Historian David Herzberg chronicle derives of pharmaceuticals used for treating depression. His book, Happy Pills forwards a bold claim that it was people's actions and not the drugs themselves that produced the dramatic transformations in American medicine, commerce, and culture that have reshaped the very meaning of identity since World War II. By people, Herzberg means nearly everybody, including individuals who sought to better their mental health, physicians, corporate executives, advertisers, journalists, and activists. Surely there are individuals who suffer from depression and we need remember this, surely depression is a thing. What Herzberg is asserting is that feelings of depression and what one does or does not do about them is not an unmediated experience, rather distressing feelings and thoughts, especially confusing and unexpected ones, are shaped also by cultural ideals, medical knowledge, popular media, and everyday conversations about ourselves and others. In this class, we will explore how people's experiences, attitudes, and actions regarding depression are more fully understood in terms of these mediating factors. We'll consider how certain groups of persons were more directly affected, and some persons were less affected, the poor and the racial minorities. We will conclude by examining one person's lived experience with depression and the pharmaceutical treatment she underwent. First, let's look at some anti-depressant advertisements, and there are a few of them, so we'll go through them. As you will see, the promoters promised more than the alleviation of depressive symptoms. They promised empowerment and I'm using their words, peace, playfulness, sunshine, others vow well-being and productive days. All conditions venerated in our culture, yet all are beyond what it means to be without depression. It is worth reflecting on whether these aspirations on end and striving for some exalted perfection of modern life might themselves kindle depressive feelings. Commercial messages do more than sell cultural ideals, however, unrealizable they are. They also importantly educate us about our experiences, the names we should give to these experiences, and what we should do next. These pharmaceutical companies image announcement is decidedly educational. It informed readers of what depression is and even enumerated its chief symptoms. Government messages carried similar warnings illustrated in this 1991 poster by the National Institute of Medicine. More implicit education was given in media reports. According to 2002 Wall Street Journal article, even as readers became ever aware of drug pictures, they still feel edgy and seek remedy. In the first-class on depression, we reviewed some media titles, each informing readers to guard for sadness, lest they risk serious consequences. Readers are also encouraged to seek happiness. Such instructive articles on low feeling, sadness, depression, and means to eradicate them have become regular features across all media from newsprint to the Internet. This information about what it means to be depressed and what to do about it typically compliments scientific reports. I want to introduce a theory about how kinds of people and kinds of experiences are made up through elaborate circulations of information, especially the psychological sciences. Kinds of people are made up, yet we must remember they are still very real. Philosopher Ian Hacking developed a theory that delineates a looping between our experiences, scientific knowledge, and culture. Hacking writes, "To create new ways of classifying people is also to change how we can think of ourselves, to change our sense of self-worth, and even how we remember our past. This in turn generates a looping effect, because people of the kind behave differently and so are different. That is to say the kind changes, and so there is new causal knowledge to be gained and perhaps, old causal knowledge to be jettisoned." Hacking holds that these kinds are not simply confected, made up. They are real. Rather new ways of thinking and acting arise hand-in-hand with new scientific projects that classify and describe them. The resulting scientific knowledge then gives people new information about themselves, changing how we can think of ourselves. In turn, thinking differently about oneself often leads to changes in how we behave. Let's take a simple example. A person is distressed by negative thoughts, sleep disturbances and withdrawal from much of life. They learn and formed that they suffer from major depression. Reflecting on this classification of themselves, they come to think differently about themselves. All these distressing experiences come to be understood as connected in a pattern that is a disorder. It is a disorder that can and indeed should be worked on by taking the remedies made available. Thus, their actions change along with self understandings. Had they for instance, being a form that they will experience melancholy or grief, both of which are believed to resolve on their own over time and both prompted by notable loss, they might very well come to think and act in very different ways. Let's turn to consider a council of persons who are diagnosed or self-identified as suffering clinical depression. The leading psychologists of his time, William James, described his periodic feelings of deep despondency. Overcoming those depressive feelings he claimed were acquired a promethean act of will. That prescription willpower for alleviating depression is rarely seen today. Other strategies emerged over the 20th century. The growing awareness of depression a number of people identified as suffering, has resulted in many reports of lived experiences. The writers have drawn upon ideas quite unlike James, to describe their lives. Not surprisingly, most publicly available accounts of depression have been those made by the famous. For instance, authors Sylvia Plath and Franz Kafka, artists Georgia Kyiv and Charlie Lingus and politician Winston Churchill all recounted suffering. More recently, media personalities have written memoirs of their experiences with depression. If you google famous people with depression, you will recognize many of the names that appear. Close examination of memoirs finds that many of them are manifestos against biological determinism. Well, they draw on biological models to support their feelings of being ill. These writers find a biological explanations do not capture how complex socially, culturally and personally depression is. Many of these writers also are ambivalent about the reigning treatments for depression. Research lens further evidence of this ambivalence. Random samples of people draw upon brain-based models to explain depression. Yet they hold notions of self-repair and personal responsibility when they describe recovery. Of course not everyone who has taken biological treatments for depression is ambivalent. We can conclude this meeting with a case of someone who narrated the benefits of drug treatment as a recent college graduate, Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote Prozac Nation. A detailed chronicle of her life threatening depressive experiences and the salvation afforded by taking the antidepressant Prozac. Published in 1994, just seven years after Prozac was marketed, worth so painstakingly described taking the drug. Writing, I became all right, safe in my own skin. It happened just like that. One morning I woke up and I really did want to live, really look forward to greeting the day, imagined errands to run phone calls to return, and what was not a feeling of great dread. Despite the exhilaration of what she experienced as a life regained Wurtzel was cautious. In the epilogue to the book, she admitted that, and I quote her "After six years on Prozac, I know that it is not the end but the beginning. Mental health is so much more complicated than any peel that any mortal could invent." Depression indeed has come to become a complicated empire. Today we surveyed lived experiences with depression. Our ventor took note of the ways that the experience of depression is mediated by media, advertisements and cultural values. We examined a theory that describes how psychological kinds, both normal and not, are generated through dynamic feedback. Loops between people's experiences, science and popular knowledge. Our final class on depression will move to reflect on depression and its underlying human values as a 20th century phenomenon.