Taking Medication Doesn't Make You Less Creative

Taking Medication Doesn’t Make You Less Creative

This is a lot of debate around medication for Mental Health. I’m a proud taker of Citalopram, it’s something that keeps me healthy and that’s that. There’s an idea that having a mental illness makes you more creative – I’m not sure that is exactly true. But why is this coming up? 

Recently, Kanye West went on a Tweeting spree, within his many, many he states  ‘You don’t make runaway on medication’ and he was ‘six months off medication’. I was pretty worried after reading this. 

While medication is 100% someone’s choice, the idea that you can’t be creative and well frustrates me. For many people, medication saves lives every single day- just like insulin does for a diabetic. The idea that your creativity, your creative worth is tied to you being mentally ill is sad. 

Everyone deserves to feel well and the problem when you are mentally ill it can make you feel that either you are not worthy of feeling better or that you are not ill – you are fantastic, you have every single idea and why would you want to slow down…before you crash.

It is true that beautiful things can come out of these times we’ve seen Art and Music and ideas born from mania but it’s not sustainable. Living in that way is not sustainable and more than anything it worries me that people will think it is, especially those in mania. 

Taking medication doesn’t make you less creative. There are medications that don’t work and can make you feel worse BUT there are a lot you can try while you find one that works for you and makes you feel like yourself. 

I hope that Kanye can get the help that he needs. Mental illness is hard to deal with and I cannot imagine what it is like in the spotlight. Do I agree with the things he does and says all of the time? No, but he’s human and I do have compassion for others. 

It goes without saying that I’m not a medical professional – if you want to change/come off your medication please, please talk to a doctor before doing so. It can be incredibly dangerous to go cold turkey on these meds. 

Take care of yourself and those around you. 

 

Writers Block

There are times when I cannot write,

from my brain to my fingertips

it just doesn’t come out right.

 

When my head is too sleepy

or my heart is too full

or I’m just not feeling writing glee

 

Does that rhyme not show

that today is indeed one of those

Yes, I’ve sunk to that low

 

 

You see I want to write,

each and every day

So this internal battle I’ll still fight

 

I’ll drag those words from every corner of my brain

Get out here you guys, I need you

God, writers block is a pain.

 

 

Self Doubt and Creativity

I love Sylvia Plath, back when I was at university, not knowing who I was or what I was doing (although that’s still ongoing). There is something about Plath that spoke to me in so many different ways, but there is something she knew well. The fight between self-doubt and creativity.

I’ve always found myself to be a creative person, writing stories and poems since I was small, singing, acting, dancing. When you’re young, for many there is no such thing as self-doubt, you dream and you do, that’s it. It’s only as you get older that a voice pipes up in your mind, not of hope, but of doubt.

For the past few years, I’ve had my heart set on writing a book, my laptop currently full of ideas and different starts. I have poems and song scrawled in notebooks at mine and my parents. I can’t help but have these ideas come into my head and keep going. That said, they remain unfinished and I know why. That little monster of self-doubt creeps in eventually and makes me want to get rid of it all!

With all this in mind, I want to get rid of my fear. I want to break free of my self-doubt and internal criticism. So, I’ve started just writing and not reading over it as soon as I finish. I’ve also been listening occasionally to the audiobook of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

How do you help yourself when it comes to self-doubt and creative fear? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Review: Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World – Edited by Kelly Jensen

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What is Feminism? Does doing certain things mean you’re not a Feminist? How can I see myself in Feminism? Being young and trying to be a feminist is tough. Actually, scratch that, being a feminist at any age is tough. When I was younger there was little on feminism, I’ve always believed women can do anything, but didn’t want to use the word ‘Feminist’ (I wrote about it here), I truly believe if there were more books like this I wouldn’t have gone through that awkward phase of insisting I was a ‘humanist’ (urgh). Jensen and the writers behind Here We Are have made an incredible book.

I cannot contain my excitement over this book. I want to go out any buy copies for all my friends, female and male nad just urge them to read it. Unlike any feminist book I’ve read before this collection of essays, stories, art, lists and more will speak to everyone. Jensen and her fellow writers just seem to get what being a modern feminist is, because they aren’t trying to tell you what is right. The book is diverse and doesn’t shy away from topics such as not wanting children, intersectional feminism, racism, mental illness. While I believe this is aimed at young adults, I learnt a lot from its pages.

When I requested this on Netgalley I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I hoped it would be good and that it would get the message across, but it did so much more. Women and men from all walks of life have contributed their thoughts on such a variety of issues that I struggle to find flaws in its pages. There were some individual quotes that I didn’t agree with, but that’s part of the beauty of feminism, we don’t all have to agree on everything (something else that was mentioned in the book).

The freedom of expressing yourself in your own way is also celebrated in the book. Artist have taken to creating comic strips, there are poems, songs, general essays, interviews, pictures and artwork, all of which make the message of feminism easier to identify with. By doing so the team of artists and writer have all given a breath of fresh air to self-expression in feminism, something which is definitely needed because not everyone is going to side down and read The Second Sex.

This is a wonderful, smart and encouraging read. I don’t think it’s for one age or one gender. The ideas, layout and overall message of the book is creativity, acceptance, equality and, most importantly, love. I hope this book goes far because it definitely deserves to. Pick up a copy now!

 

Thank you so much to the publishers who sent me an advance copy!

Where’s The Damn Book?!

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I’ve been wanting to write a book since before I started university. I’ve always written stories and the summer before I moved (3 damn years ago) I was working on my first novel. I was going to uni to do Creative Writing and I was going to be a writer. And then I started the course. I quickly realised I hated the course with a passion and spent a year of my life being told my work wasn’t good enough by older people. It always confused me because people my own age and one or two lecturers really liked it but there were some that were just hell bent on saying I wasn’t good enough. Now I’ve never had the strongest self esteem, I understand creative criticism but when you work so, so hard to get onto a course to be told by someone who has never read a word you’ve written that you’re writing is bad, you kind of take it to heart. Well, at least an 18 year old who’s just moved away from home and who’s walking around in an incredibly anxious state takes it to heart. I feel better now that it was just her opinion and truth be told after I refused to be caught by her after some catastrophic writing she’d put online (claiming that anorexia wasn’t real), I distanced myself from her and felt a little better about my writing. People liked reading what I wrote online, so why wouldn’t someone publish it eventually?

I’ve kept up my blog for almost three years now and had another before that, one of the main things people comment on when they search for me is the quality of my writing. So why isn’t that enough? This time last year I’d just returned from Athens on a week long creative writing course. Everyone was there because they knew to some extent what they wanted to write and I did too, something that my undergrad course lacked. Again I got positivity and some really great feedback but then the inevitable happened and I fell out of love with what I was writing and then I was there with ideas. Great right? I wish. I have all these ideas but self doubt is crippling. I write something, look at it a few hours later and can’t stand it. I get anxious that I’ll make spelling or grammar error and then be seen as an idiot. It’s deep in my heart that I want to be a writer, I want to see my name in a bookshop and see my thoughts on paper.

I know for a fact I can do it and I will, right now though my head feels so muddled and confused. What should I write about? Do I work on the non fiction piece? Do I try again on that old novel idea or start something completely different? Am I writing for Adults or Young Adults. All these thoughts go around and around in my brain and if I try and plan I get even more anxious because WHY IS THERE NO MANUAL THAT TEACHES YOU HOW TO BE AN AUTHOR. Which is silly, there’s no golden rule, not curse to break or magic formulae to make sure people will love what you’ve written. I know all this and yet I still want to delete pages of writing or worry about ever finishing something. I’m hoping these are rational fears.

It may sound like I’m complaining but I’m not, I feel like I have so much to give but it’s almost as if it’s trapped in my head and just won’t negotiate with my hands. I have ideas every night before I go to sleep and think they’re magical I wake up after scribbling them down and wonder how the hell I’m going to make something out of them. I don’t know, I thought I’d have a draft of a novel by now and I know, I know books can take years and years to just draft and then even more to get published. I’m just trying to get out of this rut where I just look at the page in anger because it’s just not doing what I want it to. My biggest critic is now myself, but I think with the voices of others inside, from the past who really shouldn’t be there. So I guess I’m going to have to work on kicking them out and working out what the hell I want to put on to paper, that might be a good idea. Oh and I might find the bloody book in my head stored away somewhere just waiting to come out.

 

Image from Pinterest

Book Review: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – Ned Vizzini

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“Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there’s so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.”

Craig has a good life, he goes to a top school in New York, has a loving family and a good group of friends. Craig is also depressed. After deciding he doesn’t want or need to take his medication any more, a few nights later he decides that he’s going to kill himself. But something stops him that night and he finds himself checking into a psychiatric ward and into a completely new world. To get better a lot has to change and Craig has to get to know himself.

There are books in life that somehow just explain your life. They make you feel like you’re not alone and you’re not as crazy as you thought you were. For me, It’s Kind of a funny story was like that. I’ve only ever read one other book that understood how I felt was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. You see, Vizzini’s main character Craig is a perfectionist, he wants success and if one thing goes wrong he spirals he starts to ‘cycle’ which, if you’ve never experienced it is a bad thing. Thoughts keep coming and coming until you can’t think straight,sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe. His high ambition and determination takes over his life to the point that the majority of his cycles are about the work he’s going (or lack of it).

A few people have criticised some of the actions of the teenagers on the ward and I’ll admit that, at first, I was sceptical and thought could things like this really happen? Then I remembered I was reading about teenagers, and I think that’s something you have to keep in mind while reading this novel. Craig isn’t an adult and while some of the things he struggles with might be hard to understand as an adult I can fully remember these feelings and emotions as a teenager myself.

I can fully praise this novel for its portrayal of what it’s like to have a mental illness as a teenager and also for reiterating that you should never just stop taking your medication. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to read something and just feel every bit of what the character is going through; the anxiety, the need to achieve, thinking that you can handle everything when in fact you’re only slightly getting better and last but not least finding a creative way to release all the frustrations. The reason that Vizzini can write this so well is because he himself has lived it. Like Plath’s novel, Vizzini’s is semi autobiographical; he was in a mental health unit as a teenager. On a personal level, I don’t think that experience ever truly leaves you. I’m inspired by him and incredibly saddened to learn that he took his own life a few years ago.

I want to give this novel five stars *****. This really is something else, not only is there a positive portrayal of young people with mental health conditions but also of teenagers in general. Craig does nothing wrong except try, and I think that’s more common than a lot of people realise. People with mental health problems can have a perfectionist side, which without help can take over, I certainly know mine does. I want everyone to read this because it is amazing, educational and I found that it really gave me some hope and someone to connect with. Go and pick a copy up now!

Review by Chloe Metzger