So after my recent bout of depression, I’ve been reading a lot about possible causes besides the standard, ‘chemical imbalance’ schtick.
Turns out, there’s no actual evidence that people who are depressed make less serotonin [or any other neurotransmitters that antidepressants tweak] than so-called ‘normal’ people. I read an interesting book by Bruce Levine about the depression epidemic in the US, and I tend to agree with his analysis that people who are depressed aren’t crazy or chemically imbalanced. We might not even be abnormal.
It’s interesting how things coalesce to bring about new understanding at just the right moment, but as I’ve learned about our consumer culture and just how completely dysfunctional and unhealthy it is [both for us and our entire planet] I’m starting to wonder if my inability to function in my world has less to do with my malfunction and more to do with the insanity of the culture in which I live.
Levine likened sensitive people who are prone to depression to the ‘canaries in the coalmine’. We might just be an advance warning that the way we’re living is unsustainable.
Which is all fine and good, except for fact that so many of us are now taking medications to function in bedlam instead of figuring out how to change things so that we can thrive without needing to numb our minds and spirits in order to exist without extreme suffering.
We’re still suffering, we just don’t care anymore.
I’ve noticed that since I started taking a seizure med [Lamictal] and antidepressant in combination, I’ve been a lot less moody and reactive to the things that happen in my life. But I’ve also lost my creativity. I no longer have the intense need to write down what I’m feeling or going through, and I’ve lost the desire to create art, whether with paints, clay, or words.
I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I mean, I’m not saying I’m some great talent or anything, but art is something I enjoy immensely, and something I’m proud of. Art is something that not everyone is able to do, and my art is something that no one else on the planet can do.
Whether it’s brilliant to anyone but me, it’s still uniquely something only I can offer the world.
I find myself wondering if, knowing that the sadness I sometimes feel isn’t abnormal, and that it will always pass eventually, I might be better equipped to explore the pain and express it through my art and writing.
Pain and suffering are universal. No one gets through life without it. But not everyone can put that pain into words, music, or pictures and share it with others.
Maybe there’s a reason for my sensitivity that I hadn’t thought of before. Maybe my gift to the world is to express my pain so that others know they’re not alone.