Posts Tagged ‘anti-depressants’

Writing and Anti-Depressants, Part 2: Sex, Drugs, Suicidal Ideation and Stolen Shadows

Monday, May 17th, 2010

The whole idea that you can’t write good fiction on medication is of course complete bollocks. David Foster Wallace wrote most of what he wrote on Nardil, which is a way harder-core med than anything I ever got near. (This argument is or is not effective depending on whether or not you like DFW’s stuff.)

It’s not like writers haven’t been self-medicating with alcohol since forever anyway. But we tend to be fussy about anything clinical or medical, i.e. anything that isn’t sufficiently self-destructive. It’s like Rilke refusing psychoanalysis because he thought it would kill his muse:

“Psychoanalysis is too fundamental a help for me, it helps you once and for all, it clears you up, and to find myself finally cleared up one day might be even more hopeless than this chaos.”

Spoken like a man who was sleeping w/ his shrink. (Which he was.)

But that’s how I felt myself after I went off SSRI’s. And I did not even have sex w/ my shrink.

After my Palm Beach adventure I stayed away from anything pharmaceutical for a year. As far as I was concerned writing required raw unaltered brain chemistry. If I was going to get anywhere with The Magicians, nothing else would do.
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Writing and Anti-Depressants: A Match Made in Purgatory

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

A lot of people take anti-depressants. A lot of writers take them. But not a lot of people talk about it. Or at least few enough that I was pretty struck when the Penny Arcade guys talked about their experience with Lexapro. I was struck enough that I thought maybe I should talk about my history with anti-depressants.

(At some future time I will do a post that tries to explain my obsession with Penny Arcade. But not now.)

Let me first say for the record: I held out. I did not want to be the dude in the Woody Allen movie who’s always talking about his shrink, and I did not want to be the dude who needs drugs to deal with reality. I wanted to be some other dude. Why, I don’t know. Because it wasn’t great being that other dude. It was un-great enough that when I was 35 I figured I’d had about as much anxiety and depression as I was interested in having. So I went into therapy.
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