very cool to be in communication with you again after all of these years.
as you could probably imagine, I totally understand and empathize with your desire to get past the massive smog bank of multiple heavy medications to a clearer, purer, "realer" sense of self.
I have felt the exact same desire many times and gone off medicine many times for precisely that reason.
I guess these days I'm in a place where I feel that my "real" self, if there is such a thing, resides more or less in the flux and fragility of a constantly cycling vortex of moods, responses, relationships, things learned, things mistaken, misnamed, mis-identified, aspired to, abandoned, recovered, etc, and the sense that there will always be a certain amount of unattributed chaos/ugliness as well as undeserved beauty/grace in the equation. I know that sounds really obvious, but I've made the mistake over and over of wanting or thinking I had finally come into some sort of semi-dependable place of modest peace, strength, and wisdom. big mistake. sure, there have been glimpses of peace, strength, and wisdom, but then it has all fallen apart, or been contaminated, or revealed as phony or flimsy.
last year was a massive humbling.
can't say I dealt with it very well. ended up out in the country in my sister's car trying to rig up a gas chamber. almost succeeded. but didn't. ("almost" can sometimes turn out to be a very, very powerful word.) ended up in the hospital for about 10 days. some new medicine and ECT got me back on track pretty quickly, at least for the time being. I'm still sort of riding that momentum of recovery, of a close call, a brush with death, a sort of miracle. still sort of astonished to be here, because my suicide plan was a solid one and it was only the merest fluke that I was rescued.
in some ways, I feel that I have sorta been in my own "volcano" period recently, kinda like you were describing when you went off your final 10 mg. of prozac. I've not only been writing a bunch of new stuff but going back and looking at old stuff and sending samples of some of it out here and there to some friends and readers. I started a blog about last year at this time, a chair of earth. my dad died in december of 2011 and it was one of the ways I chose to deal with and share that ordeal with others. I think that it helped. then, about 3 months later, they found breast cancer in my mom. this double whammy left me reeling more than I realized at the time, and instead of staying focused and centered and trying to help myself, my mom, and my sister thru the crisis, I totally crumpled, and was of very little use, and I think the accumulated guilt and shame of habitually failing like that partially led me to my wipeout in november. people have told me that I am totally mis-reading the situation, that I was/am a good son and was/am of considerable help during those/these difficult months. maybe this is partially true. my own mood problems probably started to warp certain realities. they probably always have. and part of all this was happening when I was not on any medicine, precisely for the reasons you described. part of it was happening when I was tanked up on medicine.
my thoughts can and do get totally fucked up whether I am on medicine or not. this is probably never going to change. for me, there is no "pure" place. there is no "real" self, except for whatever is churned up/ revealed/ adjusted/ superseded in and by this constant cycle of strange moods and experiences, both my "own" and "other people's."
one could compare it to the weather. if you ask someone in wisconsin: "so, what's the "real" weather like here?" you will get a funny look. the weather is a cycle. the weather is impermanence incarnate. the weather will mess with you. will surprise you, punish you, distract you, delight you- maybe it's the same way with the self.
I just need to learn to go with the flow better, to stop acting like I understand what is happening or have much control over what is happening.
you're right about no one else ever being able to see inside you and tell you what's up. but in some ways I don't think we can see inside of ourselves so successfully either. I'm guessing that most of it stays shrouded in mystery, and if we're not careful: denial, wishful thinking, selective memory, petty drama and distractions, etc.
anyways, the link to a chair of earth is at the bottom. the three poems I sent you and everyone else eventually went up on the blog. this link should take you to them, and then you can look around the site more if you want to.
a little heads-up: if you go to my blogger profile you'll find two other newer blogs I've got going: moss on water and insects noises incorporated. insects is more experimental stuff, and moss is more psych-oriented stuff: super raw, personal stuff that I'm nervous to put up on a chair of earth. stuff that maybe shouldn't be out there at all, at least in such an unfiltered and semi-warped state. I've already pulled a few pieces off that I think might have gone way way over the line.
however, knowing that some of this raw stuff is out there at all has been kinda nerve-wracking and liberating, and that's led to more raw stuff getting written and shared. a little like a snowball rolling downhill.
anyways, I feel the ground starting to sorta level out, which is inevitable and almost feels a little relieving. after a massive suicidal depression, hypo-manic energy can feel really refreshing, as you know, but it is difficult and stressful in its own way, as you also know.
I really like calmness.
I think I'm gradually moving back into the calmness.
(check out the post "excerpts from maurice blanchot's.....")
stay in touch.