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To Fix or to HealPatient Care, Public Health, and the Limits of Biomedicine$
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Joseph E. Davis and Ana Marta Gonzalez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479878246

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479878246.001.0001

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The Problem of Suffering in the Age of Prozac

The Problem of Suffering in the Age of Prozac

A Case Study of the Depression Memoir

(p.63) 2 The Problem of Suffering in the Age of Prozac
To Fix or to Heal

Christina Simko

NYU Press

Personal stories about depression and anti-depressants have become a ubiquitous facet of American culture. Such depression memoirs represent a crucial forum for grappling with the problem of suffering; they also illuminate the narrative templates people utilize in the face of depression. An analysis of the literature shows both the increasing salience of the biomedical model for depression, and also the various ways it is co-opted into the project of recasting the self in light of mental illness. Much as biomedical language runs through the pages of these memoirs, so do broader narrative templates, such as spiritual discovery and therapeutic self-reconstruction. Collectively, these narratives represent an enduring effort to find sense in suffering: to work with and around the biomedical model in order to find a place for depression in a meaningful self-narrative.

Keywords:   depression memoirs, pathography, Prozac Diary, William Styron, problem of suffering, narratives of the self, antidepressant medication, identity/self, diagnosis

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