generallyanxious.com

Prozac Nation, by Elizabeth Wurtzel – excerpt #2

 

It was like sawdust, the unhappiness: it infiltrated everything, everything was a problem, everything made her cry – school, homework, boyfriends, the future, the lack of future, the uncertainty of future, fear of future, fear in general – but it was so hard to say exactly what the problem was in the first place. -Melanie Thernstrom, The Dead Girl


This quote resonated with me. After years of trying several SSRIs, therapy, journaling, supplements and lifestyle changes while the anxiety only seemed to increase, I found myself thinking about water – and how it can flow into every nook and cranny, no matter what preventative measures you take to stop it – it flows in and does its damage.

 

Prozac Nation, by Elizabeth Wurtzel – excerpt #1

 

You see, until I really cracked up, at ten or eleven or twelve or whenever it was, you most certainly would have described me as, well, as full of promise. That term is loaded with irony to me now because I know how false that appearance of promise is. I know how much latent discontent and sorrow that visible determination can mask, but still I am sure that at one time there was a ruddiness in my cheeks, a beaming excitedness in my eyes that suggested so much posibility. I was an astronaut who was going to fly so high, so far beyond the moon, so far beyond the whole wide world. But then I never had to worry about a crash landing because I never even took off.

 

A Beautiful Mind, by Akiva Goldsman, based on the biography by Sylvia Nassar

 

A Beautiful Mind is a based on John Nash, a brilliant mathematician and Nobel Laureate in Economics. After a series of debilitating episodes, Nash is eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.

This movie provides powerful insight into a devastating mental disorder and the affect it has on loved ones. Also, the character shows a healthy example of making light of his situation – something that’s not easy, but very admirable. I highly recommend watching this movie if you haven’t.

For the sake of space, I will only highlight a few parts of the script.

This is a scene between Nash and his wife, Alicia. Nash is discouraged with his ability to cope with schizophrenia on his own. He references Rosen, the psychiatrist that diagnosed him and who feels he should continue care under his supervision.

NASH
Rosen was right. I can’t do-

ALICIA
Maybe try again tomorrow.

This might seem simple. But for someone who is struggling day-to-day just to live, the idea that you are allowed to put a day full of failures behind you and start over tomorrow is incredibly reassuring. I love her character for saying that line.

Nash makes major headway when he faces his delusions head-on. Here, he specifically confronts Charles, his roommate at Princeton he discovers isn’t real. Facing your fears isn’t easy. I believe what he does here takes an incredible amount of strength.

CHARLES
You can’t ignore me forever.

NASH
You were a good friend to me. The best. But I won’t talk to you again.

In this scene, Nash is questioned by his graduate school friend, Milnor, about the state of his delusions.

MILNOR
What about, you know… Are they gone?

NASH
Oh no, they’re not gone. Maybe they’ll never be.

NASH
But I’ve gotten used to ignoring them. And I think, as a result, they’ve kind of given up on me. Do you think that’s the way it is with our dreams and nightmares? That we have to keep feeding them for them to stay alive?

MILNOR
But they haunt you?

NASH
They’re my past, Martin. Everybody’s haunted by their past.

In this scene, you see his delusions – the characters that only exist in his mind – all still with him. And yet he’s living his life, moving forward. I picture those imagined characters when anxiety hits me. Instead of letting myself think “Oh no, not again, not after all these years of dealing with this!”, I try to accept it and think about moving forward as best I can.