Penguins on Prozac

Maybe you heard the same news this morning on public radio that I did while driving to work: a rookery of our petite tuxedoed friends are on Prozac.

It turns out that some of us in the animal kingdom need a little help to keep those feet happy. The thing is, I bet you a million Olympic gold medals that the penguins on Prozac feel no shame, stigma or guilt about being on anti-depressants.

Instead, they are feeling pretty good. In fact, they are feeling great. This winter weather with its lack of sunshine, not to mention ungodly temperatures, has got the birds feeling depressed. With the help of anti-depressants, their mood has noticeably improved.

It’s no secret that everybody knows somebody who depends on medication to improve their mental health. Yet we hide this fact and pretend not to know or notice. We speak in hushed tones about changes in our meds, side effects, and lapses in taking them.

I don’t take anti-depressants now, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future. Just like some people may consider themselves free of disability now, it doesn’t mean they won’t some day become disabled.

Perhaps the pill popping penguins can teach us something about what it means to be human.

Just because our happy feet might need a little Prozac to put pep in our step, doesn’t mean we are less than those lucky ones who come by a sunny disposition naturally.

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