What's shocking, though, is that both St. Luke's and Meriwether charged $14,000 for a two-week stay, while Mobius charges $6,000. You can get a suite at the Ritz Carlton in Manhattan, room service, and a private nurse for the same cost as the shared room at Meriwether.
What made you decide—against medical advice—to stop taking your Prozac?
I'm always trying to wean myself off because I have bad side effects like tooth grinding, severe constipation, and a form of mania where I'm driven to spend to excess. But I also wanted to really experience the treatment as a patient, though there were times when I lost my journalist perspective in the height of the depression. Still, I never quite lost the part of me that was there for the analysis. It was interesting observing patients and thinking how crazy they were and then realizing that perhaps I was, too.
What's the single most important piece of advice you'd give to those in similar situations?
First of all, don't be afraid to question your doctor; he or she may not have your best interest at heart when it comes to determining what sort of medication you need. If you're willing to do the hard work—getting out to exercise or socialize with friend—you may not need to rely on as much medication and all the side effects that go along with it, like weight gain or high blood sugar levels. Also, realize that whatever you do will be a constant effort that you'll always have to work on. That all-elusive cure is probably never achievable, but you can overcome the horrible sense of isolation if you're willing.
Editor's note: Ceasing medical therapy for depression without consulting a doctor is not recommended. While lifestyle approaches like exercise are important for maintaining mental health, medical evidence suggests that the dose of medication that gets you well keeps you well.