Elizabeth Wurtzel
Prozac Nation

Lord of the Rings soundtrack



Friday 22 February 2002

no, not really

I went to a laundromat and did my laundry today. I consider this a major accomplishment, to get myself together enough to gather up the clothes strewn around my apartment, cart them down the street, wash, dry and haul them back up to my little castle in the sky and sit on the floor and fold them while watching Ricki Lake.

I also cleaned my apartment, unpacked a few more boxes, hung scarves for curtains and made use of the few nails that the previous tenant had left in the walls to hang around pictures and posters. So now things are at least bearable here. The only thing that remain homeless is my massive cd collection, taking up almost four boxes. I need to go to Ikea and get a new case for them.

I reread Prozac Nation, again, while my clothes were washing. The first time I read it, I was horrified and shook my head and thanked goodness I wasn't like that. Denial? I don't know. Now I read it and find a mirror for my experience. One thing stood out, though, as I skimmed the familiar passages. She quoted the book Understanding Depression:

"Atypical depressives are people who respond positively to good things that happen to them, are able to enjoy simple pleasures like food and sex, and tend to oversleep and overeat. Their depression, which is chronic rather than periodic and which usually dates from adolescence, largely shows itself in lack of energy and interest, lack of initiative, and a great sensitivity to periodic - particularly romantic - rejection."

And that is me to a tee. It's almost scary how right on it is.

I wonder how long I've been depressed, sometimes. I wonder if that's something that can even be measured. When I was in third grade and playing on the playground, and my friends and I all told each other how much we weighed, and I was a good twenty pounds more than anyone else, was I depressed then? When I cheated on that math test in fourth grade and was caught, was I depressed? Were those appointments with the guidance counselor in fifth grade a figment of my imagination or is the memory real, made foggy by a decade? Was I damanged goods from the start? Did I not even have a fighting chance? Was I doomed from the outset? I want to go back and find all the people that knew me then, and have them refresh my memory. How was I really, then? How much of this did I make up or forget?

How much have I lost to my own mind? What have I missed?


I went to a pyschatrist on Wednesday morning. I drove down the familiar route of 63-476-76 and got off at Girard. I then spent the next 35 minutes trying to find a parking space on Main campus. At around 11:20, already 20 minutes late, I considered just driving home and diving in my bed and crying about my inability to even get help. But I found a parking space, and walked into Tuttleman exactly 29 minutes late, and collapsed, exhausted, onto a chair and mindlessly flipped through Vogue.

I don't even remember anything about the appointment. I felt like I was talking into a void, like I was talking, again, just for the sake of hearing my own voice and filling up the emptiness of that little suffocating room. The couch was plaid and way too cushy, and I sunk far into it. I think he was listening, but he kept glancing at the clock. I kept glancing at the clock. He made notes and asked me the usual questions. He made me an appointment for a couple weeks from now.

As he was entering my appointment in his computer, he turned back to me, and asked, sounding rather embarassed, "What was your name again?"

I stared at him for a moment before replying. "Bethany." I spelled out my last name for him, too. Such a problem people have with my last name, and it's only five fucking letters.

And he showed me the door, and followed me out of the office, and quickly dashed up the stairs ahead of me, to go to the bathroom, I presume. At any rate, Bethany was already forgotten and out of his mind. I felt raw again, like I had let myself lie naked and vulnerable in front of yet another person who didn't give a damn. I felt like I had been mentally raped. Everything I had feared about counseling was coming true. I did not want this.

I haven't been doing anything with my art. I've stared and read and analyzed and erased and sketched again, but everything looks ugly, still. I've been to all my classes but been a non-presence in all of them. Cottonhead again. I talk to people and I think they're getting sick of my misery. They're sick of me talking about killing myself, they're sick of me looking miserable and blank and stupid, of dropping hints that I need to talk to someone, anyone. I've used up all my friends. Julie looked at me last night, out at the wood fire kiln, and said, "You complain a lot, you know that?"

Yep, that's it. My life is one long complaint.