“While modern capitalism constantly develops new needs in order to increase consumption, people’s dissatisfaction remains the same as ever. Their lives no longer have any meaning beyond a rush to consume, and this consumption is used to justify the increasingly radical frustration of any creative activity or genuine human initiative — to the point that people no longer even see this lack of meaning as important.” - Pierre Canjuers, Socialisme ou Barbarie #27

Friday, 6 May 2016

Next Steps

Three months into my experiment, I realise I've hit a rut.  This is frustrating.  By nature I'm a lazy person, and this part of me is starting to take control.  It occurred to me recently that if I suddenly won the lottery (unlikely, as I don't usually play) I would probably do very little but eat, read, fart about on the internet, and sleep.  I say to myself I'd start up all kinds of ambitious, radical and charitable projects for the betterment of the human race (myself included) but I don't think that's the truth.  I'd stay inside, away from things that annoy me.  Which is a lot of things.  Actually nearly all of the things.

The thought occurs to me now that the medication I've been taking for the last eleven years - Fluoxetine, better known as Prozac - may have something to answer for here.  Eleven years is a long time.  Perhaps laziness is only second nature, and not my first.  From a teenager to the age of about 21, my brain was burning with ideas I could barely contain.  I used to write music and poetry and scraps of novels and stories, and let myself be taken over by the ecstasy of the creative urge as often as it called.  It was terrible and it was wonderful and gave me joy.  Then it faded, to cut a long story short.  I went off the rails, if I was ever on them to begin with, my mind full of nothing but horrible self-destructive images that terrified me half to death for just long enough before Prozac came along and gave me a liveable life again.

Survival has meant compromise.  I developed 'Pure O' OCD, a generally 'unseen' condition that's horrible even to describe, let alone experience, after a sudden onset in my final year of university.  Life was good at the time - I loved being a philosophy student and why the symptoms came on as they did, and so suddenly, had no obvious psychological explanation.  I wasn't feeling anxious or depressed.  Life was simple and carefree.  I wonder if the mental stimulation of reading and studying day after day triggered something in my brain to slow me down.  It didn't seem like that at the time, but if so, that certainly worked.  I haven't really been able to concentrate on anything so intensely since.  And that's what I want to do: concentrate.

So now I'm faced with the choice of weaning myself off a medication that has effectively kept me alive into adulthood.  I went to see my GP last week to ask about this.  He said it was a matter of "balancing risk".  This was an intelligent observation.  On the dose of 60mg, I can wean myself down to 40mg, and then to 20mg, dropping the dose each month.  If it doesn't work - and by "doesn't work", I mean if symptoms become intolerable again, I can always up the dose again.  But if it does, I feel I would have a lot to gain.  I think I'll give it a go.  I'm scared.