About a year ago, after a period that was nothing short of an emotional perfect storm, I started taking prescribed medication for anxiety.
Full story? I had been avoiding getting on this kind of medication for basically my entire life. What I’ve realized is that this was in large part because I thought that my anxiety was directly linked to both my personality and my creativity. Turns out, I was deeply wrong about that, which is why I’m writing about it on Ms. in the Biz.
There seems to be a recurring issue with my friends in creative industries. Many of us have a misconception that our vices, struggles, or perceived flaws are actually some kind of magical superpower that make us talented. That our struggling makes us interesting. That we’re artistic and that’s why we’re torturing ourselves. Oh boy, is that all a lie.
While I don’t speak for everyone, I can tell you that since treating my anxiety I have not only been exponentially happier in all aspects of my life, but I’ve also been infinitely more creative. On top of that, I’ve had so much more free time that used to be taken up by stress that I wrote two screenplays last year, I said yes to a boatload of things I normally never would have, and I enjoyed myself more than I have in as long as I can remember. I also don’t feel like I’ve become a “different person,” which was a huge fear I had going into this experience, I just feel literally like myself with less anxiety… go figure.
Of course, I don’t think medication is necessarily right for everyone—and certainly go with the advice of a doctor and/or therapist in this area—but I do think that I could have saved myself years of unnecessary stress had I done something proactive about my anxiety sooner. Moving forward, I’m going to keep reminding myself that whether I need or choose to stay on medicine, take a mental health day away from work every now and then, or make any kind of change that makes my life better… I’m not going to let anything, including and maybe especially my own perceived biases, stop me from doing what I need to in order to be happy. Life is way too short to be anything but the happiest version of yourself.
So, my call to you is to check in with yourselves, take care of yourselves, and please do not be afraid of doing something that helps you feel better. Whether it’s getting a therapist, or joining a hiking club, or taking a pill every morning.
I promise that you’ll be just as creative, talented, and interesting even if you’re also really, truly happy.