The page stared back at Penny Robins with the same blank expression that she wore. It used to be so easy. Words had flowed from her pen with vibrant colors and brilliant pictures before the medications. All she had to do was to enter that shining world of her own creation by closing her eyes for a few moments. Once her eyes fluttered back into focus, her ideas would spring onto the page. At the moment, she was unable to find her way back to her creative universe.

Stepping into Penny’s own world was to plant her feet on a plush carpet of green moss. There were wise, old trees surrounding her — whispering to her — and a million fireflies in the forest surrounding the grove. It was always night in the grove. The moonlight would shine down — through the leaves leaving a sea foam green hue — on a large rock protruding through the earth in the center of the clearing. There were times that she never left the grove. There really was no need to travel any farther. The enchanted woods would provide her with all of the lovely thoughts that she would need to write.

Like a child, her curiosity would, at times, entice her out of her grove though. She walked through a forest of young, white birch trees. The fireflies tickled as they landed on her bare skin and lighted up with inspiring ideas. Nearing the end of the woods, sunlight began to shine through the trees. Her world would open up into a vast canyon with a waterfall on the other side. The water was a wonderful shade of teal and the trees surrounding the gorge looked like flames of fuchsia. Fearless, Penny dove into the waters below, falling with grace as if she had wings.

Penny could remember her creative space, but could not enter. At the present, when she closed her eyes, she was thrown into an indigo desert. The black sand beneath her feet was falling away as if through an hour glass, threatening to drop her into the nothingness that was below. She knew that, if she were to fall, there would be no wings — no grace. This was not a universe of her own making. It was one that had been unwillingly thrust upon her.

This new world wasn’t necessarily new. It didn’t start with the meds; she had experienced it during her lowest of lows, but it came to stay when the medications started “working” — the medications that were supposed to make her stable. She found that a “normal” Penny felt more like a dead Penny. Sure, her moods didn’t swing as violently and, although she felt a depression looming over her, she didn’t break out in sobs at the drop of a hat. She was now able to work and excel, getting two promotions in the first year of her new job. Going to social functions no longer caused anxiety attacks. She was “stable” — she was “normal” — but she felt numb inside. She had lost her spontaneity. Her creativity had left her with only the memory of it. The cure had caused a fatal side effect — the death of her imagination.

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