In efforts to get back to writing, I’ve been spending time with a journal. What started off a bit like Morning Pages slowly morphed into a less structured free-writing. Rather than write three pages upon waking, I’ve been writing as many pages as will flow, as often as I care to, and honestly, I’m just dumping information out of my brain. The intention was to just do a bit of mental purging, to work out as many of the brain-chunks as possible. The words, the thoughts…they don’t flow.
**I want to take a break here to say that what follows is simply a retelling of what worked for me, and is in no way meant to be an endorsement for following in my footsteps. Likewise, it’s completely unnecessary to tell me what a mistake I’m making. I appreciate your concern, but I’ll appreciate you keeping your opinions on my health to yourself even more.**
To make a long story short, I was able to put together enough pieces to realize what the issue was, and it’s not pretty. Being on Prozac simply dammed up too much of my ability to be creative. I’ve always been assured that anti-depressants won’t do that, so even faced with a stunted imagination, I was in a bit of denial. I always thought “If I just work harder, or carve out more time, or lock myself in my office, the words will flow again. I’ve done this before, I can do it now! Just get to work!”
Truly, I was beating myself up for not being able to do something I’ve never struggled to do. It wasn’t my fault. I struggled to do any writing for school (which is a problem for someone getting a degree in writing) and I stressed myself out, fighting with both of my arms tied behind my back.
After thinking on it, I decided to slowly taper off Prozac. Yes, I have chosen to go unmedicated for my depression. To be clear, there were so many other issues with anti-depressants that it wasn’t that difficult of a decision for me. I professed for years how I didn’t feel like myself, and how I was trapped behind this ridiculously smiley facade. I was involuntarily extroverted, and completely unable to sit still. Ever. Again, not a great attribute for a writer to have. I can’t emphasize enough that I was not myself.
Yeah, you may have picked up that I’m speaking in past-tense, because I’ve been slowly lowering my dosage for weeks now, and am finally on my last two weeks. It’ll take another few weeks past that for the medication to be fully out of my system, but I can already assert that this was the right choice to make. I feel better, more in tune with who I am and with my surroundings, and my freakin’ brain is back to working as smoothly as before. For a change, I can sit on my couch and just enjoy a cup of coffee without having to jump up between sips and do this or do that. I’m not saying yes to so many activities that I look like a balancing Shiva just trying to keep it all together. I have undone the calamity that was my mammaries, y’dig?
While spending the last few years being cracked out of my skull has been an adventure, I finally got to a point where I could say with certainty that it is not for me. I’m enjoying the slow ride back to myself, even if it’s causing some waves with others. I’ve never hidden that my medication caused me to behave in a way that wasn’t natural for me, but people are still giving me the side-eye if I do something that “Prozac Nicole” wouldn’t do. Like, you know… say no. To anything.
I suppose the next logical question is “How’s your depression?” I have cried a lot this last week, but I don’t know how to put it in words how happy I was to be crying, and they weren’t happy tears, either. One of the things I was unable to do while on Prozac was cry, even if it was a situation where I had every reason in the world to cry. There were one or two times when I was able to manage some tears, but that helped highlight for me how messed up it was that I was no longer able to cry. So, as the tears fell this week, I embraced them. I even went so far this afternoon to look at pictures of women during childbirth, because the beauty and power of their pain was a reminder of how strong women are, and how strong I am. And I cried.
The words? They are continuing to flow. I’m still free-writing as often as possible, which is a lot more now that I’m not cramming every second of my schedule with stuff. My new journal is filling quickly and, while most of what I write is just dumping nonsense overboard, I can feel the space being created to conjure up new worlds and new people. I can still my body long enough to still my mind, and that’s where the magic is going to happen.