About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Akathisia, Hypomania, Mania, and Writing

One of my bipolar medications can cause a side effect called akathisia. Akathisia is a feeling of inner restlessness and an inability to sit still or remain motionless. I had been having slight feelings of akathisia caused by my medication Abilify, so my psychiatrist lowered my dosage with the intent of getting rid of these feelings. So far, it's working.

You would think that something like akathisia would be good for a writer, that it would mean boundless energy and being constantly in motion, getting work done. But this is not the case. It's a highly unpleasant feeling, even when it's as mild as what I was experiencing.

Hypomania (a lesser form of mania) and mania are the same way. During episodes of hypomania or mania, you feel as though you're tremendously productive, creative, wondrous--a genius. You feel as though you're getting so much done. Well, maybe you are, but the quality might not be what you think it is when you're in that state. I've written while either hypomanic or manic, and when I look back on some of that writing, I find that it ranges from mediocre to downright bad--incoherent, disorganized, lacking in real creativity. Unfortunately, however, sometimes what I produce in these states is good, and herein lies the danger of bipolar disorder and a reason that some people go off their medications. They want to grab those good moments and fly with them. If they're some kind of artist, they want the high and the art that it can produce.

But I won't go off my medication for the possibility of a few good pages. It's not worth it and, as I said earlier, it's dangerous. As for akathisia, while you may feel an inability to sit still, you can't really work because you can't sit still. If a person on an antipsychotic is experiencing akathisia, you want it to stop. You want to get back to the ability to relax, be still, and accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing about this issue...
    I am enjoying your blog
    I am writing about similar but different issues! Unintentionaladdict.com
    Wishing you well

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading my blog! I wish you well, too.

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