So yesterday was exhausting but I tried to catch up with blogs in the evening. I was on the TV set for 10 hours and I was mostly naked and it was very cold. Overall it was a positive experience though and the positives definitely far outweighed the negatives and I spent most of the day pretending to eat someone’s muff. I can’t go into any more details due to the non-disclosure agreement, but it was for a show that airs on the BBC so it’s not porn or anything (sadly lol – I did meet a porn actor but he only did gay porn so had no advice about which straight/lesbian studios were any good).
Then this morning I overslept bigtime and my Dearest was left to make his own way to school. And my phone had 2 missed calls/ 2 messages so I phoned back and it was…
Okay, bipolar peeps; hit me up. How bad/good is olanzapine (Zyprexa)? I could finally afford to see my psych again and she is moving me onto olanzapine because the quetiapine (Seroquel)’s side effects are outweighing the benefits and she thinks it will be more stabilizing longer-term. She’s also recommending sertraline (Zoloft) for that anxiety/depression I haven’t been able to shake since August. Has anyone tried these either separately or together? What were they like? I’m mostly worried about the sedating effect which she says should be improved compared to the quetiapine (oh my God I could stand to be less sedated atm).
I’m not sure I’m in love with the idea of taking a combination of things, but at this point I’ll take whatever works!
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).
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.
Allegedly yesterday was the hottest day of the year. I wouldn’t know about that because I spent the last 60-ish hours holed up with the worst migraine of the year. I get at least three types of migraine. There’s the ones where they start bad, then get worse and worse until the pain is unbelievable and I want to rip my own nose off (or punch it until it stops moving); they usually come with sensitivity to light but not sound. Then there’s the ones which cause extreme sensitivity to light, sound and any other stimuli, where the headache is actually secondary to the sensitivity but they’re usually controlled the quickest by painkillers. These are the ones I wear sunglasses in the house for, they’re most frequent and if they’re not kept in check they can develop into either of the other two. Maybe this is actually a pre-migraine, I don’t know. Lastly, the rarest ones, where the headache builds up and builds up and builds up from nothing until it’s impossible to think about anything or do anything then the vomiting starts. This makes the head pain worse, then it fades a bit afterwards, then starts building and building again and so on until you wonder if there’s any point eating food because it’s a waste of money.
All three of them come with weird visual disturbances (I frequently get flashing blue lights) and fun illusions such as seeing black holes where there are none.
This week’s been characterized by the third type of migraine. I took paracetamol (why do you call that acetaminophen in America? Why?), it did nothing, I was going to move up to co-codamol but my husband convinced me it was time for an Imigran (sumatriptan). I tried one, it seemed to clear it and I went to sleep. In the morning, I woke up at 9am with the same migraine (or a very convincing impostor), but worse. It doesn’t help that the sun is making it hotter than the fires of hell in our bedroom (HVAC isn’t really a thing in the UK except in fancy hotels and some offices) and so I felt like I was near a volcano until I could get into the bathroom. Where I was stuck for the next four hours due to major vomiting. After that came the muscle weakness and inability to hold things (the same one you get during/after an anxiety attack) which meant I was holed up on the sofa watching re-runs of Gilmore Girls. What a write-off of a day. It’s claiming to have cleared this morning (Wednesday) but it might be lying, since it clearly lied on Monday and came back Tuesday as soon as I was awake. I’m going to take the day slowly, with many more episodes of Gilmore Girls, and investigate the possibility of food since all I could eat yesterday were weirdly tangy side dishes such as microwave rice (lime flavor), and a sandwich made of lettuce with a hint of mayo but I don’t know what to eat that won’t be wasted.
This morning I got up at 7:30 to make sure I wasn’t in our bedroom since it’s so hot in there after sunup (currently about 4 or 5am), and at first I felt cold, but within 30 seconds of being awake I could feel how hot the room was and I couldn’t believe my body would lie to me and tell me it was cool enough just to stay asleep!!! I am never a morning person but I literally RAN to the shower this morning and I got straight in so the cold water would bring my temperature down. This house has never been this weird on temperature before, usually it’s pretty good at not getting too hot. Is this global warming? The morning sun seems to be so much more intense than usual.
I suspect my meds may have been involved but I can’t pin anything onto them.
I’ve started to notice in the past year or so that these migraines seem to either cause, pre-empt or announce an underlying mood phase change. I’ve been in a bit of a mixed state the past few weeks, characterized by severe agitation, which is why I re-started my medication. It’ll take a couple of days at least before I know but I think that mixed state might have shifted. That would be neat. Maybe I can stop taking my meds again. The pattern (such that it is, this is only the third time I’ve stopped/started them) seems to be take meds for 2-4 weeks, until severe migraines, then when enough severe migraines, brain is all better for now. Two to four months later, lather rinse repeat. Wash hair frequently in the meantime.
I was hoping to have a few days now I’ve finished writing my latest book (just wait for the edits to come back…..) to just unwind and chill out, but it hasn’t really worked out that way. For starters, I’ve increased my dosage of medication back up to what it should have been, and mysteriously, some of my side effects seem to have improved (others have not). Weird.
The main issue is, I set myself a deadline of researching and applying for a master’s degree by this coming Friday. If I don’t do one this year I can’t do one at all.
Tuesday’s gone (and Wednesday) and I’ve narrowed it down to either computing or writing, but I can’t pick between them it’s so damn hard. Part of me likes to imagine that if I did a MA in Creative Writing (or journalism, or marketing, or theatre writing…), that I might actually write really good books that became number 1 bestsellers and that I might actually feel like writing could be my career. I genuinely don’t know if that’s delusions of grandeur though, because the problem with being diagnosed bipolar is suddenly every damn thing you thought you were good at is completely indistinguishable from a delusion of grandeur. How does anyone with bipolar maintain confidence without letting it tip into delusions of grandeur? It’s as bad as the “was it a religious experience or was it ideas of reference?” conundrum. I literally second guess every stupid thing because I don’t know how else to keep myself in check. I can’t allow myself to think that I might be successful at anything, or good at anything, or a nice person, or whatever, I have to constantly believe that I’m not. And then that takes me into depression again.
I’ve sold 1000 copies of my last book now, BTW (God knows how, it only has 3.5 stars), but I still don’t feel like writing is a sustainable (or legitimate) career choice, and every time I have to make edits I feel like complete crap, through no fault of the editor, I just have no self esteem at all.
Add to that, I always wanted to do computing but believed for the longest time that I didn’t have the aptitude for it, so I’m naturally super nervous about doing it as a potential career change despite being constantly proven wrong about my ability with computers.
It’s like there’s these two diametrically opposed interests pulling me in two different directions.
Has anyone reading either studied Creative Writing or studied programming who could possibly tell me what they gained from either? Did it move you forward in your career?
Back on my meds now,
Blinded in the house.
And a second, bonus haiku:
Back on my meds now,
Sleepy, thirsty, craving sweets,
Also my laptop’s fallen in half and is barely working now, so I can’t tell if its my altered vision or if the laptop screen is actually flickering dark every few seconds. That’s what I get for wearing prescription sunglasses in the house.
So I was writing a post for Monday morning talking about how I’ve been hit in the face with depression when I actually worked out what caused it, it lifted… I never finished the post but my house is a bit cleaner. I even cleaned the mold off the upstairs windows. I’ve got so much more to do on that front (literally, I have a list of 65 things that need doing, excluding dailies like laundry, I feel like that kid from home alone), but I made a good start today and I feel better for it.
Now if I can just get my house clean before school ends… I might stand a chance of enjoying more of the holiday this year. Sometimes I feel like being a grown up is 80% being the kid out of Home Alone and 20% being screwed over by grumpy people who charge you for drinking their water even though you can’t pay them. Damn you Starbucks!
I will write a nice beauty post once I can actually afford to buy s’more cosmetics, which will be when I’m not so overdrawn that I can’t actually buy petrol. I’ve probably got to sell or scrap my car this month because I still can’t afford its MoT (annual government inspection) or to fix its windscreen. Who’s going to buy a car with a cracked windscreen and no MoT???