I wanted to write about at least one possible reason writers write. I know there are many. There are also lots of books and articles about the mental fragility of some creative people, writers, artists, musicians. I've not read no where near enough to say I'm an expert. But I'm a generalist so I generally know what's out there on the subject. Depression is common. Bipolar disorder, too. This last episode of depression for me that was brought on by lidocaine had me thinking about the reasons I write and, specifically, write poetry.
Why did I suddenly have the urge to write that day? Why was I so driven to write poetry?
It took less than a couple of hours for me to feel a change. I must be really sensitive or it was significant enough to catch my attention. I knew I had a sudden, extreme sadness that had no external event to cause it. Maybe I was thinking of something sad, but there was no reason for me to immediately start to cry, which is what I did. Shortly, thereafter, I had tingling around my mouth.
Both depression and the tingling are rare side effects of the lidocaine spray. When I went in to see my ENT doctor earlier that morning, asking about the sores in my throat, he had sprayed (what I later found out was) lidocaine up my nose. Nasty tasting stuff. My guess is the small bit that I swallowed when it went down the back of my throat, was enough to cause the side effects.
I could say so many things about lidocaine, insinuating that it's the reason there's been a rise in the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, but I have no authority in the matter. No medical background. I didn't even take chemistry in high school! I can, however, tell you what I was thinking and feeling as I went through this sudden sadness.
I've been depressed before. In fact, I've had major depression with psychotic features. Not fun at all. That's some place I hope to never visit again. So when I started getting the lidocaine depression, I was on alert. I hadn't taken any psychotropic drugs since 2007. Since the spray was something that I've never had before, the change in the way I felt within two hours was distinct enough to make me think it was the spray. Research online told me it was very likely the cause even if it said it was rare.
It's a strange feeling of being alone in a sad and empty house when I wasn't alone at all. If you have Blue October's Approaching Normal CD, look at the sleeve cover and inside. There are pictures from the inside of an old farmhouse with a few items from the 50s and older like an iron bed and tv. The first time I saw those pictures, I had the eerie, deserted feeling. Yet, there was someone there, a girl, much like the depression I felt.
By the 5th day, I was in mental pain, almost like anxiety. I couldn't stand the depression anymore. It had only gotten worse and I still had the tingling feeling around the mouth. I had tried to call the ENT doctor, but was only able to leave a message, which was not returned. I was desperate. I was scared. I felt very much alone as no one seemed to know how much mental pain I was in, including my husband. (But that was mostly my fault for not telling him.) I decided to take Metaxalone. It was given to me for my back pain just a few months before, but I had read it works in the central nervous system. Since the nervous system's health, or lack thereof, can result in depression, then what harm could it do to try Metaxalone? Keep in mind that the websites I was reading said not to take antidepressants with this type of depression from lidocaine.
After I took it, I sat down curled up on the couch to write. I didn't want to do what I normally did once the boys were asleep. No cleaning anything or even getting on the computer for fun. I didn't want to do anything, but write. I sat for a while, actually feeling worse and worse. And wrote this on September 17, 2012:
Fear grips at my consciousness
like cold wind on exposed skin.
There's no blanket or heater
to give me warm thoughts again.
I hear the tinkling of lullaby and the hum
of an empty kitchen I did not clean.
Everything is the same as before
...except me, altered by the unseen.
What catalyst exists to throw me askew
down a detour I did not choose?
It toys with sanity, death, and doom
as I clutch wisdom I'd rather not lose.
The next day, I felt 100% better. Whether it was truly Metaxalone that got rid of the depression, I can't say for sure. I think it did. It made me think and research a bit about the brain. I was thinking that if lidocaine disrupted normal brain functioning at least in part, then perhaps writing was a way I was trying to detour past it or even jump start those affected areas. Again, I'm no expert in the brain and creativity area. I can, however, see the benefits of trying to physically write with pen and paper (what I did that day), how it would work in the brain to activate certain areas or activity. Logic, creativity, organization, language, etc. Ah, poetry and it's many facets! Writing poetry could be my brain's attempt to get back to normal. Not just to make sense of my altered world, but to put back into place what was there before, whatever biochemistry that may involve. I can see it like trying to jump start a car. Maybe even physical therapy when you've temporarily lost your ability to walk.
Not enough is known about serotonin or even how those antidepressants work, much less Metaxalone. The brain will be a mystery for a lot longer, but it's nice to know that I can still be creative when I'm at my mentally lowest point. Now if only I could profit off all these attempts my brain has made!
Please comment if you've had an experience similar to mine! I can't be alone, could I? Questions are welcomed, too. If you have any suggestions of good books or articles online about the brain, creativity, depression, etc., let me know. As always, I'm open to feedback. Thanks!