Jul. 8th, 2013

rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
I think I saw someone tweet or post about tools you use as a writer, and I wondered if I had any specific to my current theme of talking about mental illness. Turns out, I do. See, my day-to-day peace of mind relies very heavily on two meds which have both good and bad sides. I take fluoxetine (commonly known as Prozac) for my depression, and pregabalin (Lyrica) for my anxiety.

Whatever Robin Hobb has to say about it, I couldn't be me without medication (right now). Screw that "will I ever be myself again" -- if you've ever had medication make a difference for you, you know it isn't a case of it "damping down" the real you. It can give you yourself back. Nearly a year after starting on pregabalin, and I'm doing things I wasn't able to do from being very small. And it's not because pregabalin muscles on in here and takes over for me -- it's still me, it's just a me without the adrenalin kicking in over the stupidest of things.

But sometimes to get this stuff you do have to pay, and sometimes I get worried that I'll pay with my abilities as a writer (such as they are). I always had a very good memory, but now I'll put my pen down and be completely unable to find it when I come back five minutes later, because I just cannot remember where it went. Or I'll be looking for a quotation to use in an essay, but I can't find it, because I can't even remember the title of the book it's from.

And words -- ugh! Don't get me started. I did it in yesterday's post: it wasn't a typo, it was a "Lyrica moment" (as I put it). I typed "angle" instead of "ankle", and didn't notice at all. Typing is a matter of muscle memory for me; I simply wouldn't get it wrong by that many keys over. So it was something in my brain that substituted the word 'angle' for 'ankle'. I think that happens to everyone sometimes, but it happens to me appreciably more since I started taking pregabalin.

And from the combination of fluoxetine and pregabalin, I am simply so dopey sometimes. It takes me a long time to wake up, I zone out in the middle of conversations, I need things to be explained to me multiple times...

And my tool for fighting all that, and therefore the most important tool in my kit as a writer, has been crosswords. I've noticed that when I start the day by helping with the crossword in the paper, I continue the day much quicker on my mental feet. So now I don't even wait for the newspaper. As soon as my alarm goes, I'm opening the app on my phone and pulling up a random crossword. I've done it with strategy games, too: Kingdom Rush proved quite useful.

Actually, I guess you could call fluoxetine, pregabalin, and the apps I use to counteract their side effects tools I use for writing. Take out any side of the equation and I suck at life, and therefore at writing.

Moral of the story, if you need one, is not to let your writing be an excuse to avoid medication or some kind of treatment. You could be driving yourself into a brick wall. Maybe it'll take some false starts and you won't be as lucky as me in finding two medications right off the bat that help so much without cutting down your ability to do whatever's most important to you. Maybe you will.


rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Rhian Crockett

August 2013


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