fantasy football league. And I began to spend a lot of my afternoons listening to Icelandic trance while watching Family Feud on mute. In my opinion, the latter is actually quite fun as it allows you to guess the original survey question according to the answers that pop up on the board. Still, my doctor thought this was a perfectly good reason to put me on Prozac.

In fact, after asking me if I wanted to talk to a psychologist before trying medication and I told him I didn’t want to talk to anyone, he hastily wrote a prescription. One thing he warned me about were the sexual side effects that made achieving orgasm a prolonged process, although that was “rarely a problem for young guys like me”. The inference was that he had confidence my new stamina would make me a certified fuck machine. Deep down, though, I knew I would soon be lying in bed having just disappointed my girlfriend (again) and my doctor.

After our appointment he dropped me off at the nurses desk and headed back down the hall when he turned around and said, “The Prozac usually takes two weeks to see results.” Only he put his hands around his mouth like he was making a bird call and whispered when he said “Prozac”. I realized there might be a social stigma attached to the drug and he was trying to save me the embarrassment. I wasn’t embarrassed in the least, but I felt compelled to tell the nurse “I’ve got a rash…” before handing her my co-pay and leaving.

After two weeks of nothing, I coincidentally had an appointment with another doctor who, after learning I was on the antidepressant, asked me if “I believed in it”. This immediately signified to me that Prozac is really nothing but a placebo that only works if the patient “believes” it will. Needless to say, even if it isn’t, there was no way it was going to help now that I thought I knew what I had no way of knowing. The only effects I noticed after two months were the sexual ones my physician had mentioned, but at all the wrong times. My “special alone time” is too much work, now, which makes me even more depressed.

I switched over to Paxil yesterday. As far antidepressants that start with “P” and contain a weird letter in the middle, it is definitely one of them. I will write all about it later