I’ve been on a music kick this week and wonder if it’s related to the hints of authentic emotion I’m feeling now that the medication taper is taking effect. I am particularly sensitive to Prozac, which is the medication we are working on reducing first. In my experience, Prozac kicks in fast, but seems to take forever to leave my system. After months of numbness, it’s disconcerting to feel like the world is suddenly uncomfortably loud, as if I went to sleep with the dial at three and woke up with it turned up to seven (but it goes to 11!). There’s so much more to process with a wider range of emotional responses at my disposal. People want to understand and sympathize, but it’s tough to explain how ambient feelings overwhelm me right now. I think that’s why I keep returning to music, because there are songwriters who know of what I speak and have given voice to it in a way that communicates all I want to say, but don’t quite know how.
Over the years, Dave Matthews has spoken publicly about his own experience with suicidal thoughts and feelings of detachment and isolation. He is breathtakingly candid. In 2002, he wrote a song called Grey Street and recorded it with his band for the album Busted Stuff. Partly inspired by the poet Anne Sexton and her prolonged struggles with mental health, Grey Street contains the best description of depression I’ve ever heard.
Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out on to Grey Street.
She thinks, “Hey, how did I come to this?
I dream myself a thousand times around the world,
But I can’t get out of this place”
Now there’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together
It’s that sense of a monochromatic, monotone world that Dave Matthews captures so well.
Now, though, I feel like a hatchling poking the first hole in the shell. What for so long seemed impenetrable is beginning to crack. I’m starting to see in color again.
Want to listen? Click here.