Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Wuz Robbed

I've noticed a very disturbing trend lately. When I sit down to write, nothing but complete drivel comes out. There's no flow, no joy, no flashes of inspiration. It's pure drudgery.

I hate it.

This is why writers who've been in the game long enough call it what it is: hard work.

I've gone through these cycles before, which means this will pass and I'll have days where the writing is not so hard and I can bask in the bliss of words again.

I hope.

I'll be honest. This time, I feel like something has changed.

When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I had no idea that it would have an affect on my mental abilities. I just figured it would attack me physically, which it has (rather well sometimes), but not so much emotionally.

As I've connected with others who have RA, I've learned that they, too, have experienced this same emotional turmoil. Brain fog, short term memory loss, not being nearly as sharp and quick as we once were, lack of motivation, depression. Some of this is caused by medication and some of it is caused by the disease itself.

I'm on a powerful drug for my RA, and I've definitely noticed a difference in my mental abilities since I've started taking it. My doctor and I are trying to see if we can help ease that situation, but what we're trying so far isn't working.

The racing thoughts, lack of focus, inability to think clearly, and malaise are all a threat to my writing. On some days, it takes a supreme amount of will power just to get myself to look at my novel. The Internet has exacerbated this lack of focus as it gives my racing brain plenty of reasons to keep racing. Click, click, click! It's maddening.

This disease hasn't just robbed me of my physical health (which was precarious to begin with), but I also feel like it's robbing me of my mental health and writing ability. It's not that I'm not passionate about writing, because I am. But getting myself to mentally commit to it, to be in the story, is increasingly difficult lately.

To say I'm scared is an understatement. Writing is really who I am. It affects so many parts of my life that I would be completely lost without it. I'm terrified that this is not just a normal part of the writer's cycle, that this disease has made it incredibly difficult to write like I have before, that I will regress instead of progress.

But rest assured, I am not giving up. Oh no. It's not in me to do that. I will keep writing, and trust that God will see me through it, and trust that the writing ability is not gone, only hidden behind a veil of a medication-and disease-induced, misfiring brain.

This quote by John Wayne aptly fits:



I'll saddle up. I'll keep forcing myself to write, even when it's hard, even when the words are stuck in the mud and muck of my befuddled brain. I'll keep pushing, keep trying, keep living.

Onward.

P.S. If you want to participate in the "Where I Write" blog carnival, details are here.

16 comments:

  1. I like that quote! Hoping you find yourself newly inspired this week. :)

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    1. Thanks, Erin! It may take a few more bites of chocolate, but I am determined to do so!

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  2. Oh my goodness. I never thought about certain medication affecting someone like that. Will be praying you and your docs figure it out AND you write your best yet!

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    1. Yeah, I never even thought about it either until I began to notice a pattern. Thank goodness I journal - I was able to trace my "discombobulation" to the meds. Thanks for the prayers, Terri. Much appreciated!

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  3. What an awful thing to face, but I like your fighting attitude!
    I'm hoping and praying that you will get over this hurdle.

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    1. Gotta keep on fighting! :) Thanks for the prayers, J.T.!

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  4. Melissa, I've heard that writers often draw from real experiences-real life for their inspiration. As I see it, WHAT you write about may change in focus-and maybe some of what you write about now will fall victim to your RA, but NOT the fact that you ARE a writer. Does that make sense? Who knows what hidden depths that you weren't even aware of may be revealed now!! Big hugs, my dear!!!

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    1. Valerie, I can always count on you to lift my spirits and make me smile. Thank you so much. You are so right on all counts - I'm hoping lots of terrific writing fodder will now be unearthed!

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  5. Having worked as personal care assistant for many years for people (mainly children) who take medication for various reasons, I'll be the first to attest that it's effects branch out into other areas of a person's life. With those that I worked with we tried to achieve a "clear head" through exercise, reading, being with animals, yoga and even forms of meditation. But it's difficult because what works for one doesn't always work for another. It takes time to find one's stride and I think you will because, as you said, you won't give up. Hope and trust are important in facing new (and old) challenges. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate!

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    1. I ate more than double my serving of chocolate yesterday, that's for sure! I'm trying to figure out how to get my head clear and so far, nothing is a surefire bet, but I'll keep at it. :)

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  6. Sorry to hear things are tough for you at the moment and I hope theyimprove very soon.

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  7. Supreme amount of willpower just to look at my novel? Brain fog, short term memory loss, not being nearly as sharp and quick, lack of motivation, depression... maybe I'm suffering from RA too???? No, seriously, I don't mean to minimize how drastic RA is and how it's affecting you. I love your fighting attitude. It reminds me that if others are struggling with much bigger obstacles to writing than I am and still determined to keep going, than I need to push past my small excuses and keep at it too.

    Praying for encouragement and strength and focus for you!

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    1. Sometimes my fighting attitude is more like a weak whimper. LOL. There are some days when I just have to let it go and do something else - like reading or just vegging out in front of the t.v. :) Thanks for the prayers - much appreciated!

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  8. Hi Melissa, I can hear the pain in this post, and I'm sorry that you are going through this in your life. One wishes for wise words, words that might bring comfort, it must be hard to be facing this. I know that when I've been faced with challenges I've wanted to run away but have learnt that sometimes (in fact I think always) one has to learn to sit with 'suffering', not to turn and run but sink into it and see what it has to say to us, what it must bring out of us. I hope this phase will past and bring more riches to your writing. Fog be gone and let the sun shine through. xox

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    1. What a beautiful comment, Clare. Thank you so much for this. I love how you described it - to "sit with suffering." I think you're absolutely right. Bless you!

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