Tuesday, 7 July 2015

On Being A Bipolar Writer

Being an unmedicated, bipolar writer is interesting. I make the distinction between medicated and unmedicated because, for me, there has been a huge difference. When I was medicated, I stuck to a schedule. I could churn out 1000+ words without drawing breath. I instinctively knew where a story was going and I rarely stopped to think how I was wording sentences.

Being unmedicated, for me, has been a whole other kettle of fish. It's only been recently, within the past month, that I've actually managed to get back on any kind of track. I've been in a kind of limbo since the drugs cleared my system back in March, desperately trying to get my creative brain back on track.

And it's not been easy. Some days I've managed to write something. Others I've stared idly at the screen, wondering what to put down. None of it was helped by the muscle seizures caused by the medication withdrawal, ones which made it difficult (up until last week, anyway) for me to handwrite more than a few words. I enjoy sitting down with a notebook, pen, and tea and just scribbling ideas down on to paper, something that's a little more difficult when it comes to using a computer. Typing, or dictating, notes to my phone just doesn't have the same appeal as choosing a new notebook and pen.

In the past two weeks, I've cleared something like 10,000 words over several different projects. It's an achievement and something I'm extremely proud of. It's proof, to myself, that I can do this even if I'm struggling in other areas of my life. It's a spark of hope that life without medication can be somewhere within the realms of “normal”.

Writing without the meds is... interesting. I find myself analysing what I'm writing, far more than I did when I was medicated. I can spend a day hunting for a specific word or phrase to make a sentence sound right. Sometimes inspiration fails me completely, as it did for all of June. I knew what I wanted to write. I just found that I couldn't. Even now, as I'm facing some big changes in my life, I've managed to rediscover the joy and excitement of getting stuck into a good project. It's a feeling that's been missing for the past few months and I'm so glad it's back. I can't wait to see what the future holds.

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