*Note: This is not a legitimate diagnostic category in the DSM. I have invented it for amusement purposes.*
It is a well documented fact that writers and artists and creative types tend to suffer from more mental illnesses than the general population. It’s something that’s always fascinated me–enough that I wrote papers on it in college. It’s like without those great highs and lows or different ways of looking at the world, we have no creativity. And while it is definitely true that there are many creative persons out there with legitimately diagnosed mental disorders (which may or may not be currently treated), I have decided that there is a third form of bipolar disorder (which is not to in any way denigrate or lessen those who have real diagnosis–can you tell I’m accustomed to having to cover my butt in my field?).
This form, which I shall call Bipolar III, is specific to writers (probably artists and musicians too, but because I’m a writer and most of my audience is writers, we’ll talk about them). The primary diagnostic criteria involves depressive or manic episodes that directly correlate with how the work is going. Mood swings are apt to be rapid and extreme according to the nature of the WIP. And buddy, I have this version of bipolar BAD.
The beginning of this year was heady and exciting with the finishing, preparation, and release of Forsaken By Shadow. I think I was on one LOOOOONG manic trip while that was going on. Then hubby broke his leg in early March, and I’ve felt like a total mental train wreck since. Some of that was being overwhelmed by suddenly having to do EVERYTHING. Some of it was physical exhaustion, which has taken a LONG time to recover from. And it’s been one long UGH depressed period as I tried to get Revelation off the ground and right. I’ve been depressed, cranky, short tempered, and just TIRED.
Since I come from a history of story hopping and not finishing stuff because I’d go off on a new shiny when things got hard, one of the big things I’ve tried to avoid the last several years is moving on to something else when things get hard. I try to push through. But there have been several occasions when that absolute roadblock in my plot was a sign from my brain that I was going in the wrong direction, and when I finally stopped to listen and backtrack, I usually found the right path and got unstuck.
I don’t feel like I’ve been stuck on Revelation because of plot. I feel really strongly about the plot, and it’s solid. Particularly after the boot camp session Pot gave it last week. But I’ve just been totally mentally DRAINED. In an effort to figure out where I’m just a mental train wreck period and need a recovery break from life or whether it’s this particular book, I deliberately went in search of plot bunnies. And just like that, I’m on an upswing. I feel energized and excited, and I’m getting to know my new hero and heroine for the new novella, Edge of Shadow. My outlook on life is more positive. While hubs is at band practice tonight showing off his new Vox Nighttrain (happy early birthday, baby), I’m going to hammer out my major plot points and start filling in holes.
OMG I feel so much better.
Now all that remains is figuring out what the signs are that mean I should go in another direction and which signs mean I should just push through.