Severe Depression by Carmen

June 1, 2004

I am bound.
By what, I cannot tell
But it will not let me go.
I fight against it
But the struggle only suffocates me.
I cannot escape these bandages,
I am weighed down.
A feeling of total helplessness has descended over me
And taken control.
Nothing I do will ease the pain.

Written in March 1995 when I was 17.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

June 1, 2004

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar was first published in 1963 a few weeks before Sylvia Plath committed suicide. The book tells the story of a young college student’s descent into depression, her experiences with psychiatrists and life in an asylum. Plath describes brilliantly feelings I
have had of insecurity, tiredness, inability to cope with everyday life, needing to cry all the time and more. Plath was a poet who wrote hundreds of poems but the Bell Jar was her only novel which I think was a shame because it is really very good and very funny and wry at times. It is a shame Plath lived in a time before anti-depressants. Instead she was one of the many people who took their lives to escape the pain they found in everyday life.When I read The Bell Jar early this year I could see why Prozac Nation was compared with it upon its release in 1995. Both books were about a woman’s experiences of depression and were written by intelligent women who described how they felt and commented on their place in society as a woman.

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

June 1, 2004

Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America, A Memoir by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Prozac Nation covers Elizabeth Wurtzel’s battle with chronic depression from prepuberty to her midtwenties when she started taking Prozac. While some people may find it very heavy-going, I devoured this book in a couple of days when I could barely talk to the people around me. I understood what she was saying, all the feelings and doubts and failings. While my depression has never been as severe as Wurtzel’s I felt like she described really well the all-consuming, heavy cloud you feel when you are depressed. The all-consuming feeling (which you can’t tell if it’s physical, mental or emotional) that hinders your ability to do even the smallest thing, to cope with everyday life. It’s the kind of book you could recommend to people who just don’t get depression because I think she explains it really well, but as it’s over 300 pages some people may find a lot of it too long and self-indulgent. This has often been hailed as a great book that gave voice to many sufferers of depression and I think I agree.