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Topic: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

  1. #1

    SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    Well - due to a truckload of personal issues, anxiety, panic attacks, etc ... i have resorted to a cocktial of psychotropic drugs , sorry i wont go into detail.

    Anyhow - i have sevaral big projects on my plate - and am almost 2 weeks being due to the issues - and inability to focus. So i must ask, i have heard that the side effects on artist and musicians can be quite debilitating ... so now i can focus, yet i have lost an 'edge' - I'd like to hear other's experiences - i hope this to be only temporary - but the demons needs to sleep i think.

    Thank You

  2. #2

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty


    I've lost close to 10 years of my life due to chronic depression, until I started to take medication. Well, I didn't lose *all* of it, but it was debilitating enough that it prevented me from working as much as I should have.

    The important thing is to find a drug whose side effects don't affect YOU too much. As you surely know, these medications affect each person differently, so you have to find out by trial and error which one is right for you. In my case, I started out with Paxil but it made me feel rather tired all the time. I now use Celexa, which is in the same family as Paxil but the side effects aren't as bad for me. I feel this is the right compromise for me personally.

    If you're in a state of deep depression right now, the important thing is to find some way to get out of there as quickly as possible. If it's medication that helps you, then that's just fine. I wouldn't worry too much about the side effects for now, as long as you have a good doctor to help you and you follow his advice. When you're "out of the hole" so to speak, you can then start experimenting with various drugs until you find the one that's best for you, side effects-wise. But I personally wouldn't want to start switching drugs left and right in the middle of a depressive episode. I wish it was a perfect science and we didn't have to go by trial and error that way, but medicine is unfortunately not quite there yet. Anyway, your doctor is the best person to guide you in all this.

    And to answer your question more precisely, the medication hasn't had any ill-effect on my creativity at all. I mean, I used to not be able to get out of bed because I didn't feel I could face the day ahead, and for a few years now I've been feeling like a normal person again, and able to work and start (and finish) projects, and learn things. That's quite an improvement for me. The drugs are not the only thing that have helped me improve my situation, but they have played a very big part. Now, I only regret waiting so long before starting to use them.

    I hope that, as you say, this is a temporary solution to a temporary situation for you. But if you have to use drugs for an extended period of time, or even permanently, just know that it's not the end of the world and that many others are in the same situation. In my case, I will probably have to take them for the rest of my life, as the depression is chronic and is sort of a "body-chemistry" type of problem. But that's okay; as I said, it's not the end of the world.

    I first wanted to write you all this in a PM, but then I decided to post it on the board in case it could help other people who are perhaps in the same situation. Unfortunately, depression is still something that seems to be considered a little "shameful" or embarrassing, and a lot of people tend to try to hide it and not talk about it. And idiots like Tom Cruise are not helping anything. In fact, after seeing an excerpt from his appearance on Oprah, I think he could well use a few pills himself.

    Anyway, hope that helped a little. Best of luck to you, and if you have any questions just send me a PM. And remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel...

  3. #3

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    Feel better soon SWL! I know how you feel man. I just under went a scary medical procedure and it depressed the hell out of me. I was given something to help deal with that and I feel better now. (well the pain is still there but Grr)

    Take it slow and be well... all the best!
    Bela D Media | www.BelaDMedia.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    between this place and that place

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    all I can say is the mind is the body so ZEN...yea that's right drugs are not needed as everything is psychological and I mean it. Becoming depressed or feeling down is based on dwelling on something negitive it takes mind power to push these feelings away and keep going. Just distance your self from everything in your mind first then focus on what you have to do with out allowing other thoughts to interfere that are negitive, hence worry about time lines, money etc...
    Think postive all the time no matter what no matter the situation, soon your mind will become stronger and you won't have to rely on drugs or psychologits or anything. Focus is the key to everything.
    The mind is the Core of your being the rest is of design.
    I consider music apart of healing too but then that is apart of Zen...
    All I can Say is...HA!...HA!...HAAAAAAA!!!!!

  5. #5

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    Quote Originally Posted by StrangeCat
    all I can say is the mind is the body so ZEN...yea that's right drugs are not needed as everything is psychological and I mean it. Becoming depressed or feeling down is based on dwelling on something negitive it takes mind power to push these feelings away and keep going.
    So, you'd tell an AIDS patient to what... just "will" their body to make the right antibodies? How bout a cancer patient - c'mon, in this case their own bodies are growing in ways that shouldn't be happening. Make it stop with your mind alone.

    Chemical imbalances cause depression (and lots of other stuff) - thats what the drugs are developed to do - correct these varied imbalances. Sometimes it's something that can be dealt with in therapy only. That's for a doctor and patient to decide. You have absolutely no clue what is causing the trouble in this case, and do ya think for one moment that anything you just said would be constructive to someone who has a legitimate -physical- problem?

  6. #6
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Out of my Mind

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    I have panic disorders, 10 of 13 possible sleep disorders, chemical depression, and agoraphobia - the whole package. I have been on medications for 12 years. The Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc) inhibit more than serotonin. They have, on many occasions brought my work to a standstill. The only solution I have found is to make sure that you are on the best possible medication for you (least side effects) and the lowest possible dose that still allows you to function. This can be dangerous and must be done under close supervision by a doctor. There are, in fact, doctors who specifically deal with these disorders as they relate to artists.

    The medications saved my life, but have also caused untold problems themselves. There are ways to find balance though. It is very difficult, but can be done. The worst thing would be to alter your dose or quit taking it without a doctor to supervise.

    Best of luck,

    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  7. #7

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    I just wanted to say that this is a brave thread and I admire the hell out of all contributors, especially SWL for starting it...and wishing you well and sending support from a brother musician...


  8. #8

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    I have been on Celexa (Cipramil here in the UK) for nearly 5 years, and I can't tell you what a benefit it has been - I did all the counselling stuff and was tried on other SSRI's but no joy. Different SSRI's work best for different people, so there is a certain amount of trial and error, but don't get downhearted if you try one and feel crap - there will be one that works for you with minimum side effects. With all SSRI's you WILL get side effects for a couple of weeks, but stick with it, as these mostly go away after this initial period.

    I do agree with getting to as low a dose as you can manage, but don't feel you HAVE to quit them either. Some people need these pills forever, as they are genetically prone to the chemical imbalance that can cause depression, whereas others it can just be a phase.

    I don't find, personally, that SSRI's cause lack of creativity, but I certainly had this problem before I took them - the lethargy and negative feeling were most destructive.

    Good luck

  9. #9

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    thank you all for the kind outpouring of support -- i knew i probably wasnt the only one here - i have very few i can turn to at the moment that are not detatched from the situation, feels weird typing this on an open forum - but im hoping it can be theraputic for myself, and maybe others.

    I am still seeing a therapist hopefully soon - the meds were prescribed by a family doc ... i hope the both monitor the effects.

    Be back soon, need to take care of some things.

  10. #10

    Re: SSRI's (paxil, prozac, etc) and Creativty

    I'm 53 now. When I was 17 my father decided that my refusal to have my hair cut was a sign of mental illness and brought me to a so-called renowned psychiatrist. The psychiatrist agreed with him and also decided that I was depressed. I was put on Valium and some other drug whose name I can't remember.

    I was on these medications up until I was 25, and the dosages got higher and higher until I was exceeding the hospitalization-mandatory levels. I started to suffer from panic attacks constantly. Eventually, it led to full-blown psychotic episodes, complete with wild hallucinations, voices in my head, you name it.

    When I presented myself at a hospital casualty department during one of these, they wanted to commit me to a state-run institution. I adamantly refused, and they finally offered me a day-centre. There, another psychiatrist hit the roof when he found out what the first one had been doing, and eventually cold-turkeyed me on all medication.

    Even though he was a butthead in other ways (he lost all my early creative writing after he'd specifically asked to see it), he still gave me the best advice I ever got. The day he told me I had to go cold turkey on everything, he held up my bottle of pills and said: "The answer to your problems is not going to be found in here, nor is it going to be found in ANY bottle of pills. The answer is in YOUR head, and your head alone. I can't find it for you. No one can. Only you."

    It was like being reborn. I finally realised that I was truly alone in the universe, and responsible for myself. If I couldn't help myself, no one could.

    It took me more than a year to get back to health, but I did it, alone, as I had to, without any help from anyone. I've never taken any prescribed psychotropics since, and I've never felt the need to, either. Nor have I trusted any doctor. Daily, I have to live with painful physical reminders that the entire medical profession is as replete with incompetent morons and charlatans as any other.

    I have no idea whether this story is worth anything to those who suffer from depression, but it's my story, for what it is.

    Take care of yourselves.

    Kind regards.

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