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Hi Da

Journaling has been a start and stop thing for me.  I always get excited about having a new empty journal with empty pages waiting  to be written on or drawn on.  I loved to get new markers or colored pencils, and have way too many!  So I realized that it was obsessive and probably younger parts were helping with the shopping. I'm getting to the point were I can say "no" to a new journal, although I recently bought one specifically for questions to my therapist and my doctor.

I have to say that my journals (diary) as a teenager ended up being really important since I sued my abuser and it was evidence. My doctor looked at my diary and we can see at least 3 parts' handwriting and that makes me realize I was not crazy. The DID diagnosis is indeed correct and understandable with what was going on. I wrote a lot of sad poetry and when I looked back at it there was evidence of parts and innuendos everywhere.

I don't journal too much now but do I have a new Disney journal, with a few entries since I bought it a couple months ago. This journal is specifically for positive things that I might have experienced during the day or something appreciative about myself. The Disney characters remind me to be happy.

I really liked your sharing of your own personal experience. I can relate to the burning issue. My attorney never sent me my file after I sued my abuser. It had my journals/poetry writings from when I was a teenager and the only copy of my hospitalization records in existence from that time period. I feel like I don't have the "complete" story without them.  I just wanted to know what was going on at the time I was 18 to verify memories that I have nearly 30 years later.  I've been surprised at how difficult it is to accept and be okay with the fact that I won't ever have those records.

And yes, everyone has different handwriting. It starts out mine and as that alter writes it changes. The little kid writing is little kid writing with backwards letters and numbers.  I've also been able to let one younger part color while I was totally present as an adult.


Meds didn't help me keep my creative energy flowing to produce. Typically they did the opposite.However since Ii went on Abilify in addition to my other meds, I find myself writing again, and I'm pleased with what I'm producing. I had barely written any poetry since my teens, and now Ii'm writing poetry and more. The "more" definitely needs more practice :) but Ii can practice now. Before the abilify, I couldn't. You might want to ask your doc about that.

However, BIG warning about Abilify. It is ridiculously EXPENSIVE. Please look it up on line BEFORE you let your doc write a script if you want to try it. There are ways to qualify for major financial help, but writing the script wrong can mess that up. Still, there is a plan b, for lack of a better phrase--and that too is very helpful.That's what I hopefully qualify for, and if so, I'll get it for free for the rest of the year.

I need to write, and Abilify is the only med that regularly allows me too. Before it, I wrote maybe once every 7-10 years. I think you're not alone in this.I wish none of us had this. I hope this helps!


Hi Dan,

when we began antidepressants in our teen years, we lost the ability to write, which was terrible and terrifying. We experienced the 'flat' feeling too. I didn't cry for years. when we first started the meds, there was a strange 'emptiness' in my head. i didn't know at that point i was multiple. i just knew that suddenly there were no voices in my head. it was eerily quiet in there. i just didn;t seem to produce thoughts at all. looking back we now believe that the blank empty sensation was what happened when all of the alters but one went into hiding from the medication. they didn't want their selves to be destroyed by the medication, so they retreated to protect themselves. what was left was the body (which was a disaster) and the one alter who stayed. we call her Vacant. I'm not sure that meds kill creativity- perhaps in "single" persons, they do. But for us, as a multiple, I think that the alters that housed the creative skills, talents, impulses etc simply went into hiding until they felt (many many years later, for some of them) safe to come back out. That's our theory.



Hey Dan,
Hope you feel a bit better today. I've been taking a variety of psych meds for 11 years now. I hate the side effects but in reality know I need these meds at this time in my life. I've gained about 60lb in 10 years. I am forgetful, sometimes just can't think which keeps me from working, and I really hate that. Sometimes my family comments that I am overmedicated and zombied out, that is why I'm not myself. (little do they know)
I know I will need Lithium for awhile. I went thru a rough cycle and had to take lg doses of Seroquel. I did not pick up a paintbrush or any artwork. It wasn't there in my head. nothing. blank. no colors or images. I'm still on Lithium but things in my system are rapidly changing and that causes a need for art.
So, yes the meds can change your energy level, mood etc. I think there are times where they are necessary. I'm going to talk to my doc about weaning a few carefully. Think about this though. If you were put on a new med, serious, symptom management drug then symptoms may also be causing artist block.Just a thought.
Take good care



Hi Dan,

I just learned about a valuable website with accurate info about medication side effects. It's

Here's a description directly quoted from the site itself:
"The resources available on are provided to offer visitors free and accurate information to aid in the understanding of various medications and conditions. The content on the site may help consumers formulate questions for medical professionals and alert the public about important information regarding potentially dangerous side effects associated with certain medications. By providing FDA alerts, drug interactions, and potential side effects on the site, patients have access to valuable knowledge that could enhance their ability to voice concerns with their doctor and improve their quality of care."

Check it out!

Lynn W.


I've taken psychiatric medications for the past 20 years and all of them have side effects for me. But I have found that the best thing I can do now is to eat lots of veggies every day, and make myself exercise for 30 minutes to an hour every single day and not eat junk food, and I write down all of this that I do, so I don't cheat myself. I also have to take digestive enzymes to help my body with food and this has help clarify my head. I have found that by not eating wheat, soy, or much dairy I think clearer and I can be creative. But this is just me. Okay, I'm not the same weight I was in high school, but I'm 100 pounds lighter than I was 4 years ago. My meds work for me, despite the side effects of sometimes being tired (I fight through that) or feeling like I have no purpose (that will pass). I'm healthier than I have been in years. Abilfy works well for me, but it does make me sleepy. I have to take anti anxiety medicines and a small amount of anti depressant as well. Good luck!

K with J



I have to take meds for Bipolar and PTSD or I'll end up in prison. We get violent and have obssessive violent thoughts and fantasies of revenge.

My main complaint is feeling like a lump...flatline. And weight gain. And sexual side effects. So this week we are trying Saphris, a new drug. Today I had obssessive-intrusive thoughts already and it's only been three days. I may have to go back on Abilify. I'm not doing well at taking care of my house and vehicles. I just changed the oil on them...two months late. I may have to accept feeling flat for my freedom. I am able to laugh tho so it's not all bad. We just don't feel like doing much or writing things like this for example.



I have taken a variety of medications over the years, the most lethargy producing was lithium and whatever else they were coupling it with. They were treating me for bi-polar II which has since been dismissed as a wrong diagnosis.

Effexor was good for a while then stopped working and an increase in dosage just put me into an extreme anxiety/suicidal state. Couldn’t sleep. Not good.

Wellbutrin did nothing except cause weight gain.

Right now I am on Zoloft 3 times a day and I only take it once. I have experimented with none, that was not good either. One seems to be enough to keep me level while allowing me to have my feelings. But even on just one pill I feel “muted” emotionally. However, I am still able to write and still have moments of incredible inspiration, usually at very inconvenient times of the night. I find that my ability and desire to paint are more affected by it. I just am not moved to paint anymore and I miss that. Is it the Zoloft? I don’t know. But I know I need to keep taking it.

Hope this helps,


I am an artist and have been through bouts of flatline when it comes to being able to create. I have been on many antidepressants because my depression is chemical imbalances, and not just situational depression. I always have come back to trazodone because for me, the side effects are minimal and we adjust my dosage accordingly. I stay on a maintenance dose of 100mg daily but have had to go as high as 400.

One of the things I had to do for myself was to change my thinking....I was very good at telling myself I couldn't create,
didn't feel like creating, was a bust as an artist, all the negatives we tell ourselves. I decided I had to try something new. One day I just got all my paints out and sat down at my desk and arranged and re-arranged my paper, brushes, and paints until I started just "playing around" with it. Soon I was lost in painting. Granted it wasn't a masterpiece, but it was a start. Maybe you could create a space to let yourself relax into it....also at night just before you go to sleep, visualize yourself sitting and working....that helped me give myself permission to try again. I think at one point I was actually afraid to try.

Since you are feeling so much better now, make space and see what you can create! Best of luck!



Hi Dan~
I have tried just anti-depressants, twice. And I didn't like them either time. I also felt flat and plastic. I didn't really take them
long enough to know if they affected my creative ability - as one of my hobbies is painting. But I can imagine that if I'd kept taking them, I wouldn't have had as much to "say" with my paintbrush.

I think many masterpieces in music and art - were done out of the pits of depression. So maybe there is something good in feeling some of those dark feelings. I guess it depends on how often you feel that way and whether you can function in life though. I'm sure the meds help some people just function - and at certain points that is probably more important than being creative.

I bet your creativity will return.... ;o)




Hey Dan,
As a "still wanna be writer" I understand how heart wrenching creative blocks can be and how they can pull us into a seemingly never ending cycle....the less we create, the less we feel we can create and so we continue to create less.  Have you read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron?  It's a fabulous book on how to get the creative juices flowing again.  It was after reading this book back in 1996 that I began keeping a daily journal and haven't missed a day since.  Although I haven't published much, Cameron's exercises helped me to write dozens of children's picture book manuscripts as well as two middle grade fiction novels.  Should you decide to read it I hope it brings you as much abundance.  I wish you much success in all of your creative and life endeavors.
Lynda Wisdo


Dear Dan,

Thank you for a thoughtful question that hits close to home for me, too. I actually got into therapy in the first place because I was stymied by internal conflicts about creating. (I desperately wanted to write certain things, but couldn't pull it off.) In therapy I learned that this massive and painful internal conflict was a manifestation of my dissociation -- in some ways, I wanted to express myself, and yet "internal forces" forbid this from happening. It was like WWIII inside my head.

For me, medications were a mixed bag. In early therapy for trauma, meds helped me concentrate enough to do my job and support myself. They kept me on an even keel, which at the time, I desperately needed. But finding the correct dosage--to help me work, yet not turn me into a zombie--was a challenge. When the dose was too high, I felt plastic and artificial. Weight gain was an issue for me, too. Finally, when I was able to achieve a more congenial, less pressured work environment -- and had progressed through several years of therapy--I gradually tapered off the meds, and I've never gone back.

However, I am still not "satisfied" with my level of creative output. So I don't know that I can blame my creative frustrations on meds one way or the other. But I do believe that medications need to be closely managed, and the pros and cons of taking them need to be discussed candidly with the prescribing physician or counselor. The creative impulse is a life force for some of us. Ideally, we'd receive a balance of meds that keeps us from hurting ourselves while remaining able to feel and express creative voice or vision. Not an easy task.

Good luck!
Lynn W.