Digest, 7/30/2022: In the Gloaming
the fifty-eighth digest post
The Giver starts up in the Book Club this Wednesday. No reading assignment due then, I’ll have an introduction post up. This one will probably take us less than a month so if you haven’t done a Book Club this is a good chance to jump in.
Please check out this podcast I did with Brian Chau where we really get into the big-picture trends of politics and culture.
This Week’s Posts
Monday, July 25th - Be a Writer or Don’t Be One
One of the easiest ways to ensure your own unhappiness is to never firmly commit to something but to never abandoned it either.
A widely misinterpreted meta-analysis has many singing the same old time.
Wednesday, July 27th - Sometimes, You Just Have to Take a Fucking L
Thursday, July 28th - Going Through It
A lovely meditation on postpartum depression by our guest columnist Phoebe.
From the Archives
Song of the Week
This song is about the Heaven’s Gate cult.
Non-Garbage Online Reading
I’ve been really moved by this addiction and recovery Substack and I urge you to check it out yourselves.
Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood, 2004
I am on record as not being a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, as I find it a little on-the-nose and even lazy. But Oryx and Crake I find to be a more mature and more narratively compelling portrayal of an awful future. It’s an immediately post-apocalyptic tale, a story of lost friendship and the possibility of love among the ruins. Handmaid’s Tale is really just a showcase for a world, a depiction of a particularly unhappy future for our world, whereas this book has a stronger story and a better payoff. And don’t worry - the men in this one are pieces of shit too.
Comment of the Week
This is a topic where it’s difficult to find nuance. I have a lot of sympathies for the skeptic side on this, and it’s not because I think people should just bootstrap out of their mental illness, it’s because I’ve been personally harmed by this theory.
In my experience taking SSRIs for non-debilitating anxiety and depression: I got prescribed them after a 10-minute chat with my GP, they only helped for a few months, but going off them was a nightmare that caused the only severe psychiatric symptoms I’ve experienced in my life. No doctors would help me except to suggest reinstating the drug, often citing the same chemical imbalance theory — if it’s been out of vogue for years, I guess they didn’t get the message.
My therapist admitted to me that she couldn’t say how common my experience was, because there is a lack of quality studies about SSRI withdrawal. So for me, this “vibe shift” about medication is a good thing, because I feel that people who were hurt by these drugs or didn’t find them effective have been ignored by mainstream medicine.
I also have a family member with schizophrenia, and I completely believe medication is necessary for most people with severe mental illness. But I don’t think that means I have to believe it’s necessary for the apparent 20% of white American women on SSRIs. Diagnoses of things like depression, anxiety and ADHD have exploded in recent years. I know so, so many people who take medication, yet they often still seem to be depressed. Can I be skeptical of this trend without dismissing people with severe mental illness? - Sybil
That’s it. Domani.