The Problem with Words, Visual Impairment and Bipolar Medication

Screenshot 2016-04-29 08.09.16

I’ve just finished a massive project and despite going through it, I’m mortified to find it still riddled with errors. Some of this is down to my inner editor (my brain is adept at replacing blurry images with best guesses) and the rest is simply due to how close I am to the text.

Previously this would never be a problem, when I was working for magazines there were editors to proof-read, plus my vision was much better. Now I’ve hit my thirties, it’s deteriorated at a rapid rate, even if I can still see ‘more’ than most of my friends. I’m still blind and have noticed it’s becoming increasingly difficult.

My vision is breaking down, my eyes hurt and I’m getting more eyestrain-related migraines than I used to. I know I could simply cut down on my time on a computer but … well, no, that’s never going to happen. It’s particularly hard when you only have a half-working eye to begin with.

Worse, my medication has wrecked my memory, meaning my previously pristine grammar is now tarnished. I can’t remember the basics and often get the simplest things, like it’s and its, mixed up. My brain is flagging it up and an error and I no longer know which is right.

Now I’m not so sure and it’s embarrassing.

I started using Grammarly a couple of months ago, mainly for little things like blog posts and Facebook. Now I’m running documents through. Yesterday I realised I’ve spent the last week mixing up ‘alliteration’ with ‘iteration’ and I hung my head in shame. Words and meanings, that’s my thing, the only thing I can do well. I used to be able to spell anything …

Unfortunately my bipolar medication doesn’t come with useful notes on specific side effects like ‘may find understanding of grammar and spelling is reduced’. It’s not a great mix, especially when I make more efforts than most to go through my text and nix any errors. There will always be a couple that escape the net but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

All I can do is find my way around it, such as feeling chunks into online checkers and seeing what gets spat out.



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