My primary fear when faced with the need to go on a mood stabilizing medication was that I wouldn’t be me anymore.
I would be numb. I would be dumb. I would be . . . stable.
My creativity comes from chaos and change. How could I possibly live life if I weren’t bouncing rapidly from insane manic highs that allowed me to have a million ideas a minute to drastic lows that gave me what I thought was the perspective I needed to churn out brilliance when fog lifted?
What would I do if I couldn’t write anymore? Draw? Design? What if that all went away?
And some people will always be willing to say that you will be deadened by the stabilizers. Not just stable, but immobile.
Things were too hard, though, this way. Unmedicated. I was unpredictable. Irrational at time. Grandiose and immortal in one moment, then fighting for the energy to take my next breath in the following moment. Even if I could never create again, at least, perhaps, I could focus well enough to get some job or other, to parent, to be a good partner to my husband.
I was on the medication for over a month when I realized I had never actually written anything while manic.
I had never charted out and calculated a knitting pattern for publication while manic.
I had never created any new fabulous recipe while . . . you get it by now . . . manic.
But with the medication, I was able to do these things. I was writing again. I was cooking again. I designed a few things from time to time.
The difference was clear after awhile. When I was in those upswings that I found to be so creative, I had infinite ideas rushing through my brain, each competing for attention, none getting any. I would feel that mad rush of ingenuity at every turn, and be so overstimulated that there was nothing to be done with any of it. It was not creativity, it was mania.
I don’t have that rush any more. Just one idea following the next along a logical path to the next creation.