Book Review (by me, published in MIA): Lauren Slater’s Blue Dreams

Here is the link to my article, just published. Feel free to share in your social networks!

Still Seeking a Chemical Cure After All These Years: Lauren Slater’s Blue Dreams

Are you anxious? Do you pull your hair out? Do you take a Prozac-like drug?

I am not going to say when this was, but I recall I sat in a room a while back with a bunch of folks, all of whom were supposedly coping with some sort of thing they called “depression.” I was there and sure felt like I didn’t belong, since I didn’t feel particularly depressed, but figured I might as well show up. I thought maybe I could help other people and in doing so, this “group” thing wouldn’t be an entire waste of my time. However, I decided to end my participation rather quickly after a short while.

My observation? I had no tolerance for sitting in a group of the most fidgety people I’ve ever seen. I’ve worked with both preschoolers and special needs kids from grade school up to high school age, and none were as fidgety and nervous as the folks on SSRI antidepressants. I was a nanny and cared for seven kids at a time, even seven kids who were at times hungry or cranky or acting up while I was trying to drive a car, and they, too, were NEVER this fidgety. You’d think I was in a room of the absolute “worst” kids labeled with behavior problems you’d ever seen (I said “labeled,” didn’t I? The label makes the kid….until he is allowed to be otherwise….I was that kid, remember?).

Anyway, you know what was making everyone fidget? The damn SSRI pills! You wouldn’t believe what I saw. So people were doing hair-pulling, scab-picking, and the like. To stop themselves from this obnoxious behavior, they’d play with clay throughout the group or hold onto Teddy bears. Yes, these were fully grown adults. They were so convinced that they had “anxiety” and “needed” more pills, or they had “OCD” and therefore “needed” more pills. It was so sad, and I couldn’t stand seeing those people fidget constantly. The childish behavior was annoying the heck out of me. I have no clue how the “staff” could tolerate watching it without pulling their own hair out by the end of the day.