"Dear Prudence" by Amanda Grieme

Friday, August 13, 2010

Paging Doctor Freedman...Voices

3/23 - Voices

Paging Dr. Freedman -

Granted, I know that you are a psychiatrist, and that your job is to medicate the mentally-ill, with every good intention of regulating their mood to a stable state of functionality, and in some cases, rationality, but I am curious about something. Does the old cliche also apply to your profession, “it takes one to know one?” As a seasoned musician, you must feel that this is the case. I know that it is sometimes difficult for a person who doesn’t understand music to fully appreciate it as multifaceted, rather than just a sensory stimulus that is either pleasing or not. I also know that although I love fine art, I can never entirely feel a piece of work, because I haven’t been trained in the technical aspect of how to create a great work of art. I can find it aesthetically pleasing, but I cannot fully understand the time and muscle that went into it. Do you know where I am going with this? Can you empathize with those of us who have mental and/or chemical afflictions, or do you feel that your medical expertise will suffice? I’m just curious.

Personally, I feel that regardless of whether or not you are certifiable, you are a tremendous doctor, and are current and well-versed in your profession. I also think that your passion for music is what makes you that way. When a person knows music in his/her soul, the senses are no longer separate entities; they meld, and the result is color that drips from a person’s presence, like that of children, before they become adulterated by life stuff. It is a clean intellectual energy, and you have it. There is nothing clinical about you except your keen understanding of your profession. You are lucky.

Yesterday, I experienced what it feels like to not take any meds again, and it felt new, or maybe just different. I ran out of lithium, and I didn’t take it for a day and ½. Dr. Freedman, the fog lifted for a while, and I felt again. My senses were alive, and I could breathe again. Even a headache felt good, because I was aware of its pounding. Do you know what I mean? It was really hard for me to swallow that pill today; it was like saying goodbye to my old self, even if she was unstable. I’m writing from beneath that lonely fog.

I leave you with an interesting excerpt that I read in the April 2004 issue of Prevention magazine, entitled “Get Inside Van Gogh’s Brain” by Susan Hayes:

“Creativity’s personal cost: If you paint like Van Gogh or write poetry like Sylvia Plath, you’re also at higher risk for madness. Could faulty brain wiring be the link between insanity and artistry? The evidence: Both schizophrenics and highly creative people possess leaky “sensory filters” – low latent inhibition, say researchers from Harvard and the University of Toronto. Their brains let in more sights, sounds, and sensations than normal. With a high IQ and a good memory, the input may be thrilling. Yet it can also be overwhelming – even deadly. To momentarily glimpse life as Plath, Van Gogh, or Mozart did (without the risk), pay close attention to a work they created. ‘I think that great artists decrease the levels of latent inhibition in those who see or hear their works,’ says researcher Jordan Peterson, PhD.”

Regards, Ana

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