Things have quiet on the “In A Mirror Darkly” BLOG.
I almost had something to write a number of times over the past month or so. Each time it was right there – on the edge of consciousness. Then it faded, another ephemera in my life, lost except for a cool title. There is always a cool title. Something about the turn of the season and lemon-flavored fish oil. Or Jesus and lemon-flavored fish oil. I don’t remember which. But it was cool. Trust me.
Every now and then when I sat down to write and the paper remained blank I had this idea that somehow in fighting lupus and the anxiety and depression that danced alongside it that the medications leveling out my emotional highs and lows had walled off that place where words come from; words and ideas and dreams and poetry and passion. So I did what most people sitting at a computer keyboard would do: I googled it.
And this is what I discovered: A lot of people are concerned about the impact of anti-depressants on creativity. Fearful, even. Forum after forum on depression and anti depressant medications are filled with concerned posts of people who based upon their personal experience fear the loss of their creativity. Of course one person’s experience does not a general conclusion make. For example, I began taking fish oil at the suggestion of my rheumatologist last month. A little research revealed that people who take fish oil as a supplement have a number of choices. You can buy capsules with or without a special coating. The special coating makes the capsule dissolve in your intestine instead of stomach. Why should this matter, you ask? (Please do). Because a large number of people taking fish oil supplements notice that they start to smell. And by smell I mean bad. Like you forgot to use deodorant for a week bad. Except in this case you are using deodorant and suddenly start wondering what that awful smell is and then you realize that it is you. And I was determined that you would not be me so I went all-in and bought myself lemon-flavored fish oil. “But!” you say, “There are no taste buds in the intestines!” And you would be wrong. Sort of. Read this article.
OK, so what does taking lemon-flavored fish oil supplements have to do with whether or not anti-depressants have the potential to rob us of our creativity? Bear with me for a few more words on fish oil and body odor. I do not smell any worse, not fishy, oily or lemony. Therefore, I could say that everyone who takes fish oil shouldn’t smell stinky. But they do. Google it. There is so much anecdotal evidence that there should be a warning on the bottles: “People who take this supplement may have an increased risk of stinking so bad that even their dog will not lick them.” [This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA in any way, shape or form]. We think about all of the mad creative genius people and say to ourselves that maybe there is a thing to mental disorders and creativity. Thus, anti depressants whose job it is to level us out and reign in the anxiety and cast light in the deep dark well in which we often find ourselves living work against such creativity.
Imagine such a choice: Creativity or a life of paralyzing anxiety and hopelessness?
Of course we are talking about brain chemistry and nothing about brain chemistry is that simple. A bunch of people think they are less creative on anti-depressant medication, whether they are or not is a different thing altogether. It is a question I hope to bring to my psychiatrist next visit. He loves those sorts of questions. Like the time I asked him if the anti-depressants alter my brain chemistry don’t they make me a different person? Short answer: Great question. Then we spent an hour dissecting it.
Or I could ask him if he would like to debate the possibility that his intestines have taste buds.
It is, as they say, my nickel.