I think I'm dumb-- or maybe just happy.
November 16, 2012 3:23 AM Subscribe
Wellbutrin flattening out creativity?
posted by stoneandstar to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I've been on Wellbutrin for a little over a year, and it's working out pretty great. My baseline mood is much higher, it's way easier for me to snap out of negative scripts and self-talk, and my good moods are more impervious than they've ever been to challenges. My anxiety got a slight bump, but I find that avoiding caffeine (totally, even black tea) keeps me perfectly stable.
On the other hand, for about the last year, I have not been able to write. I write poetry. It's been a big part of my academic life and a major source of joy and pride for me. I've had some professional success in poetry that's led me to consider pursuing an MFA, and it's been a big component of my identity/personality for almost a decade. (Just emphasizing that it's something I enjoy and love and feel seriously about.) Since I started Wellbutrin, I've maintained the critical intelligence that I use in research writing, but I've felt no "spark," had very few ideas and a basically non-existent urge to write poetry at all. I took a workshop somewhere around five months into taking Wellbutrin and eked out some poetry for the requirements of the class, but even though I wrote things I'm now proud of on an intellectual and technical level, my heart wasn't in it and I felt a basic emotional incompetence in approaching my work.
So, it seems well-attested that a little emotional flattening is a result of an antidepressant, but in my case this has mostly been a good (great) thing-- keeping my head in a crisis, not feeling deep feelings of self-loathing or shame, not being overly influenced by guilt, and so on. But it so happens that this has dulled my edge when it comes to writing creatively. If I weren't invested in writing poetry, I wouldn't have noticed at all-- nothing feels "off" and I'm overall very satisfied with the drug. I'm less moody and it means I'm less dynamic, creatively. I realize now that much of the work I used to connect to was very sensual, emotional, intuitive-- whereas now I'm more impressed by technical skill and elegance and expressions of ennui. I would absolutely love to still feel deep (positive and negative) emotions while filtering out the self-hating ones, but maybe that's not how it works. In a way, it feels like I've matured a bit, but that feels a little self-deceiving in light of my disinterest in something I used to connect with.
Has anyone else been there before? What did you do? Should I shop around for a new antidepressant, or is this pretty much the pinnacle of effectiveness? It seems that searching for a "better" anti-depressant would be kind of bizarre since it does what it's meant to so well.
Oh, and a note: I'm not a regular smoker, but when I do have one or two cigarettes, I get bumped into a much more fluent mindset where I can generate thoughts and words much more prolifically. The same when I drink coffee and push into my anxiety. I suspect a touch of hypomania.