Numb is a frightening journey into my own very personal attempt to break free from my physical and psychological dependence on the popular antidepressant Paxil.
When I realized that I was approaching my 10th anniversary of taking the drug, I knew it was time for me to reassess what it meant to be me. I was struggling to accept the way my emotions had become so blunted over the years. I wasn’t sure if it was me, or if it was me on the drug – but I needed to find out.
In the beginning my plan was simple – stop taking it and see what happens. Turned out that was a really bad idea! After a quick search on the Internet, I realized it wasn’t going to be that easy – and that, in some cases, withdrawal from these drugs can be very difficult and even dangerous. My first reaction was anger – I felt betrayed - no one told me ten years ago that I would have a problem stopping the drug or that there were risks involved. I felt trapped.
I went into pre-production right away, calling experts and doctors, setting up interviews and scheduling travel. Within a month, I was standing in my bathroom, cutting my first pill in half. I had no idea where I was headed but I knew I needed to go there.
I always knew that someday I would make a feature film – I just had no idea that I would end up being the subject! I’ll have to admit, in the beginning, making Numb was extremely exciting. I was embarking on a journey that I had no idea how it would turn out. You can see how enthusiastic I am as I start cutting my dose. But as the days go by, you can really see the impact of the withdrawal - and how fast my mental and physical state deteriorates. As I was filming, I kept thinking that there was no way that I was going to let other people see me in this condition – but luckily, I kept the cameras rolling.
Post-production was a long, difficult process. I wasn’t too excited about reliving the experience again and again in the edit suite – but I also knew that I couldn’t keep what I learned and experienced to myself. This was a story I had to tell – as personal and painful as it is – I had no other choice.
In the end, Numb took a great toll on me – it challenged my relationships, depleted my savings and threatened me physically and mentally – but I couldn’t be more proud of the work. As tough as the subject matter it is – and as difficult as it is to talk about – that’s exactly what we all need to do.