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I miss writing but I have to quit taking my meds to do it. Should I?

(54 Posts)
MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 16:54:49

So, pretty much that's it. At one time, I was told by various teachers, professors, other writers, that I was actually a good writer. To be honest, I don't know if I have what it takes anymore. I am 45 and no longer the young prodigy that some people (not me) thought that I was. To be honest, I don't even know if anyone would like my shit, because I don't think my voice is relevant anymore.

And, as the title suggests, I'm on various meds for my mental health, and although I feel calm and relatively happy and content, I don't feel nearly as creative as I did when I was off my meds. I truly don't know what to do.

I've always wanted to write a novel or a book of poetry but a lot of my stuff is unfinished. Unfortunately, I've never been a self starter, however, when I was manic (I'm bipolar) and as high as a kite I had crazy energy and could write all night until 5am.

So, I guess I have two questions really. One, should I go off my meds and try too write (or paint actually, as I haven't been in the mood to pick up that, again either) and two, should I even try as I'm middle aged now, and I most likely have nothing new or groundbreaking to say in the first place, so it will most likely just be an exercise in futility?

What do you mums netters think? Should I give up?

Thanks in advance to anyone who reads this and responds, much appreciated. smile

babysharkah Wed 20-Feb-19 17:39:32

Honestly no you shouldn't. You're calm and happy now and by your own admission haven't finished anything. Coming if the meds May make you not calm, not happy and you still won't have finished anything. Sorry if that sounds harsh.

WombOfHerOwn Wed 20-Feb-19 17:42:31

I think it’s far to big a risk to take. It’ll affect far more than your ability to write and most likely in a negative way. Not worth it if you are stable and doing well.

WombOfHerOwn Wed 20-Feb-19 17:42:46

*too

Gershwin Wed 20-Feb-19 17:42:50

Stay on your meds

Redorangeyellowgreen Wed 20-Feb-19 17:42:58

I don't think age has anything to do with it. And 45 is hardly old.

I do think it's risky to come off the meds though. I can see why it would be frustrating for you. But I think having good mental health is the greater prize here.

EstrellaDamn Wed 20-Feb-19 17:44:23

Honestly, I don't think suffering for your art is a good route; you only have to think of a handful or artists and writers' tortured lives to see that.

Staying happy and well seems like the far better choice to me. And I say that as a writer.

Connieston Wed 20-Feb-19 17:50:13

Not worth the risk - but please try to write regardless. I want to hear what you have to say! I write for a living and my creative voice, and the flow come and go, but some of my most truthful writing has been during fuzzy-headed years.

You can start small. A poem perhaps, or look for writing prompts online. I did an MA years back and the structure and learning and guidance were invaluable in kick-starting things after a break. That can be expensive of course but there may be writing groups near you. It can help to fizz ideas around, and get encouragement. Good luck to you. The world needs more creativity x

MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 17:53:58

babysharkah, I said a lot of it, not all of it. I have quite a lot of finished poems and non-fiction prose that I'm quite proud of actually. But, your point is taken. Thank you for your response.

dangermouseisace Wed 20-Feb-19 18:00:57

As someone else on a ton of meds that sedate, I can sympathise with your position but really, coming off them isn’t a good idea.

I know there are arty people who say “I took anti depressants and it dulled my creativity and I just felt numb”...I’d suggest that these kinds of people may not have needed to be on psychiatric medication in the first place. I don’t know about you but without medication I am superwoman/super edgy woman for about a week before I end up unable to function as a human being.

My experiences of manic people (in hospital) is that they might produce a lot of “stuff” whilst high, but nothing that makes any sense. And they end up losing their freedom and the choice and control they have in their lives.

If you feel you want to reduce your medication can you get an appointment with your psychiatrist?

MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 18:01:25

Connieston, thank you, I needed to hear that. The thing that sucks is, I'm in a happy marriage (ridiculously happy) and I lead a pretty easy life. I feel like I was at my best when I was in a chaotic relationship (which trust me was exciting and I was head over heels in love, but wasn't good for either of us) or when I was being bullied in school. It seems like when life is shit I really blossom. But, I don't want my life to be shit anymore. I feel like I paid my dues. So the only thing I can do, is look to the past inspiration. And, it sucks going back there. My past could actually be a novel. I've been told that, so many godamn times. But, I don't even know if anyone would like to hear it. I mean, I don't know. I just don't think I've go the chops for it anymore. In 5 years I'll be 50.

Connieston Wed 20-Feb-19 18:09:09

It's great you've found a plateau where things are steady and you're secure. It sounds as if it didn't happen overnight, you've gone through difficult things, and you should be proud of how far you've come! Perhaps that is the story? Not in a flippant way like "happy ever after" grin ...just that your perspective now is unique and forged by what you've been through. Perhaps the fact that you have in the past felt someway fuelled by difficult situations is worth thinking and writing about. Never forget if you've felt it, other people will have felt it too. They'd love to read something that makes them think "Yes."

MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 18:11:09

dangermouseisace, really, I think a lot of artists and writers with MH disorders are quite brilliant actually. Maybe, I'm not one of them, but you really think Bipolar people or other people with MH issues don't produce good work?
Anyway, to answer to last question, my meds have been upped just recently actually, (my therapist retired and I did not take that well. I just recently took 50 ativan in 4 days. Yeah, I know) so there's no way that I can get my dosage reduced right now. Maybe, when I start seeing my new therapist next month. But, frankly, I'm not out of the woods just yet.

Thanks for your response. And, I hope I didn't come off too abrasive at first. I guess, since you said you also have been hospitalized, I thought you would have remembered the posters everywhere that listed all of the critically acclaimed writers and artists that had mental disorders. Maybe, they just didn't have those posters where you were admitted.

Connieston Wed 20-Feb-19 18:11:16

Forgot to add. You don't have to relive it. You sound as if you defiantly (and I mean defiantly not definitely) don't wish to dwell on what's happened. I understand that. Not dwelling is a great theme to conjure with also. grin

MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 18:19:24

So, like a memoir? I've thought about that, but that would include outing my brother, who molested me when I was a kid. I know this might catch me some shit, but I really don't want to ruin his life or his families life. I have been estranged from him for the past 20 years, but I just don't want to do it. I can't sell somebody down the river. Even, if they fucked me over royally. It's just not in me to do it.

No offense to anyone who has turned anyone in for that. Good for you for doing it if you have. I just can't. It's a personal choice, that's all.

dangermouseisace Wed 20-Feb-19 18:19:35

OP sorry you’ve misunderstood what I said. I said manic people don’t tend to make much sense, as in people going through an acute manic period, i.e whilst acutely unwell. Of course people with mental illness can produce great creative work- when acutely ill that is very unlikely though, and that is the situation that is risked by coming off medication.

MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 18:29:00

dangermouseisace, sorry, I must have glanced over that bit. I have ADD has well, and I haven't taken my Aderall yet, which slows everything down for me and makes me concentrate a lot better. Wish I had it in school. HA!

Yeah, you're right about the mania shit. It's fun fucking ride when you're in it, but man I have made some of my worst mistakes while being manic or in a mixed state. Slept with a lot of the wrong people.

Anyhoo, yeah. I guess you're right. Do you think I could (or anyone) could produce good work when their medicated though? I don't think I've heard of anyone that has. Writers are among the most miserable fuckers I've ever met. I don't even like to hang out with them. Come to think of it, I probably wouldn't want to hang out with me. I'm really surprised I'm even married or have a friend in the world tbh. HA!

Connieston Wed 20-Feb-19 18:38:39

It doesn't have to be a memoir. Place the situations with invented characters. Stick it on Mars, or with animals as the characters, back in the Stone age or Medieval times or something else detached. Play things out. Be in charge. It can be therapy in itself as a mental exercise on paper. Detaching the specifics can help you feel free to explore what happened and what you think.

spudlet7 Wed 20-Feb-19 18:42:02

Don't do it. Don't give up your mental wellbeing for anything. That sounds dramatic but finding a sense of equilibrium when you have MH issues is A Big Deal (which you already know, of course). I wouldn't risk it.

MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 18:50:06

Connieston, that's a really good idea actually. I was thinking of writing a children's book and I was actually writing it, but had a really bad year 2 years ago- a lot of psychotic breaks, so I stopped. I could try that again. MY Dh really liked it actually. And he's an avid reader. He still thinks I'm gonna be some great successful writer someday. I kinda feel sorry for him for thinking that. God, I sound depressed. :/

I hope I'm not being forward, but do you think I can pm you here, once in awhile? I mean, if you don't want to that's cool. It's just, I don't really have friends that can relate to me like that anymore. My best friend is a scientist. Thanks. smile

Connieston Wed 20-Feb-19 18:55:54

Of course! I come from a family of scientists. I'm the weirdo grin

dangermouseisace Wed 20-Feb-19 18:56:59

That’s ok OP! Stephen Fry takes medication, and has been writing critically acclaimed books recently, as a starter. I’d expect there are actually a lot of artists/writers on medication who just don’t admit it. Stephen Fry is open about his experience of bipolar though. Tim Lott is a British writer/journalist and he has admitted to having both depression and ADHD and taking medication for both.

Personally, I have a friend who produces the most beautiful artwork, who takes medication, and a friend who is a writer and is on some really hardcore old type meds. Most people would never guess that was the case with them, and it’s not something they publicise...I just know because of shared experiences. Maybe when you’re in a better place with your therapy/have adjusted to a medication increase creativity will come more naturally? It sounds like you are in a tough situation right now.

dangermouseisace Wed 20-Feb-19 19:02:34

..and my mate says mental illness is a great “shit filter” Your spouse and mates are obviously good eggs who don’t disappear when you need them grin

Parthenope Wed 20-Feb-19 19:06:37

How much writing have you actually done while on your medication? I get that you don't have the extreme levels of energy than when you are unmedicated and manic, but I think that feeling 'inspired' is largely an irrelevance. Writing a novel or memoir, by which I mean finishing one and editing it to a point where it's the best it can be, is far less about spontaneous inspiration, than about stapling your ass to a chair and getting the words down, and then going back and making them better.

It's patience and perseverance and an ability to damp down self-criticism enough so you can keep going past the 'that's the worst paragraph since the invention of writing' stage, but turning it up enough so you can see weaknesses and things that need improving. If your meds make you functional, that's almost certainly a better state of mind for approaching writing than 'inspired' and manic.

MissLanesAmericanCousin Wed 20-Feb-19 19:07:12

Connieston, omg that's hilarious! Yeah, she's married to a math professor too! Smart as hell, and I love her dearly, but sometimes, she looks at me like, confused Cool. Thanks so much. I really need to talk to creative people again. It's been so long.

dangermouseisace Thanks. I think maybe we started off on the wrong foot. I would like to try again. Would you mind if I pm you too? If you don't want to, that's cool. I won't be offended. smile

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