Thursday, March 16, 2017

Have you ever wondered why so many crazy people refuse to take their medication?


I have arrived at a dilemma faced by countless writers and artists before me.

I think my medication is causing the writers block.

It set in for the long haul around the same time I started taking antidepressants. And the writing died entirely when they upped my dose. I've also lost the desire to go out and take photos. Now I'm having a harder and harder time coming up with new ideas to illustrate as well.

Never in my life was there a time when I did not have stories bouncing around in my head 24/7. I'm not sure when they stopped, but they have most definitely stopped. Nothing. I used to wonder what normal people thought about all day if their heads weren't constantly occupied with coming up with new fiction stories. Now I want to know how normal people survive this deafening silence.

So what to do? Stop the meds and risk sinking back into suicidal depression and anorexia? I've still got one foot in that particular grave, so I'm kind of nervous as to what will happen if I go off the antidepressants.

At the same time, life is empty and pointless without all the art I used to love creating. Sure the illustrations have sustained me a little, but it's not the same as when I was writing. I feel like a hollow shell of a person. Should I sacrifice a mentally unstable life for a totally lifeless medicated one?


I just don't know. Thoughts? Suggestions? Here's some ridiculous mushrooms:


25 comments:

  1. I know why some "crazy" people don't take their medication. My ex-husband has bipolar disorder. When he took his medication, he was no longer manic. He stopped the medication because he missed the mania and the supernatural powers he believed he has. See why we're not married? I take an antidepressant. At times, I don't feel like doing anything. But then the desire to create returns. Of course, I don't know what's going to happen to you, but if medication keeps you out of depression and anorexia, then I think that's a good thing. Perhaps you need to talk to a healthcare professional about your concerns. A different antidepressant might be better for you.

    Love,
    Janie

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  2. I've never suffered from depression, but I can still see your dilemma. I wonder what the expert have to say, there must be a way you can re-stimulate your brain without having it lead you to a dark place.

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  3. I had a girlfriend once who was on antidepressants. She wanted to stop taking her medication because it prevented her from reaching orgasm and she wanted to, ahem, take full advantage of my presence in her life. I talked her out of it because jesus, no orgasm is worth crippling depression or anxiety or whatever she was holding at bay with the pills. I would say the same thing to you. Good health and a stable life are worth what they cost, in my opinion.

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  4. I've never been depressed enough to need antidepressants but I do hear they are a difficult game. Some people react badly to them while others need them like life support.

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  5. I am on medication and have found that some take awhile to get used to. Give yourself time. If your creativity doesn't come back talk to your doctor about changing to a lower dose or a new medication.

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  6. I don't take any meds like that, but I do know that sadness/depression is a powerful creative force. My mind loves to go 24/7, and sometimes it feels electrically charged. Other times- like when I am really down ( I won't insult anyone by calling it full blown depression) that charge seems totally absent. I did take St Johns Wort a long time ago and I had nothing emotionally. So no, I know nothing, but I can understand a little about what you mean.

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  7. I've always hated dilemmas like that....but I think Birdie has some good advice. Hang in!

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  8. Have you talked to your doc about the suppression of your creativity? Can't they adjust your meds to take this into account?

    The other thing I'd suggest is to set a time when you write. Take an hour or so every day, and sit down to write something. Free write. Journal. Get your brain back into the habit of doing something. Don't worry too much about what you get on (virtual?) paper. You just want to train your brain in this new reality to create. Think of it kind of like running cold water out of a faucet to get the warm water to start.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

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  9. That is a tough decision. I think you have to put your health first and stay on the meds. Try to push through that writer's block as best you can.. practice the basics, force yourself to write, draw, take pictures-even if you're unhappy with them. If the creativity doesn't come then I agree with Birdie - see your doctor and tell him/her what you wrote here about needing to create in order to feel fulfilled. If these meds are still draining your creativity after a while...you should definitely try to get new meds.

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  10. I think there are other alternatives to (more) suicidally depressed to spark creativity. When meds were working well for me, I wasn't less me; the world didn't feel blunted. On Wellbutrin I was me but slightly less dead and slightly more me (until the 24 hour release one started giving me ocular migraines, but that's another story). Maybe a med change, or a lower dose Zoloft combined with something else, could help.

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  11. I'm on antidepressants myself now but luckily I've managed to avoid side effects. I was worried about ending up a brainless zombie. Ultimately what you need to do is what you feel you need to do. Maybe have a talk with your doctor about how the meds are affecting you and ask if they have any alternatives. If there aren't any alternative meds then there are other ways you can try and keep your spirits up naturally if you want to get your old brain back.

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  12. That's a tough one to answer. If being creative 24/7 is part of who you are, I would ask the Doc if there isn't a way to find a balance. I would definitely discuss it.

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  13. I take antidepressants without them I cry at the drop of a hat, really you could drop a hat and I would be in tears and I take every little thing to heart and that will make me cry as well, with the medication I am much more steadier

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  14. I have heard this about medications and it IS a dilemma. I think there's lots of good suggestions here like making a particular time to write. Nothing may come right away but maybe after a while the habit will become practice. I also think talking to your doctor about your concerns is an excellent idea. Hope you find your creativity. I can't imagine my mind being stilled of all my characters and their stories. I'd be lonely.

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  15. I was thinking about you today and I am going to see if a fellow blogger will come over and tell you about her experience with medication and creativity. She is a brilliant and gifted artist who takes medication that is vital to her recovery. We name is Hannah.

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  16. I'm Hannah, Birdie invited me to visit your blog. I've had my own adventures with mental health and creativity over the years.

    I've been on and off so many meds over the years, I can't really say if they affected my creativity directly-partly because last year I had intensive ECT and it's affected my memory quite a bit.

    I will say that the depression and hypomania-while they can inspire creativity in different ways-quite often negatively impact my creativity as well. If it's not lost motivation and not producing anything, it's increased crap and quantity instead of quality. The variance in moods can also impact my self-judgment and ability to put my work into the world as well as lead to taking too much on and getting in over my head.

    I think everyone's creative balance is different. Artists each seem to have their own creative soul that's like a unique species; each sustained by their own preferred diet, environment, and exercise. Your journey and balance is yours. Discussing this with friends, family, coworkers, and providers is important to gain perspective and widen understanding-in the end, you're your own keeper. It's a tough situation, I know. I don't think there is one right answer.

    I also think that it's important to weigh the pros and cons of any situation. Some wonderful things may have erupted from my extreme moods and sometimes that felt pretty dang incredible... in the end, for me, it's more important to be around and able to create anything. I've also found that finding stability and remission has finally allowed me to find renewed access to my creative and quirky and kind side that had become so suppressed during my depression. It might be different from those extremities-it's still a facet of me and my creativity though.

    My journey has been-heh, insert a shitton of dramatic adjectives here! From all those ups and downs, highs and near-deaths, I've continued to learn. At the moment I think I've found a stable routine and care plan-that may change and I'll have to relearn a healthy way. If your meds are helping keep you alive, you may have to learn new ways to nourish your creativity while managing you mood. I hope it's a case of needing to reorient to your new circumstances and finding a new way to encourage your creativity, instead of having completely lost that part of yourself. It ain't easy, I know!

    If it comes down to the meds or creativity... that's so much harder. It's hard to fathom and I don't envy you that decision. Researching alternative treatments, exploring options, and first trying different ways to adjust your creative process are what I'd recommend.

    I know I'm wordy, I hope something in all these blurbs brings a snippet of validation, encouragement, or help. What you're going through isn't easy. It can be downright heartbreaking. While the meds may help with the suicidal depression, what may seem like watching part of yourself atrophy and die is also soul-crushing. And frustrating. And... so much.

    I wish you all the best and please let me know if I can help in any way :o)

    Keep trekking. Keep searching. Keep fighting. <3

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  17. I think Liz has a good suggestion re: taking to your doc about meds and creative flow.
    Digging the mushrooms, btw. x

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  18. When I was on meds for my depression, my creativity came to a grinding halt. And I really wanted to go off my meds and write, but I also knew how much more important it was that I wasn't depressed. Like others have suggested, maybe your doctor can switch you over to a medication that's more likely to not kill your inspiration?

    Also, I think it's worth mentioning that while you may be in a creative funk right now, it doesn't mean that you'll be in a creative funk forever.

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  19. I had the same problem. Many days I couldnt find energy to form complete sentences. Trial and error. Being aware is key. One medication may not be the right one for you, hell, many medications may be wrong for you. It took a long time to find the right balance in my life. Don't quit. Depression sucks. But if your life is diminished by a medication, you are not living a full life either. Don't settle for less than you deserve, keep fighting to be happy and still maintain "you" in all this.
    xoxo zen

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  20. This is why I am coming off my meds, really really really slowly and finally life is coming back for me. I guess it's really want you can cope with and handle. Withdrawal sucks but I couldn't even read and that is finally coming back also and I was on 6 different psych meds at the same time. I'm still on five but smaller doses and I will go down to a management dose them and adjust from there. Like others have said, keep on fighting, I know it's hard but it's possible.

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  21. Lifeless medicated existence sounds boring. If being creative is essential, go with yourself is my advice. I'm no doctor, but anti-depressants are not the only way. I recommend broccoli, dark chocolate and running, which are known to boost your energy and make you feel happier.

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  22. I haven't even played a doctor on TV so I don't know if you want my medical opinion. I know some of the meds take some time to kick in before they work their magic. Maybe you will feel more like yourself after a little more time passes. But if that's not the case, I would like think that there is a happy medium. I have taken a variety of anti-anxiety/depression meds for about 15 years and it took a long, long time to find the ones that worked best with my body. I have also used essential oils to help straighten me out. I also found out that the weather affects my mood tremendously and I need that vitamin D. Hope some of this helps and best of luck in getting everything taken care of because not being able to do what you love isn't the answer either. Take care.

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  23. Venlafxin/Efexor killed my ability to write. I've decided to stop taking them, because I'd rather have a little crazy than no writing.

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  24. I get that totally. There's a sweet spot for me because I'm a very emotions based writer and when I'm doing creative pieces here it comes out in a cool experiential style but when I'm on my depression meds, even at 5 mg and then busy I don't have that sweet spot anymore. Too depressed and I can't write. Too busy I can't write. I envy my boyfriend who can sit at his drawing tablet and start with a general warm up sketch that turns amazing or he'll write and write stories. I'm over here needing the right emotional atmosphere. I hope you find it!

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