Drugging Ourselves into a Stupor
You know, I’m looking at the headline of this and thinking this is supposed to be some sort of “marijuana is bad” editorial, and it’s not. I swear.
Let me break into this with personal stuff... Because of depression, I started taking Paxil a few months ago to calm my mood swings. It worked — even when I was taking 12.5 mg daily in the first week of testing with it (before going to 20 or 25mg, which is still a light prescription), I noticed that I didn’t get angry at things going wrong any longer (not the way I did before). And yes, things still aggravate me, but now it seems that I just start to think (when I encountered a problem) that the difficulty is more of a stupid inconvenience than something I should angry at and respond by internally blowing up.
Not bad, I guess. Take the generic to save money, and stop outwardly being such a bitch. Granted, I have to take a pill every day, but it’s otherwise a good deal.
One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve started taking Paxil is that I have absolutely no interest in working on my next novel (which I’ve already completed the first part of). I mean, no interest. Zero.
Now, I don’t know about creativity being stifled with anti-depressant drugs. All I could think was that my nephew was put on Ritalin for a short while when he was in school. He was the type of boy who climbed everything, and often tried to pull stunts like hanging upside-down from a ledge on a fort he had, hoping the beams would hold him in place. Often they wouldn’t and he’d fall, or he might try to pull a stunt and not realize there’s a loose nail sticking out of the wood he’s climbing with. It seemed like he was getting hurt a lot from rambunctious play, and he didn’t pay attention in school classes. I don’t think my nephew was depressed, but they decided to give him Ritalin to help him in classes, and his mother was amazed how he suddenly became more focused
Now, I didn’t really tie these two stories together (anti-depressants and creativity), until I read the article in the Wall Street Journal that asked about the world giving a good number of children Ritalin because they wouldn’t focus in a classroom and their behavior wasn’t appropriate.
There are attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder support groups that believe that often people who may have (according to the Wall Street Journal) “classic ADHD traits such as impulsiveness, a penchant for day-dreaming and disorganized lives,” are people who accomplished so much in their lives — and their abilities and accomplishments may have been in part due to their behavior.
People believed to have had ADHD: Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, and Winston Churchill.
I know, I know, you can think Salvador Dali was only capable of surreal pieces like “The Persistence of Memory, 1931” (you know, the melting clock print that everyone in college years ago seemed to have on their dorm room walls), but he was actually extremely talented painter and created a wide variety of extraordinary pieces. And I don’t think anyone can say anything bad about the ability of Churchill or the wonder of Albert Einstein. I mean, think about it: what if Edison was drugged and told to sit and pay attention to the teachings of others, instead of inventing on his own?
I think it was after I read the article in the Wall Street Journal that I made the possible connection between my writing and the Paxil. So I started searching the Internet for information. No one could say anything definitely, and I know I have a low prescription, but I read this line from a man named Barry, who posted this in http://www.rxlist.com/rxboard/:
“The most brilliant and successful people have suffered from depression since the beginning of humanity. Albert Einstein and Abe Lincoln come to mind. Makes sense, actually. Think positive, as it can be responsible for great creativity.”
Is he suggesting that depression may be a symptom of those who are truly creative? I don’t know the answer, and I don’t think anyone can prove what he says.
But today, I think I’ll start taking half of my prescription dosage, and see if my creative juices start flowing again.
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