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Re: Zoloft and Apathy

Posted by Sean on May 26, 1999, at 12:52:57

In reply to Re: Zoloft and Apathy, posted by Joanne on May 25, 1999, at 20:03:49

> Wow! I always seem to find something useful here at just the right time...
> I've been taking 50mg of Zoloft a day for about the last 3 months... it
> did help my depression... I don't feel like I cry all the time anymore,
> or cry at the drop of a hat... unfortunately, I don't feel anything... it's
> the apathy y'all are talking about. I've been trying to decide which is
> worse to me... not feeling anything, or crying all the time. For now, for
> me, the crying all the time is worse. Right now, I'll take apathy. Mind you,
> I don't like it, and it doesn't fit in my overall lifestyle, which I try to
> keep pretty upbeat when possible, is still better.
> I don't know... maybe I'm a freak.
> Also, I too, am an artist... I write poetry, and I've found that since being on
> the Zoloft, I can't write anything worth a damn. It's all a bunch of rambling...
> like the words don't make sense, and they don't make me feel things the way I used
> to...
> Hmmm... come to think of it, my poetry has always been a little on the down side
> anyway. Maybe I write better when I'm depressed?
> Who knows...
> But it's definately something to think about.
> Thanks once more for helping me look at things in a different way!!
> Joanne

Hey Joanne,

It is nice to know that we aren't alone in this
particular "side effect"... I wonder if any of the
drug makers/researchers ever hear about this kind
of thing? From a public health point of view, it
is better to have people comfortably numb than
suicidal I suppose, but you do have to worry
about limiting the range of human experience,
expression, and the existential motivations behind

I do know that I'm not very social when I'm in a
deeply creative space, and that from a conventional
psychoanalytic viewpoint, I'm probably some combination
of "dysthymic with comorbid social avoidance features"
or even "narcissistic disturbance with hypomanic frills"
but jeez, this is my reality isn't it? I get the
pain and suicidal thoughts, but I also get the
intensity and drive to create something using
*all* of my brain, experience, and heart-
dysfunctional though it be when compared to the
average consumer...

But is being average and normal anything to aspire
to? This is probably crazy to say, but I get so
used to thinking about killing myself that I forget
that it is abnormal and that lots of people go
through life without ever really considering it.
I have taken an oath with myself that I won't
*ever* do it, but it seems like a normal part of the
emotional spectrum for me.

The emotion of melancholy is a powerful thing. My
favorite artists and music are able to evoke this
incredible, spine-tingling sense of sadness and
hope which I think all of us humans are enriched
by. Yet most people don't realize that you need
to spend some serious time in the deep dark
water to actually find your muse and produce this
stuff. This journey is downright dangerous in my
opinion; the path of the artist is strewn with
the corpses of suicides.

But is this art actually better than "happy" art?
Well, I suppose it depends on the person. I know
people who are prefectly happy listening to Phil
Collins and hanging the cheesiest crap on their
walls. Who am I to say their subjective experience
is any different from me listening to say, Arvo
Part and reading some Anne Sexton? I do know that
when I'm munching SSRI's I don't *get* the dark
arts; they don't apply to my life.

I suppose the moral of the story is that whatever
is going on in our brains is not limited to the
clinical description of depression. It would
seem to have deep connections to our tastes and
fundamental personality traits, things we have
used to some advantage and are maybe almost
proud of.

Odd what a little tweak on the serotonin will do
isn't it?





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