Abigail Foster's Photosynthesis Machine, Fidelia Hall, Life, Music, Titusville, PA

Prozac Is The Dam & I Am The Dynamite

“THIS SUMMER WAS WEIRD” -Justin Hoenke

Six months after the release of the album Either Way I’m Fine”, the musical project known as Abigail Foster’s Photosynthesis Machine is back with another album titled “Prozac Is The Dam And I Am The Dynamite”. Quickly written and recorded in the Summer of 2017, this eight song album is a trip through Justin Hoenke’s three months of removing Prozac from his body and his adjustment to the world.

“After being on Prozac for eight years, I decided that I no longer wanted to live in a muted state. Everything felt stagnant. I could easily exist on Prozac, but I felt like since this was my one chance at life that I wanted to do it properly. I wanted to feel things, both the good and the bad, again”

The journey on “Prozac Is The Dam And I Am The Dynamite” is raw and honest. “These songs had to be written and recorded. They could not sit around. If I didn’t capture the songs in the moment, the things I was feeling and going through during this process would not be honest. I wanted the album to be honest. I felt like a confused mess for most of this album, and that came out in the songs. Prozac Is The Dam refers to the medicine holding back creativity and true feelings. I Am The Dynamite because I was the only thing that could change the course I was set on. I had to make a decision to sail away from the Prozac and onto different things. I had to steer my own ship towards what I thought was honest.”

Fans of raw, honest, and homemade pop rock will appreciate this album. The album zig zags through a number of sounds and ideas. “The first half of the album is rough. I would totally understand if someone listening to it just couldn’t make it can make it through the first five tracks. But if you can, I think it makes the second half of the album even better. You’ve gotta go through the shit to get to sunshine.”

Prozac Is The Dam And I Am The Dynamite will be available on October 10, 2017 through Arbacarba Records. The album will sell for $7 through the Abigail Foster’s Photosynthesis Bandcamp page

This album was recorded inside and outside on the grounds of Fidelia Hall in Titusville, PA. All songs and music written, produced, and recorded by Justin Hoenke.

 

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Family, Fidelia Hall, Life, Titusville, PA

The Summer of 2017

Summer 2017 has been full of ups and downs. The ups always outweigh the downs but it seems like this summer there have been quite a bit more downs than usual. While my journey of getting off of Prozac has probably contributed a bit to the greater frequency of downs, I’m not here to blame it all on that. I knew that with a radical change in my life there was bound to be things I needed to process and understand. I also recognize that it is ok to have these downs and to allow them to exist in my life as part of the entire picture.

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I went to relax and this chair broke as I was sitting in it. I think it is a good metaphor for how life is going these days. Photo by Haley Hoenke because she is good at capturing the best moments.

I have been heard saying “holy shit, we are getting older and our boys are really growing up and becoming independent individuals” multiple times this summer. If I’m having one of my down days, I hibernate away from the world and eventually after I snap out of it. Then when I see Finn and Aero I get a bit down because I’ve missed a very special moment in time with them as I hid my head. The moments that we have in front of us are all that we have and if we miss out on them they’re gone forever. I feel like I’ve missed out on way too many moments with Finn, Aero, and Haley this summer. If I’m already in a down mood this just helps exaggerate that mood. I have to find a way to achieve a balance.

Finn and Aero are growing up into wonderful, unique human beings. Finn has a bit of inventor and engineer in him. We are doing all that we can to encourage and foster his curiosity. This summer he was in a number of camps that did just that and he actually asked us after they were done if he could continue doing them! That’s different than last year, when we could tell that he was itching to get to the end of camp season. Aero still wasn’t into going to summer camps and only ended up being part of the YWCA sports camp (which he really enjoyed). I have to remind myself that Aero is still just 5 years old and that he’s still really excited to have some special extra time with his Mom and Dad. He really enjoyed those moments with us this summer. Here’s some LEGO animations Finn made this summer. Enjoy.

We did a lot of gardening once again but nowhere near as much as we did in 2016. I think that has to do with the fact that Haley’s sister got married in May and that took up a lot of our focus. Nonetheless the gardens of Fidelia Hall were beautiful and bountiful and a lot of the stuff that was established this year will thrive for years to come (bamboo, blueberries, kiwi, and more!). We also finally got to reap in the rewards of our Fall 2016 garlic planting and boy oh boy do we have more than enough garlic to last us for the year.

And work on Fidelia Hall continued. The start of the summer led to a flurry of activity, mostly the beginnings of installing a heating system, an entrance, and painting the tin ceiling. After that flurry of activity things just kind of stopped. I don’t know exactly why. Lack of extra money coming was a factor, as was the reality that some people charge way too much when it comes to helping out with things like repair and renovation. I’m not built for physical labor, so after a lot of it I kind of shut down. It also didn’t help that our paint sprayer decided to stop cooperating with us. Anywho there is still work that needs to be done and eventually we will get there.

 

 

Family, Life, Titusville, PA

Goodbye Muted World (Hello Once Again, World Full of Feelings and Things)

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I haven’t put any fluoxetine (prozac) in my body in about a month. After the 7-10 days where my body was really feeling the side effects of withdrawl, I thought long and hard about putting any more in my body every 5-7 days and continue this tapered off approach. Did I want to go through those side effects again just so I can fully taper off? Absolutely not. My research told me that “fluoxetine elimination half-life changes from 1 to 3 days, after a single dose, to 4 to 6 days, after long-term use”, so my thought was to halt the need for a second withdrawal after reintroducing fluoxetine to my body once again.

So, I’m here to say that after 8 and a half years of putting this medication into my body that I am done. I am moving onto the next chapter of my life.

What do I think about all of this? There’s a huge part of me that is thankful and understanding of what antidepressants can do for a person. When things are completely overwhelming, antidepressants can help a person stay alive. Staying alive is the thing we should all be doing, as all (or maybe most) of us are here to give something good to the world and others.

On the other hand, there’s a huge part of me that is beginning to see just how antidepressants can mute a person and leave them feeling comfortable with just about anything in life. I’m not saying comfortable isn’t good…we all want to be (and should be) living a comfortable life. But antidepressants are not the same as a comfortable life. They are a medicated and muted life that doesn’t allow the user to see the full picture. There’s a reason why I called the last album of music I made “EITHER WAY I’M FINE”. It is because of this medicine and how no matter what the situation was that was presented to me I could swing either way. When I was on fluoxetine, my head could have been on fire and someone may have told me and I probably wouldn’t have minded it either way.

With all that said, this is what it was like for me. Everyone is different. Don’t read this and think I’m judging you or saying that this is the way. I’m not. I’m just sharing what I’ve felt and what I’m currently feeling.

Life feels a lot better now that I’m off of fluoxetine. Sure, there’s now a world full of feelings and things coming at me at high speed, but I’m ready to face it. I am ready to recognize those things flying at me, give them the proper time and attention to process them in my head and heart, and move forward. I am ready to put the muted life behind me. Fluoextine, you were there for me when I needed you but you stuck around much too long. I’m better off without you. I look up and I see bees hovering around the borage. I can appreciate the little moments a lot more, like the ones where my kids run around the yard barking rules and commands at each other about the imaginary game they’re playing. When I hug Haley, there’s that little swell in my heart that has always been there. I feel it even more so now than ever. I even see and feel the bad in the world: the inequality in our communities, the lies told by those in power to advance personal agendas, and the unnecessary goods and services that corporations sell you to make you feel great about yourself for just a brief moment. These are hard things to feel, but they are necessary to feel, process, and understand.

It took me 7 years into my thirties to get here, but I’m finally here and I like it.

PART ONE and PART TWO in this whole saga

 

Family, Life, Titusville, PA

Goodbye Muted World: UPDATE ONE

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The First Part: https://justinthelibrarian.com/2017/05/22/goodbye-muted-world/

The main impetus for getting off of antidepressants was my wife Haley. Like me, she too was on antidepressants for some time. While I was on Prozac she was on something that was even more evil and horrible called Effexor (long story short tell your doctor no if they offer this). She got off of her medication earlier this year and the change I saw in her was amazing. She was back to being Haley. Not that she wasn’t Haley when she was on Effexor….it was just a different version of Haley. I started looking inwards and I saw the same thing with myself. I am here…but I am not completely here. Prozac was muting me and I no longer wanted to be muted.

Now I know that antidepressants work differently for everyone and overall do help the individual, but these days all that I’m have been seeing for myself was that it was doing nothing but muting me. To quote the Stone Temple Pilots: I’m half the man I used to be“. I did not want to enter the 37th year of my life not being this way, so I decided to make a change. Here’s how that change has been going:

  • I’m using a tapered approach in removing Prozac from my body. After talking with my doctor, we came up with a plan that looked something like this: every other day for two weeks, every two days for one week, and so on.
  • According to Wikipedia: “fluoxetine elimination half-life changes from 1 to 3 days, after a single dose, to 4 to 6 days, after long-term use”. The worst days in this weaning were somewhere in the area of June 10-17. I was extremely irritable, I fluctuated between being wide awake or very tired, and I had an almost constant headache.
  • After the week of June 10-17, things leveled off quite a bit. I was feeling a good mix of being part Justin pre-2009 and part Justin present-2017 older and wiser. This is a good mix and was something I was going for, but it did take some getting used to. Instead of a muted feeling all the time, I was instead having full on feelings. When you haven’t had those in 8 years, it can be overwhelming at first!
  • Now I am trying to recognize the feelings I am having in the moment and am doing my best to process them. Am I sad? Am I happy? What am I? What can I do in this moment to best show and recognize these feelings?

By August 1 2017 I should be completely free from Prozac. I’ll update everyone shortly after that once I’ve adjusted to life in an unmuted world.

Family, Life, Misc., Titusville, PA

Goodbye Muted World

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Depression is something that’s been with me for all of my life. I’ve had ups and downs along the way. And this next step I am about to take is just another part of a very long journey.

On June 1, 2017 I will begin weaning myself off of Fluoxetine (Prozac). I have been using Fluoxetine 20mg/day since 2009. Overall it has helped me deal with extreme ups and downs but recently I am beginning to feel that I would like to live my life without its grasp over me. Life on Fluoxetine feels muted most times and I just don’t really want to feel muted anymore.

With all that said, I’m posting this to say that I’ll be completely away from everything starting June 1, 2017. I will go to work and then I will go home. And I will repeat that until I am ready to re-enter the world. This process is going to be tough so I need to focus on myself and nothing else.

Thanks for being in my life and I’ll see all of you sometime soon.