Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Let Them Eat Prozac...

Have we killed our creative genius by medicating ourselves? As I teeter on the edge of sanity, I wonder what will happen to my creativity if I go on medication. Perhaps the same brain chemistry, brain structure and genetics that causes me to be able to create is what takes me into periods of madness. What if this is not a disease but a gift? If you look back through history, it seems many of the great inventors, artists, writers, poets, philosophers would be deemed “mentally ill” by today’s standards. Have we pathologized every variance of the human condition to the point that creativity can no longer flourish? Are we killing the unborn children of the soul? If so, we have aborted more dreams than heaven can bear.

tall penguin

3 comments:

V said...

YES.

CyberLizard said...

Speaking as someone who takes Prozac and Adderall, I have not experienced any drastic differences in my creative abilities since being medicated. In fact, they are probably enhanced due to my increased focus and (relative) lack of depression. I think where these medications get a bad rap is when they are over-used or prescribed inappropriately. It doesn't surprise me that if you take an otherwise normal child/person and drug them up, you'll end up with the "prozac zombie" that we've heard about. But if there are truly biochemical imbalances/differences that are significantly affecting an individuals ability to thrive in society, these medications don't zombify, but rather remove impediments that allow the person's natural abilities and talents to come out.

That said, I've heard there are benefits to the manic side of bipolar (I'm not familiar, as I'm not bipolar) but the cost-benefits have to be weighed. If my conditions give me great periods of hyperfocus and hyperproductivity but make it impossible/extremely difficult to hold a job, be with my family, enjoy life, I'll gladly accept less intensity and short-term gain in order to remove the despair and torture that comes with it.

I truly embrace my differences and quirkyness that my brain chemistry and genetics have created in me. I certainly have no desire to be made "normal". I just need a little help getting along in the world and my meds provide that. My wife fell in love with me pre-meds/pre-diagnosis. She's been with me through the whole process. According to her (and I trust her view of me more than my own, since I'm too close to it) my "true self" hasn't changed. The meds have just allowed that person to emerge and flourish.

Just my $0.02 as one of the medicated masses ;-)

tall penguin said...

Thank you Cyber for your perspective. I am not anti-medication by any means. My concern is in seeing any variation on the "norm" as a disease. And in the medicating of children/adults for the sake of conformity.

When you get to the point of wanting to be medicated just to be able to keep up with a job you are not passionate about, just because society says you must be a contributor to the great economic machine, I think it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate. How often do we medicate what our soul is trying to tell us? That is my lament here.

I have a link that will add to this discussion which I will post in a separate entry.