"Titled things": Materiality and reification in antidepressant narratives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The invisibility of depression makes it difficult to diagnose, quantify, and treat. Metaphors and images of materiality attempt to communicate it, in turn making the invisible, visible. Focusing on the life writing of Lauren Slater and Elizabeth Wurtzel, this chapter focuses on the material experiences of consuming antidepressants. Ingestion of the psychotropics offer a return to the corporeal body. Going beyond the cataloguing of side effects, to the materiality of the drugs themselves, we can consider the imperceptible relationship between self and other. Alongside the emergence of a biomedical discourse, we can explore the moment of ingestion, and the relationship between the body and the pharmaceutical matter, as well as question to what extent this ritual of medication reifies the illness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe/Imagining Depression
Subtitle of host publicationCreative Approaches to “Feeling Bad”
EditorsJulie Hollenbach, Robin Alex McDonald
ISBN (Electronic)9783030805548
ISBN (Print)9783030805531
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2021


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