Thursday, February 16, 2012

Willa Goodfellow's Prozac Monologues: Still Going Strong

I’ve been telling people for years that my beat covers everything from God to neurons. A month or two ago, I incorporated “From God to Neurons” into the subtitle of Knowledge is Necessity. In mid-2009, I had the pleasure of discovering online the other person on the planet blogging from God to neurons, Willa Goodfellow (pictured here).

Willa was only a few months into her vastly wise and funny and totally unique Prozac Monologues. My hypomanic delight over my find was muted by my ever-faithful depressive realism. As I put it in a review at the time:

"Promising bloggers have an unfortunate tendency to burn out, so I urge all of you to drop a comment on her blog site offering encouragement. To Willa: It's very easy for bloggers to get discouraged, particularly when dealing with depression. But clearly we need you. Stick with it."

Willa stuck with it, and we established a great online friendship. Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting her face-to-face at the NAMI national convention in Chicago. Think of below as a Willa sampler from the past several months. Enjoy, then check her out for real ...

Yes, we ARE getting sicker.  We live in times that make us sick.  We struggle to pay bills while our bosses speed up the assembly line.  Those of us who don't get laid off can't quit, because we can't afford health insurance.  Our support systems, extended family, neighborhoods, religious communities, social organizations - the buffers of stress - have been ripped away, replaced by reality TV and Facebook hysteria.


Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Live a good and honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around.


... This is why, if your antidepressant works for you, you are just plain lucky.  It happens to treat the problem in your particular brain.  Most of the time, it treats somebody else's problem.


While God was blessing Tim Tebow's hard work on Sunday afternoon, 720 children around the world died of hunger.  270 people committed suicide.  Two of them, by the way, were veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

That was before overtime.  Good thing overtime was short, huh?

So on Monday morning, nearly 1000 mothers were asking, If God could help Tim complete that pass, couldn't he have paid some attention to my child?  Billions still listen for their answer.


For the Israelites, the Babylonian Exile resulted in an explosion of creativity, poetry, philosophy, history, new forms of worship, the legal code, and the development of a religion that was larger than their prior notions of land=success=God's favor.  They came up with a religion that could handle exile, handle loss.  It could travel and face the future.

Their brains found new patterns. ...


I'm into changing my brain.  In that mass of electrical wiring, some potentially healthy pathways are blocked by the detritus of dead dendrites.  Other destructive pathways are carved into canyons of well-worn automatic responses.

Changing my brain will take time.  It is taking decades.  It will take at least another blogpost.


From the Damned-If-You-Do-And-Damned-If-You-Don't Department, the medications for schizophrenia and bipolar mostly reduce the positive symptoms (delusions in the case of schizophrenia, high energy in bipolar - the symptoms that scare your families and your care providers who write the prescriptions).  They tend to increase the negative symptoms (thereby relieving the anxieties of your families and your care providers who write the prescriptions), providing that synergistic effect that nails you to the sofa.


Evidently inspired by Fox News, Merry Christmas is no longer an expression of joy and good cheer, but a battle cry against the First Amendment and the great American experiment of freedom and tolerance of difference.


Inevitably, certain symptoms get more attention than others.  Psychiatrists are not concerned when patients sleep too much, do an astounding amount of work in three days or die twenty-five years before our natural lifespan due to complications of obesity, as long as we don't have hallucinations or delusions or try to end our misery by self-harm.

It's all about the descriptors, and how nervous they make people. ...

It's like, the DSM tells you what color the car is and how many cup holders it has.  Big Pharma has made a lot of money tinkering with the placement of the cup holders.  Meanwhile, what patients want to know and what scientists actually are working on nowadays is, what's under the hood?


Mahatma Gandhi was not the first freedom fighter.  But he is the great theoretician.  He gave us the map.

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.

Four simple steps.  The good news -- we have already taken the first.  Got that one down pat.

Go to Prozac Monologues ...

1 comment:

Willa Goodfellow said...

Thank you, John. You can take credit for the jumpstart and then the encouragement that keeps me blogging though the hard times. So can anyone who comments on my blog. Mental illness takes a lot away from us. It took from me a job in which I knew I was making a difference. Prozac Monologues gave that back to me, and I am proud of it. I am also very glad for the friendship that it sparked.