By Parker Cilia
Now that all living primates—including every single ape, monkey and human—have acknowledged they suffer from anxiety and depression, other forms of life are coming forward to tell of their own struggles with these twin demons of earthly existence. Next week, single-celled organisms from around the world will gather at the Minneapolis Convention Center to address the challenges of mental illness in their own communities.
“We need to confront the hateful tyrants in our tiny heads,” said Cheryl Waters-Mudbottom, a paramecium from a mid-sized swamp 40 miles southeast of Harrisburg, Penn. “Protozoa and microbial life in general have ignored or denied the seriousness of anxiety and depression. Rather than talk openly about our pain, we force a smile and float or paddle by one another, careful not to brush against the other’s cell membrane.”
An issue certain to be discussed and debated at the convention will be the recent, near-total reliance of protozoa on medication to treat anxiety and depression. A poll of microbial life, released Monday, showed that 91 percent of amoeba and 94 percent of paramecium take an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) such as Prozac or Zoloft, common antidepressants used to treat both depression and anxiety.
“We’re handing out prescriptions as if they were caramel corn,” said David Oozeman, a unicellular psychiatrist who later admitted that the comparison was not apt, considering that his patients don’t eat caramel corn. “I was thinking of people when I said it. My bad.”
Anita Bogmuck, best-selling author of “Singled-Celled, Single-Minded,” is scheduled to speak at the convention on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at www.amoebaspeak.micro.org