Blog on, in colour

When I first embarked on the blogging journey, I considered that if I were ever to become psychotic again, it might be necessary to ban me from the computer. Just in case I was channelling some reality TV host. Or telling all my family secrets. Or posing in the nude, shudder. Or in some other way being really, really embarassing. But I wasn't psychotic, not in the least. Just depressed and anxious and fearful. All tangled up. As I untangle, I'm starting to feel very sane and sensible again, but in glorious technicolour. There's no doubt in my mind that the medication I'm taking has a slightly disinhibiting effect on me. I remember this effect from when I first started taking an SSRI in the nineties. Luckily all my flakey action this time around is happening on the interweb, commenting far and wide with gay abandon (instead of the usual constipated foot in mouth scenario) and not at inner city parties or in seedy bars.  Anyway.

There's a lot of reasons one might choose not to blog about this aspect of life, perhaps donning an apron and offering pink cupcakes with a forced smile (imagery courtesy of h&b in her comment on Black dog, thank you) but that's not really my way. Much as I love a cupcake, I'm a tell it like it is kind of gal. It makes me feel better, it lessens my inclination to grind my teeth. (As an aside, I can't believe how much better my teeth are now I'm on the drugs). That's not to say I don't have boundaries, I do. As does everyone, which of course I respect. This just doesn't cross any of mine. The way I see it, there's still plenty of stigma attached to mental illness. That won't ever go away if people act all guilty and ashamed. So I decided after being hospitalised for the psychosis that I was going to talk about it as though it were any other illness. Which my family has been really good about. I've been pleasantly surprised at how people react. It's not like I talk about it often (except here), but if it comes up, it comes up and I don't pretend. Sometimes I even joke about it.

Looking back, I was way more worried about taking the medication than I let on. Not anymore. Indeed I am rather enjoying it. A sense of calm and order has returned to my head and I can do things, see things. Without struggle. I know there's lots of things that have to be sorted out but this last week I've wondered if I'm going through some euphoric drug honeymoon. Perhaps, maybe. I was talking with my sister about it yesterday and she thought maybe this is how I'm meant to feel, meant to see, once my brain untangled. I can see now that the black cloud I was living in was affecting my vision very directly. Now that it's lifted, everything appears so bright. Which of course it really is, because we're at the end of a hot Australian summer and the light can be blinding.

One of the things I've been considering is how vision might affect my mood. My drug of choice in the bad old days was pot. I was drawn to the way I could always return to the same head space, how it made narrative come alive in my head and how it made me see the world in brighter colours and more intricate detail. When I stopped smoking daily, I worried that I might never be able to see like that again. Of course, the seeing came back. And the clear head is such a bonus. So why did I think I needed a drug to summon something that was inside me all along? When I'm depressed, the good kind of seeing becomes harder and harder to reach until it goes away altogether. And it's horrible. So you use what's to hand, what seems to work at the time. And tell yourself that it's OK. All those wasted years watching the pretty patterns..

I asked the doctor about it today and she said that it was a good sign that I felt the world was bright again. So here's the question. Is it the medication that have made me see again? Or the absence of blackness? It is very hard to see in the dark, that much is obvious. But do I feel less dark because I can see again? 


  1. Can it be a bit of both?
    I'm glad you are feeling better. I remember that same feeling when I first started taking anti-depressants - it was a real "aha" moment ... "so this is how everyone else sees the world! It isn't all dark and depressing and hopeless, but bright and full of possibility."

  2. I'm not sure what the answers to your questions are, but I do you've got a book title there in something like 'the absence of blackness' - when you're ready...

  3. I love the way your photos show the progression from dark to light, and I'm glad to hear that you are seeing colour and light again. Beyond that, I don't think I can answer your questions either. However, I do admire you for blogging about your struggles with the darkness, for having the courage to say, "Hey, I'm not going to let this illness own me..."

  4. Blog on all about it, I say. It's your blog after all, and anything that contributes to understanding is a good thing.

  5. God knows why there are now 4 comments the same from me - don't worry I'm not that forceful that I did it on purpose for extra emphasis!!

  6. Hey Bec and VictoriaE, I've deleted the duplicate comments, just for clarity and not because I mind. Pity typepad doesn't have a duplicate comment mechanism like wordpress which often presents me with "looks like you've already said this.."
    Or maybe typepad's playing up.
    Anyway, thank you everybody for the lovely comments.

  7. It's a reasonable question to ask.
    But academic.

  8. I love the way your photos of the leaf and bowl gradually revealed themselves.
    I admire the way you speak publicly about mental health openly without a self pitying tone. Oh and I dmire you for commentingly with gay abandon. Should be more of these things.

  9. Hey there muppinstuff
    It is so unnerving yet so liberating to actually talk (or blog) about mental illness, isn't it?
    I am not sure whether it is a "because" or a "despite" or an whatever, but I am glad the colour is coming back into the picture!

  10. i adore how your photos reveal the perspective, wow. i suspect it is a bit of both but so long as it is working, its all good i think :)
    i love how you share yourself so freely with us, you are so beautiful!

  11. I loved the unveiling of the leaf in the water. the image becoming clearer and clearer, from a blur to an object identified.
    You, my friend, are an artiste.
    Blog on.

  12. Thanks for this. I don't want to sound sappy but you blogging about this helps me understand more about what some friends and family have gone through.