When I was working as a counselor, my favorite clients were the ones who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and  schizophrenia because they were always the most expressive and artistic clients I had, especially when they were going through medicine transitions or changes with their psychiatrists. The description of mental or physiological states of being were described in poems or through song lyrics. As I reflect on them I can see that much of why I enjoyed working with them is because they spoke my language. 
Similarly, my work with these clients catalyzed my disdain with psychotropic medication. Why were we suppressing the creators of such beautiful artistic expression? What could we be getting from them if we were not sedating them into such flat affects? I recognize that is not the point of their medication, however it is what I would see happen sometimes once their meds were stabilized. Selfishly I wanted them back in raw form, never mind the fact that in such a state they might be a danger to themselves. The Shiva in me was okay with risking destruction for the possibility of beautiful creation. 

When I talked to my psychiatrist about my own medication, it was a fear I had. That I would lose the true voice in my writing if I were not clean of the pills. I suffered through the sweats and nervous shaking, constant doubt, crying and flashbacks just to be able to write my dissertation from my familiar headspace. On the day of my defense, I didn’t take my “in case of emergency” pill which had been added to my daily regiment. I wanted a sense of true presence even if it meant I fell apart. I did end up crying three times that day. 

Now as I work with my doctors to lower my dosages and lower my anxiety, I feel trapped in the limbo of having deep beautiful thoughts and being too anxious to do anything with them. The paradox upsets me. It is such a tourment to feel glimpses of beauty yet have no real way to step into it fully. To embody it. The dance exhausts me and makes me cry, longing for just a few months ago when creativity was my resting place. 

Art is my freedom. And lately even with writing, the cost is so high to produce it I question the value of the entire process. But somewhere deep down at the core of me I can hear my Brahma assuring me that words written through shakes and tears are still worth writing. 

I worry constantly about over exposure. Am I saying too much? Being too open, as if there was such a thing. I try to tell myself to listen to my intuition and trust myself. It’s harder to do when you feel so scattered. Like a deck of cards thrown up in the air scattering the floor one at a time. I’m a full deck but I’m a mess. 

3 thoughts on “Mental

  1. This is your blog. Your space. Be as open as you want to be. I appreciate this post. Many friends throughout my life had bipolar and a few family members as well. You’re right! They were/are artistic and expressive. Maybe because the creative process is medicine in itself.

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