Although this topic may be taboo, or not talked about at all, writing on medication can be an obstacle. When I first started anti-anxiety medication, I thought it would affect my writing. I figured it would stifle the flow of ideas by making my brain zombified and non-creative. In fact, I found that it didn’t affect my writing at all, but I was lucky. It’s not this way for everyone.
A lot of writers I know are on some form of anti-depression or anxiety meds, in fact, most people I know, regardless of being creative, are on something. It isn’t something to be hidden or ashamed of: I embrace my anxiety disorder and tell people that the medication changed my life for the better. I remember thinking, when I first started it, ‘If this affects my writing, I’m not taking it.’ I was prepared to have panic attacks and be anxious in order to keep my creative output flowing. Luckily, my meds didn’t interfere with my writing, so I was able to overcome the panic attacks and keep writing.
Some medication will obviously not work in this way, it will make you numb, and it will stop the flow of writing. As with all meds, you can switch and change (under the supervision of your advising physician) until you find one that fits with your life. I’ve taken different medication before, and the one I’m on now has made me cloudy. You feel like you haven’t woken up properly. Your body is moving and you’re speaking, but you aren’t all there. In time the cloud moves along, and you return to semi-normal, then after even longer, normal. It’s important to take care of your mental health first, then work with your doctor to try and get on a path back to the keyboard.
It isn’t anything to be ashamed of, or kept secret, but if you feel uncomfortable telling people, then it’s just between you and your GP. You might find other people are on the same medication or can give you opinions of meds that they took and liked or didn’t like. I’m on Effexor. I take it at night, so if the cloud comes in, I’m asleep. I don’t get anxiety anymore and my writing has continued on as normal. What’s happened for the better is, I don’t spend weekends stressing and fretting about something at work; it gets pushed aside and then I’m allowed to write uninterrupted. For me, that’s an improvement. If your mental health is interfering with your creative processes, your productivity and your overall wellbeing, consult with doctor about options, because it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you or someone you know are having issues and need to talk to someone please approach your doctor or click here for a list of helplines worldwide.