The mental health dilemma

I’m in a bind. I realised a couple of months ago that my medication I’m on for my bipolar type 2 is inhibiting my ability to write creativity. I haven’t had a true new idea in the time I’ve been on it. 

I used to have flights of fancy off the top of my head that I was proud of but now writing feels like real work. I used to know I could create creative worlds spontaneously in a way others couldn’t and make people laugh and now… I can’t. 

I don’t think I can continue being a writer like this. Not a writer of anything I’m proud of. 

As a counter-measure to this, when I started my medication after a couple of weeks I suddenly realised the underlying layer of melancholy I had felt since I was 12 years old had disappeared. I thought that it was a natural part of being human and then discovered I didn’t need to be sad any more. This was and still is a huge thing. 

I’m also not a great person sometimes off my meds. I was going to try an experiment with my partner’s blessing and support of going off of them for a couple of months to see if my writing and creativity came back but I ran out recently and didn’t replenish the supply for about 5 days. Even back on them, I still had mood swings and crazy reactions to small things that would make me lose my rationality and make me quite unbearable to be around. 

I want my creativity back. But I don’t want my sadness back and I don’t want to hurt and frustrate the people around me. So what is the answer? It’s probably not really answerable. I hate not being able to write like I did… Or think like I did. I’m no longer special. But I’m also no longer unhappy or unpredictable in a bad way. 

I might just pretend I never wrote anything and find a career… 


You wake up

Hello my most excellent readers. This is another entry where I’m genuinely forcing myself to write so please excuse inconsistencies, rambling, bad jokes and leaping from subject to subject. in other words, expect the usual.

Right now I’m waiting till my friend gets home so I can go over and jam with him on some music we’re working on. I mostly play drums in this endeavour though I give a lot of feedback on the mix and the shaping of the songs. Five years ago I attempted NaNoWriMo and actually finished a novel and then the entire track of my creative life changed. When that book was done, I realised I got a lot more satisfaction out of writing than I ever did out of writing music. This was huge for me because I have literally spent over half of my life writing music, since high school. Actually, it’s 20 years now. I completely devoted myself to it too, spurning various jobs and different opportunities so I could hone my ‘art’ and work at my various projects.

For almost all of my time in bands I’ve been a guitarist and occasionally front man. I never really bothered to learn how to solo because I came from the Nirvana school of song writing – i.e. emotion is everything. In the last few years I bought a cheap electric drum kit which I upgraded to pro level and somehow ended up drumming. This gives me a lot of satisfaction but still not as much as seeing my words turn into stories.

I think this stems from my childhood, when I was writing stories and reading all the time. Pretty much all my time I wasn’t spending on my computer I was spending reading a book or trying to write something. In all my bands afterwards I’d be endlessly crafting lyrics and trying different styles and forms. In the last band I was in as singer/songwriter one of the songs even turned out to be beat poetry because I couldn’t find any other way to make it fit. When I look back at it now, it’s basically a free form (very) short story. Here it is in its entirety:

You wake up; everything is flammable; everyone is f***able; the room is on fire; you meet a responsible adult who tells you the world will end ten minutes after sundown

You agree to meet him after then

You wake up; you catch up with your friend; you tell him you set fire to the sky and the cleansing begins from within; he tells you you’re a dog of a party

And the sun dissolves away to nothingness

And for your entertainment, here is a video of us performing said song. This was about ten years ago. Please excuse the angst.

Just so you know, the lyrics came to me fully formed in a dream. I woke up, elbowed my partner awake, and had her transcribe it before I forgot it. I look at it now and I see a short narrative piece written in the second person rather than a set of lyrics. Of course, it’s both. For some reason it never occurred to me that while I was working on music I was also working on my writing. With everything I write I pay special attention to the rhythm of the words I’m putting down, how it all sounds together and whether my beats hit hard and make sense. I make sure most scenes have a ‘chorus’ where the action comes together and a resting pace that sets the tone for the novel.

Most importantly I have a part where the main character screams at the injustice of it all. Because, you know, that’s character building. Also it’s a subtle nod to my teenage and early adult war against a world that could never know my pain. The pain of being young, knowing everything, and not being appreciated for it. In a way “I Think You Ate My Sandwich” was my award to myself for “best angst”, though Tink in that book took things way better than I would have, especially since she didn’t have a guitar or a drum kit to take it all out on.

Speaking of which, I really need to finish working on my Minkah novel so I can put out revision two of that one. I still love Robert the Robot. Till next time…