1. C Earnshaw
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    C Earnshaw New Member

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    Writing on SSRI's

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by C Earnshaw, Jun 16, 2016.

    Hello,

    Has anyone had any experience of writing on antidepressants?

    I've been put on an SSRI about a month ago, I don't usually take them for the occasional bouts of depression I get, but this time I've had a vitamin D deficiency and its a case of needing to be able to function day to day in the world.

    I'd got to the stage where I was finding it difficult to write a couple of weeks leading up to my diagnosis and initially the medication has improved my this The problem is I've lost my emotional connection with my characters and I am worried they may have become wooden.

    I've had a look on the internet and unsurprisingly a lot of writers and artists suffer from depression (or artistic temperament as I've decided to excuse it as!) and some refuse to take anti-depressants at all, citing loss of creativity as the main reason.

    I'm mainly looking to see if anyone can successfully write on antidepressants or am I just wasting my time until I can get myself off them again?
     
  2. Maggi
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    Maggi New Member

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    I am in the same kind of situation.

    Despite that I have experienced chronicle depression throughout my life, I opted medication out mostly because of the fear for its negative effects. This time, however, I decided to give fluoxetine 20mg a chance just to see if this would help me to eliminate any obstacles that possibly wasted time and energy in my past and to be more efficient, functional or productive.

    Only after five days --not even a week--since I began medication, I am gearing toward ditching it as soon as possible and going without it. Aside from very physical side effects that I recognized so far, --I won't go into the topic here since this is not supposed to be the med forum--, the major problem that I encountered is that my mind being foggy just as you'd feel when you are dealing with a bad case of hangover, a case of flu that made you bedridden for days or having leftover of hard drugs you took the night before still in your system.

    Emotional detachment might also be the case in near future but at this stage--I am a total novice in SSRIs field--, I have a hard time getting back in touch with the very motivation to write: psychological discomfort that I need to eliminate. To achieve it, the only method I have had is to write, but with mental alertness in its sharpest. I know this is the double edged sword, however, and the core of the dilemma: the alertness that I'd pursue to write also is the causes of all the negative elements in my life. It surely slowed productivity down, just as in the form of depression, OCD, eating disorder, anxiety, etc.

    Medication takes the much needed mental alertness away while it numbs the psychological discomfort that I had to flirt with SSRIs for in the first place. So here we come to the predicament: psychological discomfort is the very engine of writing. So whether you embrace the curse and try bareback writing or cope with this harmful habit of ours--writing-- with aid of utmost practicality. Pick your poison. Even if it reduces the urgency that is the essence of one's work, let's not forget the importance of one's survival.

    In regards to my writing experience while of med, it feels as if I were perpetually under numbness you'd struggle to overcome every morning after you get out of bed but never fully get to be awake even after a few cups of strong coffee you'd gulp to drown sleepiness. And this drowsiness lasts until you go to sleep.

    Once sitting down to write, I might manage to write some words, or even reach my daily quota but the process becomes rather perfunctory. Consequently it feels quite detached from those words I churned out. Or worse, I noticed that I often have a hard time locating a simple word or an expression that I would not have forgotten in a non-med routine.

    The joke is that I feel too foggy now to discern if I am oversensitive or exercising sound judgment on the subject matter. Please picture me writing this under a thick blanket thrown over my head just with the hands stuck out banging the keys.
     
  3. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I have Bi Polar, rather than straight up depression and so can't be prescribed SSRIs, but I am on some reasonably heavy duty psychiatric meds, that produce similar side effects, i.e. foggy brain. The one thing I've noticed, is my body and brains ability to build up a tolerance to the drugs. My initial doses floored me but now, several months in, that has pretty much stopped. I still get tired quickly but my work is a lot more cohesive, and has heart that my previous unmedicated efforts didn't. I was in greater danger of misrepresenting my characters due to the numbness depression causes, or by schmaltzy over-sentimentality caused by a general mood of feeling sorry for myself. I totally get your conundrum. My way round it was simply to tinker about with the style of my writing. I took to writing in First Person, rather than Third so I could take on the mantle of someone other than, well...me. Then I simply acted the part. It's kinda weird to think that taking the meds has been instrumental in helping me find my voice, as opposed to my trying to find the voice I thought others would buy into. Honestly, it's been freeing.
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I'm lucky in that mine don't give me any side effects, but I've had friends who became completely numbed. They didn't even care about their own lives, let alone their fictional characters'.

    If I were you I'd wait it out for perhaps 6-8 weeks, by which time temporary side effects should have calmed down. If you're still experiencing problems by then, they're unlikely to go away.

    There are many types of SSRI, and other medications besides, so it's not the end of the world if you come off these particular ones :)
     
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  5. LaForge
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    LaForge New Member

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    SSRI's did tend to "numb" me to a degree. It's all about finding a combo that works for you. For me, it was a SNRI, beta-blocker, and a mild benzo for sleep. If your meds make you numb or make it hard for you to write, talk to your prescribing doctor.
     
  6. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    I have taken SSRIs on and off for prolonged periods. While they were a lot better than being depressed to the point of feeling suicidal they stopped me writing 100%. The "hole in the page" as Stephen King calls it, would never open.

    I mean, I was so ill I wouldnt have written much anyway so i guess it balanced out.

    Its the reason I ignored my doctor's advice to take them forever though.
     
  7. Holoman
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    Holoman Member

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    I suffer with depression, and I honestly don't know how it's possible for people to write without medication. I cannot read, I cannot sleep, I cannot function when in that state. I can barely even watch TV, my mind simply will not focus.

    If you can function fine without the medicine then I say just try it for a few months and see what happens. If you feel worse, then stop it. For many people some anti-depressants can make things worse or cause side effects, but that doesn't mean all of them will. There are lots of different types, some didn't work at all for me, others helped.

    There are SSRIs, Tricyclics and SNRIs. SSRIs never did much for me, I had more success with Tricyclics but the side effects are worse. SNRIs I've found a bit hit and miss in effect but have far fewer side effects.
     
  8. C Earnshaw
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    C Earnshaw New Member

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    Thank you for posting about all your different experiences, being able to identify with you has been very reassuring . Since I first started this conversation I have come off the antidepressants, this is my first real experience of them, and unless I am ever at the stage of suicidal thoughts, it is hopefully my last.

    Without turning this into a thread about mental health issues, my depression is something I've realised I'm going to have to live with. I've lived with it in varying degrees since childhood and am fast coming to the conclusion it is a part of me as much as an arm or leg. I am never going to be cured, I am just better or worse. I'm going to have to formulate other strategies to stop myself sliding into the worse end of the spectrum. I can fully understand why some people need the antidepressants to be able to function and write. For me, at my worst I couldn't write. Then I took the antidepressants and I could write but it was just words, one in front of the other.

    Someone asked my husband a few months ago why on earth I worked in a scientific field when I was so creative, this side of my personality had just disappeared on the antidepressants. I'm also very musical and my music teachers always praised my god given ability to 'feel music' when I played, yet I felt nothing hearing music on the antidepressants, it was just noise, and this was how my writing was.
     
  9. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Yeah me too. I just had nothing to say when I was on the SSRIs.

    As you say though, being depressed doesn't help you write either. I would always recommend people seek help for depression at the earliest opportunity and never write off pharmacological treatment.
     
  10. Holoman
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    Holoman Member

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    It definitely sounds like it wasn't for you then. But perhaps consider trying a different one, they do have different effects and if you do find one that helps then it's a godsend.
     

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