Reposting this one because I’m tired and sad and grumpy and not currently clinically depressed, so thank goodness for that.
Sorry for the repost, y’all, but it’s been a rough week already and I have plenty of drawings, but none scanned. Anyway, I’m having my delightful monthly reminder that my depression is only an inch away at the best of times. I ranted about periods and why they’re terrible last month, and this one’s not nearly as bad – not much nausea, not a ton of cramping, but a lot of exhaustion and irritability and general sadness, with the occasional ‘I’m too tired to work my tear ducts’ crying jag thrown in for extra fun. So I think this bears restating, even if I’m the only one who needs to see it today.
So if you don’t know about the silver ribbon, go read this: http://thebloggess.com/2012/01/the-fight-goes-on/ Then go ahead and read everything else The Bloggess has written, because that shit’s hilarious. ‘Sokay, I’ll wait.
Aaaaanyway, I’ve actually been thinking about this post for a few days now, but it’s not exactly something you dash off on a fifteen minute break in the opera basement. It should come as no great shock to those who know me in real life — and probably not to you awesome stalking strangers either — that I have been dealing, for the bulk of my life, with a variety of problems including, but not limited to, ongoing minor depression, major depressive episodes, anxiety, impulse control problems, and a laundry list of weird phobias. Also, I’m left handed.
I’m not here to weep about any of that because I’ve been pretty lucky. The one phobia that really limited my life I managed to work through with an awesome behavioral therapist and a very patient doctor, and it’s a mild simmer instead of a full-on boil these days. My last major depressive episode was about 14 years ago, and I haven’t had to be on medication for the last 12 years. I still keep a close eye on my moods, irritability, and especially my appetite, but I’m mostly semi kind of okay.
The thing is, I realized after talking to other creative folk who’ve been in treatment that we all shared the same fear. Somewhere along the way, we all swallowed the idea that art comes from pain, and that if we were well, happy people, we’d lose that creativity that makes us. . . well, us. Okay, switching to first person, ’cause that was awkward. I’m the daughter of a psychiatrist. I have every reason to understand what psychiatric drugs do and why they’re sometimes necessary, and I was completely terrified of using them. I thought that prescription for Zoloft was going to take away who I was, and I’ve been horrified to find out how many other people felt the same way and avoided treatment because of it.
Medication doesn’t change who you are or what you can create or the problems in your life. What it does is stop those lying chemicals in your brain that keep you from dealing with your problems and living. If I hadn’t given in and taken those pills, I’d be dead now, and I would have missed out on Broadway shows and Pantos and choreography and neurotic owls and Browncoats. I didn’t realize it at the time because Jenny Lawson is right – depression lies – but I couldn’t create anything while I was in the depths. It was the most sterile, empty period of my life, and I never want to go back there, and I never want anyone else to stay there because of fear and lies.
Art can come from joy. If you have a choice between joy and pain, pick joy. It’s tastier and filled with glitter and rainbows and cuddly babies and fresh bao and lion dances and ridiculous friends.
Now back to your regularly scheduled cartoons.