The Creatives’ Guide to Living With Bipolar Disorder: Dealing with Writer’s Block

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This hasn’t been a good week for writing, which is annoying as I need to get a story done by the end of the month for a competition call, then work on another story for an anthology call I’ve been looking forward too. I’ve mostly been rewatching Game of Thrones from the beginning (oh the foreshadowing!!) and bingeing on House (go Netflix!). It frustrates me, staring at a blank screen and knowing the words are there, I just can’t access them, especially when there are deadlines to meet.

My way around this is to have fall back projects, once I love, like my blind lawyer stories. These are the ones I allow myself to write when there’s nothing else I feel like writing. I know some of the ‘not feeling like writing’ is down to my illness. I had an idea for a short story, endured the glorious manic morning that comes with inspiration, then the idea died like a lead balloon and left me feeling vacant and a little lost. I know that if I can just get writing, the normal flow will resume, it doesn’t matter what I write, only that I do it.

Because I’ve all but cut out alcohol (barring a single pint now and again), my medication is working. This is great because it means the quetiapine is doing its thing unimpeded. Unfortunately, it’s also making me drink gallons and crave sweet biscuits (I have OCD traits which mean I fixate on people, things and, especially given my upbringing, food). I was hoping the latter had been balanced out by the amount of exercise I’ve been doing but not so. Plus biscuits cost money and I’ve run out of both for the week.

Oh and my other obsession is wanting to get myself a snake. Like a real one. A corn snake. I’m in love with the idea and know someone who has two they need to rehome, except I’m not sure the cats would approve. I know you have to feed them actual mice (and you can buy them frozen) but I love snakes, I always have. I also recognise this obsession is a slow burning one, similar to my desire for a tattoo. I waited a long time before acting on that need and was all the better for it. Plus I’m not sure I can afford the extra financial burden of new pets (insurance, food etc). Not right now. Even as I want them, or the romanticised version anyway.

Feeding something a dead animal … there’s no romance in that, only survival. And the smell of death.

I had my thyroid and glucose levels checked and they’re fine, my heart is as strong as an ox. However I’m now battling with my weight again, which makes me sad. Plus my IBS, caused by scar tissue from gastic surgery and the fact sweet biscuits, chocolate and coffee, are my prime triggers aside from stress. Oh and I have been stressed, trying to arrange emergency boarding for Uni on very short notice. The IBS, in particular, has been making me double up in pain like I’ve been kneed in the gut.

Stomach pain is not, in case you were wondering, conducive to being able to write either.

Of course, if I just gave up these things, the pain would go away and it would all be good. But I can’t. I need caffeine to battle the large amount of sedating medication I’m on (quetiapine and my sleeping tablets). I’m no longer an eighteen year old who can pull all-nighters. Even if I even try that, and mess with my sleep patterns, I can trigger a manic episode. Sleep is important, which is why I need to spend one day a week sleeping for fifteen hours just to reset the clock, so to speak.

Today I’m just exhausted. I spent all day in Norwich doing stressful things yesterday, battling my writer’s block and by the time I got home, all I wanted was a cider (just one) and my bed. In that order. I feel better but just going to grab a coffee has used up all my spoons so I’m going to skip Zumba tonight and try to write today, while finishing up Season One of Game of Thrones. Despite being awake, I feel tired.

I just need to rest and chill out.

I know I can write this story, which needs writing, in less than a week if I put my back into it. The story is one I want to write as well, it’s just finding the state of mind to do so. It’s a fascinating story and I want to love it, I want to dive into a new world and relish swimming in it. But today I’m tired.

But today I’m tired so we’re going to take it nice and slowly.

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