Sunday, October 3

Brilliantly Stimulating?

Yeah, about that. Not so much lately. You may have noticed.

As a good friend said recently - when was it? Jeez, it was a month-and-a-half ago:

"I don't know what the doctor is feeding you but I miss the snarky & witty banter!"

As far as I can tell, it's the anti-anxiety meds he's "feeding" me. Anti-anxiety meds are actually good for me; it helps me make it through those weeks I'm on call. I tend to freak out for that once-a-month stint for a week. The other three weeks I'm my old self, except for one thing: My creativity tanks. OK, that's not entirely true - my creativity is non-existent.

Over the years, I realized something pretty important about my thought processes, as I tend to think outside the box. In fact, I don't even see a box. Call it what you will, free-thinking I suppose. Maybe fuzzy logic.

Even Marilee has noticed a change, as well she should. She sees the difference on a daily basis. Just last night she observed "You haven't blogged or taken pictures lately". Lately equates to my only taking four pictures during the entire month of September. And blogging? My last "snarky banter" - read "brilliantly stimulating" - post was TWO MONTHS AGO. By my estimation, about the time my anti-anxiety meds went into full swing.

So what the hell does that have to do with anything?

Now, I'm not one - usually - to take as fact some saying or other. How many times have we all heard a phrase or quote from someone famous and thought "Hey, that sounds like me!". But this one hits far too close to home:

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.” – T.S. Eliot

Yeah, that T.S. Eliot.

I'd commented on that quote to my cousin, and she said that maybe I was reading too much into it. That, for whatever reason I was using it as an excuse for how I was feeling at that particular moment. Maybe. But as I have learned in the last little while, T.S. Eliot isn't the only one who has made that observation.

In the book "Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament", Kay Redfield Jamison states "...many creative people are reluctant to be transformed by psychiatric treatment into "normal, well-adjusted, dampened, and bloodless souls" no longer moved to create. And their fears may not be unfounded. Current psychotropic drug therapies can offer some relief from the painful, destructive features of mania and depression. But according to Jamison, there is a price to pay -- these drugs can "dampen a person's general intellect and limit his or her emotional and perceptual range".

Hmmm... maybe I will be having a talk with my physician after all...

[Portions of the above post derived from "Creativity and Mental Illness" by Laura Gosselink at Serendip.]

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