Thursday, August 13, 2009

How psychologically healthy Lexapro made me

TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, on nurturing creativity. Watch it now, it's better than the stuff I make.

Watching this, I didn't feel any anxiety. Elizabeth Gilbert talked a lot about how creative people are paralyzed by fear. I used to be afraid that I'd never make anything good. Worse, I was afraid that I'd make on one thing that's really awesome and that I would never be that awesome again.

Ever since coming off Lexapro, whenever I have a thought, maybe I'm not using my gift as well as I should, maybe I'm not going to become a top professor, maybe I can't cut it as a professor at all, I banish that thought as terribly unhealthy, because all of those things could be true, but the blame that they put on me is false. I keep saying, "And then what?"

I want to be the best scientist ever, I have that as a wish, but which scientist doesn't? We all want to be the best scientist ever, we're defining ourselves in terms of how much funding we get or how many papers we write or which university hires us and how well ranked it is. Except, now, I have a deep awareness of my wish to be the best scientist ever, or even my wish to be a useful scientist, and I hold those loosely.

The existentialists were all mopey over whether there's any ultimate meaning in the universe, and were oppressed by the weight of holding up one's own meaning. I don't know what meaning is supposed to mean. This isn't a category in my thought process. It used to be, but it isn't now, and when I think back over all of my thoughts about meaning, I can't relate to them, they're incoherent in my current mindset. I was worried all the time about these deep, big, infinite, cosmic issues. Then I took Lexapro, and it made those problems worse. It made those worries so bad that I had to lose them.

This is very relieving.

1 comment:

  1. Your measure of success shouldn't be other peoples reactions. It should be your own appreciation and contentment with your work. Not that your motivation should be selfish, just that no one has the answers anyway so why let their opinion get you down. Meaning isn't assigned, it's chosen by you. Also, the notion of there every being a "best" scientist is silly.

    Good video by the way, I thought it was interesting. The more of myself I put into anything I do creatively the happier I am with it, regardless of anyone else s opinion. Fuck 'em right?