Medicated Artist: The Past Month Just Drips Away

Note: FULL DISCLOSURE: I wrote this entire post back on October 29. In the week since then I’ve felt like a barge on the ocean during a big storm and some of my cargo slipped into the deep dark water. And then I didn’t feel like that. And then I did again. And on and on and on until today. But, anyway, here’s how I had been feeling up until a few days ago.

Medicated Artist: The Past Month Just Drips Away
This is a guitar. October 18, 2013.

I’ve been thinking about attempting to write another one of these Medicated Artist posts for a few weeks now. After writing this one, though, the floor beneath me just dropped right away. Maybe it had already dropped away, but either way I was feeling completely terrible.

I BLAME THE MEDICATION.

My antidepressant dosage went higher just around that time, about a month ago, and I felt like I just wanted to tear out all my veins. Really. I’d take a pill and just think, “FUCK. DO NOT WANT TO TAKE ANYMORE.”

I couldn’t really concentrate on anything. I was NOT pleasant to live with or be around. I felt angry all the time. I was seriously ready to stop taking the drugs. Here’s what I looked like (this is an actual photograph):

Medicated Artist: September 24, 2013
Self Portrait. September 24, 2013.

But I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment to go over all that for another two weeks, in the middle of October, and so I just kind of GUTTED IT OUT. (“Gutting it out” means that you PLAY THROUGH THE PAIN if you’re playing a sport. I never did that when I played a sport. I did not like to gut it out.)

Anyway, by the time I went to my check up I was kind of feeling better. Like, I looked back and said to myself, “Hey, Self, last week wasn’t so bad, and this week has been a little bit better than that.” And it was getting harder and harder to get down on myself. To feel that small failures were huge. To even notice small failures as anything more than attempts.

I even tried to get down on myself. I’d sit alone and think about whatever usually gets me depressed. And I’d kind of laugh. The thoughts would just kind of float away. Which was weird.

That shouldn’t feel strange, but it did. That doesn’t feel natural to me, but in some way it sort of felt more like me. It’s hard to explain.

And now, a couple weeks later, it still feels like each day gets clearer and clearer (if not more and more unnatural feeling). I look at my face in the mirror and I see something strange. I know it’s me, but it’s a different view. I don’t know what I’m seeing that’s different, or how it’s different, but it is. And, again, the image looks more like me. It sort of looks like this:

Medicated Artist: October 18, 2013
Self Portrait: October 18, 2013.

It’s just like everything that I used to hold on to that depressed me is dripping away. A snake shedding its skin.

Now…how has that affected my art? I’ve been writing more. It’s seemingly easier to do. It’s starting to be fun again. And I’ve been playing more music and enjoying that for once. I’m beginning to look forward to sitting down and practicing guitar, to singing old folk songs. To recording the Talkin’ Headline Blues each week. So that’s been good.

I still haven’t written any new songs, which I’m not too worried about (actually, I’m not worried at all). That’ll come. I sort of feel like I still need to get a hold on how my eyes work now. How my head works when I move my hands (most times it still feels like my head is floating above my body and my hands are moving themselves). I’ll get used to that, though, I’m sure. Plus, I got hooked up to play in a songwriter night coming up on November 4 at the Hungry Brain. Things like that usually have some sort of impact. So that’ll be interesting to see if I write anything in the weeks after performing a show. (It’ll also be interesting to perform since I haven’t since about March or so. Details about the show are here, if you want to see how it goes.)

So, anyway. I’m just rolling along.

Medicated Artist: Are You With Me?

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