Bipolar Creativity and Medications Linkdump

I’m not trying to take over from Blah, I just needed a place to dump some stuff so I could keep track of it, because I have to see a doctor this afternoon (haha no you don’t get to see psychiatrists in the UK unless you’re acutely suicidal, or you’re Stephen Fry; this is my general practitioner who knows nothing about bipolar but still saw fit to refuse to give me my repeat prescription).

Jim Austin Computer Collection York Computer Sheds
My brain on my meds is like the screen of this TV. The TV’s still there, but the picture’s not.

The main issue is, I had a really good article on bipolar meds, but they’ve “updated” it, and now it’s not so good (it used to go through the specific pros and side effects of every bipolar medication and now it doesn’t, it just reiterates the general ones).
This one is promising though. It’s the first thing I’ve read that’s explained my intense sugar craving while I take quetiapine.
Another article I’ve read before, but was worth reading again, was about the dangers of haloperidol. From the same site, this was also interesting: does mania ALWAYS mean bipolar disorder? It could have implications for the diagnoses of some people who have only had one manic episode.
The NHS have surprisingly reviewed an old, crap article and turned it into a half-decent article about bipolar meds and their pros and cons!! As well as side-effects for non-pregnant people, they even go into specific pregnancy side-effects, which is long-overdue!

Despite the number of articles entitled “Bipolar people are more creative!!!!! ZOMG!!!!!” it’s actually pretty well established that we are. And it’s pretty well established that meds kill creativity, although some people (presumably they have Regular Creativity; see below) disagree. This article explains the dangers that come with that heightened creativity – the little snippet of info about Handel was particularly interesting.

So, y’know, I know full well that taking my meds is important. But they stop me doing any and all of the things that make me… well… me! So I was looking for an answer to whether any specific meds are better than others for not killing creativity, and whether there’s anything I can do about it to get those connections rekindled. People saying that it goes away with time should probably consider whether they’ve developed a tolerance to their meds, BTW. Unfortunately, those same connections that I make to become super-creative are the ones that can also fixate me on sharp things or make the wrong connections between things. Y’know, like those people with the Illuminati Confirmed nonsense??

“Learning to find creativity after bipolar disorder”. I strongly disagree that only the Type 1’s are super-creative with their mania (I think us type-II’s can hold our own on that front, naturally), and I think the actual definition of mania is when the creativity stops making any sense and becomes a disorganised pile of dogshyte to everyone but you; but I’m not the sort of person to completely disregard something just because some of it doesn’t reflect my own world-view (unless you’re hating on Churchill being on a new banknote, like some people on my husband’s Facebook – if you hate Churchill, fuck you; for context, this would be as bad as Americans disregarding the value of Abraham Lincoln), so this article still had some mileage for me because one of my issues with my Seroquel is it stops me getting ideas, holding onto them, and turning them into workable projects, which I have recently been told is my biggest strength, so… Seroquel has failed this city (Arrow quote).

This person’s take on the bipolar/creativity question (TW in that link: suicide) also doesn’t quite resonate for me, I think they’re being disparaging of a real problem that some of us face. But (and here I’m going to offend some people) then I think there’s a difference between “regular creativity” – creating things such as an article about some photos you took, which most people can do, and (sorry to burst people’s bubbles) doesn’t actually take that much creativity, and “super-creativity” – an example of something so superbly creative would be Douglas Adams’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” which is clearly a lot more creative than Nora Roberts’s latest romance. I suppose a better name for “super-creativity” would be “inventiveness” and, while Regular Creativity can undisputably still be accessed when I’m on bipolar meds, it’s that Inventiveness that I lose. I’m using these as proper nouns here (with capital letters), because I don’t think the way I defined these words in this paragraph are exactly the commonly held meanings for these words.

So how do I get that Inventiveness back after going back on my meds? This article explains the problem quite well. For me, I lose the ability to make connections between things, and it makes my stories more mundane and lacking in sparkle, and it also takes me a whole lot longer to write, because the thoughts aren’t flowing right, and I run into writer’s block, because I can’t connect where I am with where I want to be. The resolution, to “work harder” to be creative, echoed by this article (sidenote, I wish articles would stop claiming Marilyn had bipolar; she clearly had BORDERLINE) might work to regain Regular Creativity – being able to blog on meds, for example, but it isn’t something I can do, though, because my Inventive creativity doesn’t actually come out if I push at it. It’s spontaneous, uncontrolled, and if I try to make it happen, it comes out all wrong, and anyway, part of the problem is that I judge and second guess myself too much when I’m on meds, so even if the ideas came, I wouldn’t be able to believe in them enough to make them into working projects.

And, offensive dumbass of the year nomination goes to this Scientific American post who says (direct quote): “This raises the question of why the genes of such devastating brain dysfunctions should persist in the human gene pool.” Yep. Someone actually said that. Until then, the article had kinda been interesting (although they had already made it clear they didn’t understand the difference between bipolar, medication, and illegal drug taking). I don’t care if they’re playing devil’s advocate to make the argument that we are permitted to exist because of our creativity. Just….. no.

I am posting this because I have researched all this before, and I will ask this same question over and over again and revisit it until I have a definitive answer, but that’s as far as I got today, and now I have to go convince my GP that I’m not being noncompliant, I’m actually taking my meds exactly how the private psychiatrist told me to. I think I’ll take my psych report, to prove it, since they never seem to read the one written by the private psychiatrist. I just don’t want to be re-referred to the Mental Health system because they’ll start the assessment process all over again and I don’t have the mental resources to dredge all the shit up again, let alone the time, given that I start a Master’s degree next week.


Author: MsAdventure

I am a twentysomething travel, photography and beauty blogger who occasionally writes about other topics. Within travel, I tend to write mostly about Europe because all the other travel bloggers seem to write about South East Asia. As a writer, I have written articles that are published in Offbeat Bride and on Buzzfeed, and as a photographer, I have taken photographs that are published in local and national news outlets in the UK. I have a blog at