Richard M. Berlin: Poets on Prozac Mental Illness Treatment and the Creative Process

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For years the cornerstone study of artists and emotional disorder been Kay Redfield Jamison s TOUCHED BY FIRE which consigns its subjects from Byron to Plath to bipolar disease How much sensible and efreshing to hear those labelled as anxious depressed or manic speak for themselves Of particular interest to local No Limits (Brutal Master readers will be Andrew Hudgins s Chemical Zen Hudgins says what many of his brother and sister poets collected in Berlin s book do chemical intervention has not made them less or creative or prolific Medication s gift is allowing for a open andelaxed means of living leading to a creativity that is generous in Liar, Liar regard to the world freed from the tics and constraints we all develop to some degree functioning in an environment that has us all crazybusy and on permanent sensory overload Chase Twichell s essay here is also highly to be commended for its clarity and candorSince writing this briefeview for the TENNESSEAN before it ceased it publish book Essays One reviews I have discovered some uotations I wrote to aid in the writing of the original piece I include these below not only to add to this item but also in hopes that others might find help therein and wish toead POETS ON PROZAC itself which possesses a Femmes, si vous saviez... : 83 questions-rponses, hormones, mnopause, ostoporose resonance I believe extends much farther than the confines of the poetry communityImplicit in poetry is the notion that we are deepened by heartbreak that we are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief by ourefusal to vanish to let others vanish without leaving a verbal ecord Edward HirschFirst of all new mothers senses are acute an adaptive strategy to increase the chances of an infant s survival Also Poets on Prozac shatters the notion that madness fuels creativity by giving voice to contemporary poets who have battled myriad psychiatric disorders including depression schizophrenia post traumatic stress disorder and substance abuseThe sixteen essays collected her.

Hey e hardwired to protect their infants causing the apid and steady elease of adrenalin This adrenalin eleaseoften leads to sleeplessness and a greater isk of anxiety attacksThis is probably why non Western cultures pampered and protected new mothers in the calm and uiet of their houses during the first month after giving birth While doing the month female friends and midwives assisted the new mothers with household tasks ensuring social seclusion and a mandated est period ecognizing her vulnerability and state of transition into the motherhood ole New mothers in other lands were surroundd by their grandmoms mommies a whole cache of aunties Martha Silano In the Country of MotherhoodDepression steals the voice Silence breeds depression Depression breeds silence assisted by my changed brain chemistryI learn to wait in the silence instead of fighting it I experience it as a friend instead of enemy I gain the focus and follow through to discover the exact words and images to express what I want to say This comes with experience as a writer the you write the you ead the you learn and I also attribute my increase in sensibillity to medication which makes me less driven willing to wait The opposite of instant gratification that horrible need to feel better and feel it now the bane of addicts and depressives everywhere Liza Porter Bruce Springsteen Sang to Me Reading and trying to write poetry at age nineteen was thrilling isolating and addictive both stimulant and narcotic It was my first drug I mean that uite literally My energy level ises sharply Tea which I have consumed in large uantities since childhood produ. E address many provocative uestions Does emotional distress inspire great work Is artistry enhanced or diminished by mental illness What effect does substance abuse have on esthetic vision Do psychoactive medications impinge on ingenuity Can treatment enhance inheren.

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Ces a very similar state and I so associate the two that I am unable to write without a cup of it nearby Chase Twichell i hate this book already so phew i don t have to ead it poetry and psychomedication should never mix except1 when the poet takes psychomedication in the privacy of her home or the publicity of the coffee shop the library the psychiatric ward etc in private ingestive acts having all to do with her personal needs and nothing to do with the words that issue from her fingers words exist independently of the poet s personal needs however profound such needs might feel to the poet and connected to the creative act she engages in2 when psychomedication appears in the poet s own ironic and winkingly mockingly self deprecatory bio on the back cover of her book but not or hardly ever at the bottom of her magazine or journal published poem where it would most likely fail to be ecognized as mocking and ironic and be ead as serious3 when psychomedication appears in the poet s poetry where words beat to the heartbeat of their own drum and drum a tune on the kitchen table but do not ever act as apologetic advertisements for pharmaceutical companies enticements to the ministration of a probably well emunerated psychiatrist or circumstantial evidential support of dubious scientific theories these are the only cases when poetry and psychomedication can mix all other cases are dubious and spurious and silly and should be obstructed with the sternest determination the end This book was surprisingly enjoyable The essays were well selected and comprehensively explored mental health treatment in elation to creativit. T talents or does elieving emotional pain shut off the creative processFeaturing examples of each contributor’s poetry before during and after treatment this original and thoughtful collection finally puts to est the idea that a tortured soul is one’s finest mu.