I have to deal with mental health issues. Amongst a panoply of challenging aberrations is depression and anxiety. It’s really no fun and frankly I don’t recommend it to anyone.
I am receiving professional treatment, which is a Good Thing. Part of that treatment involves pharmaceuticals, which I dutifully take every day. My current run requires two tablets which are supposed to relieve me of depression and alleviate my anxiety. Instead, my depression and anxiety are as rampant as ever, and my writing ability has vanished. More specifically my ability to write fiction has vanished, my medication genuinely obstructing any capability to imagine.
I don’t dream. I sleep (fitfully, partly because of another condition that periodically wakes me), the occasional nightmare the only visions of the night, but imaginings and wonder, my escapes from the humdrum despair of the here and now, elude me.
Yesterday I was able to get my health care professional to change my meds, but this isn’t something that just happens straight away. I have to go with a week on half my current dose, and then another week on quarter, and then I’m able to transition. Whatever comes next I welcome – provided my imagination returns. I have three unfinished novels to get on with, four if I include a sequel to one book currently under publisher consideration, and I’d really like to get on with them. I can’t write, I can’t draw or paint or create imaginatively, and it is as frustrating as it comes.
I beta read. I edit. I consider other people’s projects dispassionately, disconnected, like an unfeeling machine, treating the syntax of words intellectually rather than emotionally. Maybe it has made me a better editor, maybe not. I construct what I do write methodically, re-typing everything because another symptom of my meds is a ghastly lack of coordination, even worse than my usual Asperger’s-driven clumsiness, rendering my first pass close to unintelligible.
After my consultation however I feel a glimmer of hope, a promise of improvement, a return to passion and fire, soaring visions and stories aplenty to pour onto page after successive page. Just that prospect is enough to dampen the temperament of my depression for a time.
Hope itself can indeed be a powerful medicine.