Greetings! Please forgive any typing errors or crazy sentences, and for some of you, I believe you may see two font sizes here. I guess that’s the difference between typing on my phone and typing on the computer. I shall try to fix this the next time I get on the computer. LOL!. It has taken me several days to write this, and I may not have edited it well. And most of all, please forgive the length. I am good for writing lengthy blogs, but this one may take the cake due to the subject matter.
Okay. I thought maybe I was losing my mind. I thought maybe I was depressed. Then I thought that – once again- I had writer’s block. It’s been so bad, as you can see, I have neglected my blog for almost a year. I couldn’t even right a blog!
I’m on the fence when it comes to writer’s block. I’m not really sure if I believe in the concept. Or maybe I just don’t have a deep enough understanding of writer’s block. Maybe because there are several definitions of writers block, each according to each individual writer’s perspective.
I believe that writer’s block can be caused by one or many things. Often procrastination, sometimes illness, most often distractions from life. Those distractions are ones we actually allow. We need to take time to write, don’t we? Record that block time in your datebook; stick to it.
I have projects on the table, things I’ve been working on for months, even years. A book that was filling up with poetry, and so many other things. Even an editing project or two.
I was in the midst of writing – attempting to write – Chicago Down when I realized that I can’t. I just can’t. Nothing’s changed in my head. I can see it, feel it, hear it, taste it. But it won’t come out. It just will not travel from my brain through my arms and hands onto the page (or the computer screen as it were).
I did not notice it at first. It came on so slowly. And then just one day it hit hard. I stopped. It reminded me of when a bird flies into a clean, clear glass window. How he just slams into it and then drops to the ground and flutters around down there. Sometimes he doesn’t recover. That seemed to be me.
I was…still am…unable to control my own creative mind and thought processes. I begged my Muse desperately for help. Believe it or not, I even talked to the long-dead Al Capone. Asking him for inspiration. Literally speaking scenarios aloud or picturing them in my head and asking him what should I write? What would you write? What should I do? The truth is, I didn’t really need those answers. I could see it just like always. What I was asking for was a way to take that film out of my head and put it on the page like I have for the last 35 years! I was asking Al, and Muse, how to write it out on the page, not actually what to write, but how to write it…onto the page! Get it?
Every time I write fiction lately it reads more like a newspaper article than a fictional story. Thankfully I’ve not had too many problems with poetry. No matter what type of poetry or how long or short the piece. That could be because of the rhyming words. Maybe? *Shrug* Your guess is as good as mine.
For months I contemplated why my ocean was drained of writing powers. Where are my mermaids, unicorns and flying fish?
I tried to do everything to get it back. Whatever “it” is. I call it writer’s block, but the problem is, I have no problem imagining things the way I have for the last three decades! I just cannot get my arms, fingers and brain to communicate with each other. It’s sort of like…say…you can see a word in your head and you can hear yourself or someone else pronounce it, but when you go to speak it, you’re mute. That’s me. That’s how I feel right now. I’m creatively mute. I can see it, but can’t speak it…or write it out, as it were.
I spoke with fellow writers about it. Talked to other artists. I set blocks of time for writing where I just sat in front of my computer and did nothing. Or typed aimless sentences because that seemed to work for me and others in the past.
To fuel my creativity, I looked up real facts on the internet; looked at newspaper articles, etc, and would copy and paste them into the timeline of the novel so that I could rewrite them in my own words. Adding things in between like fake situations and circumstances.
Wow. That didn’t work. It looked horrible. Sounded horrible.
Then one day at the physician’s office, I was complaining about all sorts of things. The poor doc! Then she said to me, it’s your beta blocker. I was like, what? Now this was some time ago. Deep in my heart I felt it was the medication. Fast forward, I tried another medication and it made me almost lose my mind. I actually would sort of black out, and it seemed like I woke up in another place. Sometimes it would take me several seconds to get my bearings. I don’t like that, and I certainly don’t like the idea of that happening to me on an interstate by a toll booth during rush times.
So, doc put me back on my original beta blocker. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. That’s how I look at it. There’s really not many other medications that I can try. So, now, with some professional help, I am working to break through the barrier that the beta blocker has built.
The doc said that I can absolutely break through it. She said it’s sort of like when people have a brain injury, or stroke, or some kind of mental trauma in their lives that happened to them, and they have to relearn things, or regain memories. She said I have to break through; I can break through, and the brain will react similarly to when people’s brains forge new pathways after a physical or mental trauma.
So I had to dig through boxes to find some writer workbooks I purchased in the past. I bought them with interest, but then found a project and never really worked with them, so I have great books now to use to help me out. Ms. Professional Nut-curer told me to utilize the lessons. And to read, read, read fiction, especially smaller novella-type books. She said to read shorter novels and short stories so that I don’t lose interest in the middle of a story. The beta blocker is also causing a sort of attention deficit, but only where reading and writing (anything at all) is concerned and I need to stick to shorter stories for now. She said if I read a few pages and my Noodle is urging me to stop and go eat ice cream or play on Facebook, I must overcome and read one more page. But, I do need to stop when I cannot recall what I just read on the extra pages, or can’t decipher the meaning behind the scenes if there is one.
I am fighting this. Unfortunately for me, I am terribly sensitive to medications. I have rarely taken them in my life for this reason. One of the results is my high tolerance to pain being that over-the-counter meds like Naproxen or Ibuprofen is about all I can tolerate. Also, I’ve been a very low user of penicillin and other antibiotics, hence my high positive response to them. Only these last 3-4 years have I been a avid user of antibiotics due to a chronic condition that causes colon infections and powerful antibiotics are often needed. Anyway, let me put it this way… if a medication side affect is dizziness or sleepiness, etc…look out. I’ll be passed out somewhere before you know it.
I take a beta blocker for a rapid heart beat with no known cause, at this time. One day around New Year’s Day, 2016, I was drinking a wine product. I had about 4 ounces in a glass. I drank most of it over a period of 30 minutes. My heart rate increased quickly, stayed high for a couple of days along with my blood pressure, and I ended up in a hospital emergency room where I stay for three nights. I never drank a wine product again…because I can’t.
As an update, my heart and all it’s parts are perfectly healthy. In fact, the doc that did the angiogram said that if he had not seen me…he would’ve thought I was 10 years younger than my age…I was actually 46. He said I have a very healthy heart, my arteries are free of plaque, etc. Later that year, October, I had a Doppler on my legs. Thoroughly on the right leg. The person who performed it stated the same thing about my leg arteries. They both encouraged me to take caution and care for my healthy heart and arteries…literally telling me how lucky I am. I believe them.
Getting back to the beta blocker story. I am now working through the block(er) with the suggested mental and creative exercises. Also using meditation when I can. And of course, I just keep on trying to write my stories. I keep on trying even if it means I just stare at the last sentence I wrote three weeks earlier, or even just blinking my eyes at a blank MS Word page. Or staring at a photo of Al Capone, or of a river at dawn, or of my favorite place – a beach of South Padre Island.
I find it so hard to believe that such a low dose of this medication has had such a negative impact upon my creativity and though processes. But, alas, here it is. And it does other things as well…like give me the skin creepy-crawlies, and cause odd dreams, and sometimes nightmares.
I just want to encourage you all to take a look at your medications if you think you have become different because of one of them or a combination of meds. And, try to do something about it before taking one medication leads you to take another medication to relieve you of a side effect of another. Sometimes doctors and pharmacists do not realize it’s your medications. Never, ever feel afraid or too intimidated to tell them that you do feel it’s your med. That almost happened to me. Doc thought I’d need sleeping pills or an anti-depressant, etc.
My sleeplessness is caused from the pill building up in my system. My depression is caused from my inability to do the one thing in this world that relieves my stress and tension. The one thing that I’m good at. The only thing that I’m good at. I thought, at one point, I was becoming useless and worthless. How odd that we label ourselves in such ways.
We are thinking I should take the medication in a time-released option. I may try it.
A friend of mine was on several medications. A family member of his complained to me that my friend’s behavior was very odd. I inquired about medications he was on. When he told me what they were, I named two and said those should not be taken together. It just so happened that they were prescribed by two different doctors and my friend did not tell the docs truthfully what he was being prescribed by the other. Turns out that I was correct and his medications were changed. I’m glad because they were clashing something terrible.
Just be careful of your meds. The doc doesn’t always know best. But you do. If a negative effects persist for more than a couple weeks, call the doctor. But if the effect is too overbearing, do not wait for several days to go by as it can ruin you. We all know it takes time sometimes for a negative side effect to work itself out. But don’t let it set you on fire. Speaking of fire. I was prescribed a steroid for inflammation, and even though I had read the possible side effects, I didn’t realize one was telling me to stop taking it. I continued through the whole prescription. I now have permanent high blood pressure brought on by the prolonged use of the steroid because I did not recognize my discomfort as a side effect. I never had high BP in my life not brought about an illness or condition. My usual BP was always normal. Not anymore. Now I take blood pressure medication and my BP may never again be normal…all because of the side effects of another medication. Sadly, a medication I probably didn’t need.
So for those of you who have been waiting for a book after the New Year, it may not happen. But do not give up on me, or be disappointed in me…I will come back. I just hate it when promises are broken. I hate it when people are broken too. Please forgive me for that. It’s been out of my hands. But I will make a come back. Me and my Noodle…and Muse, and Al Capone.
As always, thank you for reading.
Glad to be here on your blog, Wanda. Make sure you don’t place yourself under any more stress. Stress can make everything else worse. You have this beaten!
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I’ve had problems with meds in the past. Some things prescribed for me were not good. I knew that from the start and didn’t take them. Pain pills, of the opiate kind, have always made me wired. I never take them now. My PTSD meds were making me feel like a zombie, so I stopped them. You’re right, Wanda: no one knows your body as well as you do. I know you’ll get back in the zone again, my friend. It’s just one step at a time.
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Thanks, Blaze. I’m grateful to know that others understand and know that these things can happen with some medications. I was becoming so ashamed and embarrassed by the whole thing before I realized the problem and it was confirmed by medical professionals. But at least I feel I can overcome it now. My heart’s not feeling so heavy.