When we’re going through difficult changes in our lives, it can be easy to explain away our feelings of sadness and anxiety. “Of course I’m shaking,” we tell ourselves, “my parents have been fighting all day.” Maybe we were living paycheck to paycheck, or our cars were broke down, or we were in danger of losing our jobs.
One day, though, you look around and know, rationally, that everything is better than it’s ever been…and you’re still miserable.
You’re still anxiously checking your heart rate because it won’t stop racing, your hands are still shaking, and you’re still assuming terrible things about yourself when you haven’t heard from friends in a few days. Worse, you can’t focus on those things that bring you joy or manage to write anything new, and there’s no rational excuse for it and nothing holding you back.
I went to see a psychiatrist yesterday, and found that I have very high levels of depression and anxiety, severe enough that I need to start taking medication to treat it.
I pride myself on being introspective, but the diagnosis shocked me.
I don’t lock myself alone in my bedroom for days at a time, I don’t have thoughts of suicide, I’ve never self-harmed, and I still laugh. But the psychiatrist explained that my bouts of procrastination were likely brought on by anxiety, my food binges were a symptom of depression, and my heart was fine but my pulse was going crazy with panic.
On Monday, I’m going to start taking a medication that’s supposed to help with the anxiety and depression, one which I hope will help me focus as I near completion on my two undergraduate degrees. I don’t come from the sort of family that embraces the idea of taking regular medication or going to see “a shrink,” but I have aspirations of finishing my novels, selling my stories, and going to grad school, and the idea of being held back by something it was within my power to treat is more frightening to me than possible side effects.
In order to get a better understanding of how medication I’m trying might be working, I’ll be talking openly on my blog about what I’m going through and anything I notice.
My biggest worry is that medication will kill my creativity…my dearest wish is that it will give me the focus to produce some great stuff.
Have any of you taken medication before for depression and/or anxiety? What effects did it have on your creativity?