Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bi-Polar Writer Coping


         I'm not a person who minces words, it's not my particular style. I have an innate need to correct people when they misuse words, or pronounce them wrong. Always have, probably always will. It's a facet of my personality, like never sleeping at night, but being able to crash so long as the sun is up. Or going on day long top to bottom cleaning sprees. Before psychiatrists and other health professionals got involved this was my normal....
         During these sleepless times I would write, and write.... And write. It gave me something to do. It allowed me to get down everything that swirled around in my head, after doing that I could usually crash, at least for a while. Then it happened, all of a sudden, about four years ago...I couldn't write. I would sit down and stare at the paper, and... nothing. What do you do when the one real outlet you have ever wanted is suddenly unreachable? For me I just got angry. Anger is something I am familiar with, it's a warm blanket that I easily snuggle down into.
         But some thing was wrong, it wasn't helping, and for two years I didn't write a single turn of phrase that was my own. My Co-Author Will Van Stone Jr. tried to get me to work, and occasionally my editing prowess emerged and we did a little here, a little there, but all in all, I was drowning.

         So I followed the advice of my mother, not something I have been known to do, but when all else fails...I took myself to a Mental health facility. After awhile they diagnosed me as Bi-Polar with an NOS personality disorder. For those not up to the lingo, basically as I understand it, it means that I am Manic Depressive<- Bi-Polar, and NOS stands for Not Otherwise Specified, which means that my described symptoms fit several different personality disorders, with no one being dominate.
          Yeah, so now I'm thinking I'm more Fucked up than I thought. I was told in my younger years that it was probably ADHD, and that was the cause of my disciplinary issues. Apparently not. Through therapy and experimentation with different psych-drugs it seemed I was well on my way. I published my first novel in January of this year, and my second in May. I was soaring high, feeling pretty good, the drug interactions aside. I was finally feeling like I was getting better.
          So what do you think I did? Any guesses? If you said kept doing what I was, you'd be wrong. I did what any person feeling good would do. I forgot about the drugs. Stopped taking them, because while I was writing, I wasn't doing much of anything else. The Lithium caused me to have depressive episodes, something I had never actually had. I couldn't function on any social levels. So while somethings were better, the things I, and others wanted me to do were not getting done.
            I changed shrinks, because mine moved on to a better opportunity, good on her, but where did that leave me? Starting over with someone new. I don't like that. It annoys me, like standing in line with idiots in front of me, or being made to wait 45 mins past the time of an appointment annoys me. During this time of transition, they changed my meds, a few times, and while I was between meds, I was writing like a fiend. I was happy, I was MANIC, nobody seemed to notice. I noticed, but didn't much care as I was being productive. Of course eventually I got on my meds, and since it has been a daily struggle, my work, my writing has been slowly halted.   
            Sure I can rattle off all of this, because it doesn't require any imagination. Facts are facts. I want to write fiction! I'm not trying to delve into the dark depths of the human condition. I'm not Hemingway, or Poe, or Fitzgerald. I don't claim to have some deeper insight into why we deny our baser instincts.
            I just want to get to a level where I can say, I am doing what I want, and am healthy. It seems that I am probably in a Dysphoic Manic Phase, and am making little to no sense, but I do have a point. I'm sure I have one, it's just under a lot of back and forward story. I think that my point is this, Mental Health is an abstract.
          What is normal to one is not so to another, and I think that the struggle for those afflicted is hard for everyone, but most so for the creative.
            Some of the most renown artists and writers were afflicted by one issue or another. Some were drunks, drug addicts, and even complete psychos, as far as the psychiatric communities are concerned. They were their most creative and useful when indulging in the behavior that eventually lead to their demise. So many great writers were taken before they reached the "golden years", most by their own hands. It's been called tragic, because they had so much more to give, but I wonder... Perhaps the reason they left, was because they had nothing left. Perhaps the creative juices turned to dust, and without them they could not stand to stay in a world that called for MORE. I'm not saying that I'm on that road, a part of my illness is that I abhor the idea of doing anything to myself, other people, well that's subjective. But I think that I am beginning to understand why other writers self medicated, drowning the craziness so they could work. I just can't seem to settle on a poison.
            Right now I am again blocked, I have work to do, I had set a deadline for myself, but that has come and gone, and I am again facing adjusting to a new drug, and a new person of use. I hope that these new things are going to be of a benefit, but I don't know, only time will tell. I will keep trying to write, even if it is only this dribble before you. At least it is something...

Published on August 17, 201

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