In the spirit of refusing to allow depression to be a stigma, this is going to be a fairly open post (and long).
As I have alluded to on Facebook and twitter recently, I am in the midst of withdrawal symptoms from the anti-depressant drug Effexor. This drug was prescribed for me in what I now see to be a quite offhand manner by my former doctor a number of years ago. It was a mistake then, and it is a mistake now. At best, this drug is emotional Novocain; it creates a numbness which can allow one to function, in a distant and disconnected manner.
Withdrawal, even after tapering down the dosage, can be hellish. In addition to the physical symptoms of almost constant dizziness, the emotional side affects, are, well, let’s just say to I don’t have to go to Canada’s Wonderland to ride a roller coaster right now. What I have noticed though is that over the last couple of days when I am busy doing photography the emotional side effects of the withdrawal are kept in check. This afternoon I was at a photography workshop (shooting dance in a studio setting), and despite having had an extremely rough morning emotionally, with the camera in my hand, I felt OK, maybe even better than OK. The camera was a better therapy than any drug.
Also, this past Friday night I was part of the choir singing at a fundraiser concert at St. Thomas’s church, to support our choir tour in England this summer. While I no longer call myself religious in a conventional sense, in a similar sense, performing the music was transcendent, and I am thinking in particular of the final piece of the program, Herbert Howell’s Te Deum. Howell himself in many ways was a tragic figure, who faced many personal difficulties in his life, but the beauty and power of his music allowed him to rise above his pain. The last phrase of his Te Deum is “Let me never be confounded.” Partially a prayer, but in this setting of the words, joyous and triumphant. While I am singing, making photographs, writing, acting or any other creative endeavour, for that moment at least I am in a place where nothing else seems to matter.
Creativity is the most powerful weapon I have.
I refuse to let this current challenge beat me.
I will never be confounded.