In response to Writing under the influence

when i was diagnosed as bipolar, i had no choice but to take the medications, an anti-depressant and mood stabilizers. now i have been through so many, i can’t remember the first, although i also took Neurontin for at least two years before it stopped working.

i had always relied (not knowing what they were) on my hypomanic moods and depression to give me the lyricism, the spark i needed for my writing. the medication took all of that away. i was flat. as a consequence, i didn’t write for two years. i did have other outlets, i made jewelry and sold it, created puppets and other knitted objects, did ink drawings. but they were all tactile art.

in retrospect, i think my brain was rewiring itself (brains do that, you know) and the day finally came that i wrote again. it was different than before, not bad, just different. and after awhile the lyricism returned and i was able to write both ways. i’ve learned not to push my brain while writing, just to let it lead which was good practice when i started my chemo because it also affected my writing ability and again, i had to give it time to ‘rewire’.

i don’t think that everyone takes two years to overcome medication changes, but i do think that you need to give your brain a break and be prepared for a different outcome. just to awaken your brain a little, i recommend ‘the four agreements’ by miguel ruiz. there is also a workbook but you don’t necessarily need that unless you need to do some serious soul searching.

to brains and their limitless and unknowable capabilities.



  1. January 31, 2010 at 12:13 am

    It’s amazing what the body and brain are capable of. Glad you got your mojo back.

  2. gwenguin1 said,

    January 31, 2010 at 6:48 am

    The balancing act betweeen physical, mental, and creative health is so exemplified by the Magician card in the Major Arcana of the Thoth-Crowley Tarot Cards. The Magician is a handsome young man, blindfolded and balancing on the cutting edge of a sword.

    The card tells us that our lives are a constant balancing act between opposites. You can wish for stability, some break from the chaos, but the reality is that the only constant really is change. The wise person will accept this and work our from that centre.

    I always feel so for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they are pitted against their own body’s chemistry from that moment on. How can one make sense of a life where they are fighting their body chemistry?

    To make matters worse there is no one solution, they are as individuaol as the people suffering from bipolar disorder.

    All that I can for you sweetie, is to pray for you, and offer both of my shoulders should you ever need one to lean on. As long as we are members of Soulf Food we will never be alone.


  3. Sarah Joyce Bryant said,

    January 31, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I had never thought about it from the viewpoint of the brain, but it makes so much sense to me. I am trying to be patient and kind to myself, but I noticed this big change as I was trying to write a creative writing essay for an assignment for my MFA class. Normally I can sit down and write, but this time everything was blank. It was/is scary. Thanks for the book suggestion. I actually already have that book on my shelf, I just need to dust it off and take a look.

    GwenGuin, I completely agree about the only constant being change. That is what I fight internally about. I want so much for things to change and yet I am terrified of the unknown and what can happen when things change. I have tangible proof of the destruction some change can bring which keeps me stuck. I am working on trying to embrace change, look for lessons when it things change for the worse, and try to flow with life rather than trying to pull it to a halt (obviously that isn’t working well!).

  4. Kirstin said,

    September 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    This is so very helpful to me. Thank you.

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