A grotesque computer-generated graphic covered page one of the New York Times Sunday Styles section –overflowing bottles of glossy, rainbow-colored pills– alerting readers to a piece on page 5, where Casey Schwartz mused on why sales of Adderal, Prozac, and other mood-altering pills have risen during the pandemic. A headline dubbed it “The Age of Distracti-pression,” as if increased use of pharmaceuticals is simply a function of our historic moment and not the pay-off for relentless advertising and promotion by the drug companies.
Ms. Schwartz is a journo-pusher. She begins by quoting a nurse with two small children who says, “I should have gone back on medication sooner in the pandemic than I did.” According to Schwartz the nurse “weaned herself off in time for her first pregnancy” –implying, but not saying that it was easy. When postpartum depression set in, the nurse went to a talk therapist who taught mindfulness and meditation. “After a complicated second birth,” Schwartz goes on, “she decided she needed more than just talk… She turned to Prozac again. Now, she said, ‘I’m a different person.'”