Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Has Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend John?

I'm depressed again, after having been well for more than a month. I'm not completely willing to say the depression is back for sure, as it could be brought on by PMS. Also, my doctor decreased one medication (Effexor) and increased another (Lamictal) to help me become more balanced as I was being occasionally manic. I'd rather be manic if they can't help me find balance, because mania is more enjoyable to me than depression. When I was manic I was interested again in some of my old hobbies. Today I'm just a slug. I have no interest at all, not even in making a fractal.

Basically, depression makes me feel bored with people and things that once brought me much joy and dominated my life. Fractals, for instance, dominate my life when I'm feeling well, but tonight I was completely disinterested. After sleeping all day I came to my computer with the hopes of finding something or someone online that could make me feel interest, but I've had no such luck. I've just surfed blindly through pages that didn't even touch me.

I haven't been using the energy spray because sometimes when I use it I start to feel weak and lightheaded. My husband is telling me to wait for the PMS to be over before I call my doctor, but if this depression doesn't go away in a few days I'm calling the doctor and telling her I'm going back to the previous drug regimen.


Alexander M Zoltai said...

From a psychotherapist's blog:

creativity: a way out of depression?
June 16th, 2008 · 3 Comments

john over at storied mind writing and depressionhas taken up the thread of the discussion on creativity that i started a while ago with Psyblog and, creative person that he is, is talking about it in connection with depression. let me add a bit to that discussion.

first of all, i’d like to say that if someone put a gun to my head and forced me to label myself, i would say “artist”. if i don’t get to play with language and ideas, if i don’t get to dance once in a while and gorge my eyes on beautiful images – well, i don’t know what would happen because i never let it get to that point.

my work as a counsellor, too, is in my eyes an act of creativity. together, my client and i collaborate on seeing their lives as a work of art and on creating experiences, actions, attitudes and thoughts that help them live better lives and through that, ultimately help others around them create more goodness as well.

also, i have experienced depression from a number of different angles, including myself. just establishing my “authority” here : )

in reading over john’s article, what i was thinking was that at least in some situations, creativity doesn’t so much chase depression away but can help us experience it in a different light.

years ago, when i was doing a lot of work in the area of chronic pain, a friend asked me, “so – are you including depression in your research, too?” he saw depression as chronic emotional pain.

i think there is a lot of truth in this. and just as we can experience pain in many different ways, perhaps we can experience depression in different ways.

for me personally, the worst part of depression is a significant change in e-motion – in my inner movement, as well as in the actions that are influenced by that movement. when in a depression, the decision of whether to wear black or white socks is overwhelming because my decision-making apparatus has slowed down to a tired old snail’s pace. leaving the house, if i manage it, can take two hours because putting on a coat and finding my keys present almost impossible-to-overcome obstacles. fright or flight don’t work anymore – there’s only freeze.

the urge to create can be one of the few e-motions, or motivating drives, to get me moving again. that’s where depression can become qualitatively different. the pain is still there but its place inside of me and its colour and texture change. if i follow the creative urge and find words to describe the depression, things start to move, and a bit of momentum builds up. it may not last long, but the depth of the creative experience helps me remember that there was movement, not just way back when, when i wasn’t in that black cloud, but just a few hours ago. that helps me put the depression in perspective, can remind me that depression is an experience, it’s not me, it’s not my master, it’s “just”pain, and i know i am not pain.

in those moments, i can sometimes be grateful for the depression for giving me creative impetus.

john asks,

there is something about creating … that draws out a force within me that dissolves depression. what is that? can i package some and pull it off the shelf when i need it?

in my experience, creating does not dissolve depression, it changes it for the better, it changes it for the different. what creating helps me “pull off the shelf” is the realization that depression is not my master.

~ Alex

Sophia said...

While I would never be grateful to deprepression for anything, I do notice that when in the throes of hypomania I am more creative than usual. And when I am in the deepest of depression I am more poetic than usual. I wouldn't doubt for a second that there is a link between creativity and mental illness.

Siegfried said...

Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it.
-- Bill Gates, 11 things you don't learn at school.

Siegfried said...

It takes a lot of energy to fight depression. Don't fight it. Sleep thru it. And enjoy you dreams.

Sophia said...


I just spent three days in bed again. I had a headache from sleeping too much. But I took a lot of caffeine and went outside in the sun and right now I feel fine. I feel a lot of love energy flowing through me. And it doesn't help that I'm listening to some rather powerful romantic music.

I had an interesting dream this morning. I'll have to post it on the blog.