Yeehaw! Today I got my hair did, it's warm again, I'm working hard, and feeling good. Sometimes I don't feel so good, which is why I take an anti-depressant. I cannot emphasize enough how much my life has changed for the better in the four years since I made that choice. Drugs may not be for everyone, and they certainly don't guarantee happiness, but I would not be the working artist I am now if I wasn't taking a little pill every morning.

A lot of people believe in the "tortured artist" stereotype; if you're not miserable, you can't create great art. I'm interested in whether that concept holds any truth, which is why I was super jazzed to discover this book called Poets on Prozac: Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process, which is a collection of essays by different poets and their experiences. It just came in the mail, and I can't wait to read it.

There is no way I would have written the hundreds of poems that I have in the past few years if I wasn't being treated for depression. Let alone having them judged by my peers and professors every day. I tend to shut down when I can't be perfect. But I was able to accept criticism, make something better, and move on.

Going to grad school for writing was a monumental step for me, one that allowed me to have the confidence to start my own business based entirely on my own (sometimes imperfect) creations.

Now I'm going to drink some mint juleps on the back porch.


Squidhelmet said...

I didn't know this stuff, but now I do.

You're awesome Polly!

Love Zeb

ps - I just came back from vegas and inherited a bunch of boxes of paper that I had left at my Mom's house, which included a bunch of notes we'd written in Mr. Leonard's class to entertain ourselves - gold!

J.D. Smith said...

Good morning.

As one of the contributors to Poets on Prozac, I am grateful that you are taking the time to read the book, which is mentioned briefly in today's New York Times.

All best wishes,

J.D. Smith

Squidhelmet said...

Whoa. That's an awesome comment to get!

Jen said...

I just jumped on this link from "you might also like", and I know it was posted ages ago but had to comment. I'm very similar to you with the depression/creativity combo... I went a good few years without shooting a photo (besides a simple snapshot) during a certain period. I even tried to force myself a couple of times and it was totally useless. The criticism thing rings true, as well. Just the thought of it was devastating. Thanks for sharing ;)

You are very inspiring, go pollyannacowgirl!!