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Is It Depression Or Intelligence?

So I just started taking Prozac. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. Calmer, for sure. But not comfortable.

It took a lot for me to admit I need help. Not only did I have bad experiences when I was younger, but I always felt that antidepressants drowned out the truth. Sadness comes with questioning things. But then my therapist fired me, my boyfriend threatened to dump me, and I was lying around smoking weed all night until dawn. I was out of options.

Prozac’s actually making me feel better. I don’t have this subconscious feeling of doom rising up anymore. I remember a short period of time where I couldn’t come up with anything to worry about. That alone made me anxious. Right now the worry is still there but there’s a few other things in front of it.

I like having a clearer mind. I do. I feel like a whole new world of possibilities opened up.

But there’s bad things about this too. You don’t ever want to be too pacified. I was taking 20 mg for a couple of weeks and it numbed me out. I was more stable than I am now. But it wasn’t worth that gradual erosion of my life impulse.

Now I take 10mg every other day. It feels right. I’ve been getting out of bed right away, going to the gym, and moving more seamlessly from activity to activity than I have for a couple of years. My emotional faculties are mostly intact. But I don’t dwell. And I’m still wondering if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Progress is made by people who dwell. You have to feel the problem to fix it. It has to haunt you. You think the Wright Brothers were just placidly sitting there like “Heh. Check this out, son.” No. They wanted to fly.

Emotion is the impetus for action. Logic just helps you plan it out better. You can have an IQ of 175 and it ain’t shit without feelings.

Depression is pretty common in smart people. It won’t let us run from the truth. Once you start looking at things objectively they’re pretty grim. Society and even evolution itself are diametrically opposed to individuals. There’s so many people out there who just cannot fucking tolerate that others are different from them. Progress depends on these people.

Oh, and then there’s mortality. Every day we gain more knowledge and every day leaves us with less time to use it. And as things stand, we can do nothing about it.

Also, I’m 29. The world’s not fresh anymore. I’m bored.

But I’ve never been one of those writers who’s fueled by depression. I’d venture most of us aren’t. When I’m depressed I can’t do anything. But moderate depression? Intellectual melancholy? That’s gold.

Some more even-keeled people say it’s worth being a weak artist to be a happy person. I’ve never agreed with that. We all want purpose. Some find it earlier than others. Emily Bronte sinking into tuberculosis at 30 because she was done after Wuthering Heights is fine by me.

But life’s a good thing. It is. There’s always new things to experience. We need to learn to slow-release our truth so that it won’t kill us.

I don’t want to take this stuff forever. But right now my brain doesn’t seem to be able to shut anything out. There has to be a good way to integrate a sturdy, studious pessimism into our will to live. We should find that equilibrium at some point since we’re so smart.


*Image: Virginia Woolf from

Is It Depression Or Intelligence?

Gwendolyn Kansen

Gwen Kansen is a mental health writer in New York. She likes food, karaoke, and smart-but-campy books & TV. She's hoping to capture a little sliver of life on here that might not be the first thing you'd see.

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APA Reference
Kansen, G. (2016). Is It Depression Or Intelligence?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Aug 2016
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