For those of you that follow me on Facebook, you may know that a few weeks ago I was having a very rough time. Like a very many of us I suffer from anxiety and depression, and it had me in its grip so tight, I thought it might squeeze the life out of me. The insidious thing was that I didn’t even notice what was going on until I realized just how much of my life it was affecting.
My writing was suffering, obviously. I just couldn’t get myself to sit down in the chair, and from my last posts, you’ll know just how much motivation I have to keep that from happening. It put a strain on my relationship as I became distant. Her exact words were, “It was like you were someone else, and I really didn’t like it.” It threatened to get me fired. I was performing poorly in my day job, causing me to be called in for a negative performance review. And it put my Fathers health at risk, since I was so lethargic and apathetic that I wasn’t giving him the care that he needed.
This will be a familiar story for a lot of you. It was a wake up call for me. I have avoided going to the doctor for my issues for a long time. I’ve struggled with this since I was in middle school, and I have always told myself that I can get through it, that I can handle it. And a part of me still believes that to be true. But the difference is that I didn’t have much in the way of responsibilities then. I could lock myself in my room, and cry, and curl up in a ball, and people would worry, but it didn’t really affect them.
But now it does. Now I have a Job I need to perform well in, a father and a girlfriend that need me to be me, and a career that is just starting to walk on its own two legs. I don’t want to lose any of that, and so I finally took the plunge and went to my doctor. I have started a medication, and I haven’t felt better in a very long time.
There are still so many out there that are suffering in the same ways that I was, and many are much, much worse. And there is an argument that I always hear float around, especially among the Artistic community.
“I don’t want to take medicine for this because I don’t want it to change who I am. I’m afraid I won’t be creative anymore.”
Here’s my experience as someone who had similar thoughts and sought treatment. It’s crap. Receiving help for these conditions in the form of medication won’t change who you are. It will let you be who you should be without these conditions plaguing you. They let you experience the world normally. Feeling happy when you should be happy, feelign sad when you should be sad without it consuming everything that you are. It lets you be you. If you are an artist, a writer, a painter, a musician, seeking help won’t stamp that out of you. It will let you do these things, and actually enjoy it.
Take me for example. In the weeks since I’ve started this new medication, I have written around 25,000 words. The month of struggling before that, I might have written 1000. Maybe. I planned a short story while I was in the throws of my depression. And it was crap. Complete, unorginal, good-god-I-am-so-much-better-than-this crap. I’ve got a new story planned in it’s place that I’m excited about. One that is original, and one that I think has a very good chance of being accepted.
Beyond that, this post was late because I spent my weekend writing 5000 words in a mad rush to finish the Novella I’m working on, to give me enough time to write the short story I have due in the middle of October. This medication hasn’t killed my motivation and my creativity. It’s given it back to me.
So if you are reading this, and you are suffering. Please, go to your doctor. Seek help. Because I promise you, you will not lose who you are. Things can only get better from here. If anyone else has stories of their own struggles, please tell us about it in the comments.