Monday, June 13, 2011

Didn't Sleep Much

It’s ok though.

I did get almost 4 hours I think.

That’s usually enough for me to semi function.

Today’s like early this am when I last blogged.

Everything feels dream-like but I do have what I was reading about in my head before I went to sleep right now.

Right when I started feeling those “strange” (what I’m kinda always assuming are) migraine-y feelings I googled “writers and epilepsy” and came across some very interesting things.

(Why I chose to do this right then I don’t know.)

I always knew that Lewis Carroll had epilepsy but I didn’t know that Poe, Tennyson and even Van Gogh were believed to have had it too.

It made me think about how everything I had ever learned about them and their lives was always attached to the notion that they all were just “crazy” or “alcoholics”. Teachers throughout my life have even used phrases as strong as “this guy was off their nut” to describe certain behaviors these artists had and certain things that they did throughout their lives.

Well, my research not only spawned feelings of slight anger and annoyance over this but also led me to learn more about a condition known as Hypergraphia.

Hypergrafphia is the compulsive urge to write. It is not a disorder. It is actually associated with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Bipolar Disorder.

I usually see these two actual disorders in articles and they always relate to each other.

Now, back when I was a teenager and being diagnosed with “possible Bipolar Disorder” or “possible Clinical Depression” (I didn’t stick around long enough for them to decide which medications were going to work to make the decision of what was actually wrong with me but that’s another blog) I almost wonder if some of the things that were occurring weren’t early symptoms of this epilepsy. (I started to read a lot of Sylvia Plath during this time and I could relate to a lot of the feelings she had and I really thought I was just “going mad” and wanted to fix it.)

In the two years that I actually spent under many different doctors’ care and trying different anti seizure medications after my first “known” seizure at 25 I still couldn’t get a positive answer as to what they believed to be causing these seizures in the first place.

Some were saying I had some “slight abnormality on my temporal lobe that could be a possible mini stroke”. (I believe that I did have this mini stroke just because of symptoms that occurred and the timing of MRIs when they found it.) However, as to it being the cause of the migraines which (some doctors believe) is the cause of the epilepsy no one was absolutely SURE when they said ANYTHING about it. It was always “possible” and “we think”. (So perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word “belief”…but you get the picture.)

So, yeah as to the cause of any epilepsy in the first place, medical and neuro-science seems to know how seizures occur they just aren’t sure WHY so much to call it epilepsy. (Kids can have seizures due to high fevers…other conditions can cause seizures…it’s the frequency and the type that constitute it as being epilepsy. I can’t quote this but based on what I’ve read I’m thinking that there are other things that mimic epilepsy as well…more research is required for that.)

But, back to Hypergraphia.

This doesn’t just mean “oh, I like to write” or “writing is my passion” or “I live to write”.

It’s seriously an obsessive compulsion.

(And after reading more extensively about it I’ve actually known some people who I believed truly had to deal with this and I have even dealt with it at a time in my life which I will share with you now.)

Since I was 6 years old and realized that I had the ability to come up with a good story and could write it down I knew that it was something I’d do for the rest of my life.

I was an avid reader ever since I learned how as well and I admired certain authors and wanted to be “just like them” even at a young age.

I wanted to do it for a living someday (even though my career choices could change daily…I’m a true Gemini…I’m into a lot of things as my tumblr will reflect).

I still love to write even though I have taken hiatuses that can last up to two years from really doing any “serious” writing but even during those times I would always have a journal entry here and there just talking about what’s been going on in my life.

But I didn’t have a compulsion to write it down and I definitely didn’t feel awful if I didn’t write something down. (Maybe slightly guilty at just being too lazy to get up and do it or too afraid to actually write something that could be awesome but never “having” to do it.)

However, when I had my Topamax-Trip (which if you’ve read personal blogs of mine before you have heard me mention this drug many times) I DID have seizures that I truly believe upon reflection and from what I read last night that gave me bouts of Hypergraphia.

I would seriously yell and scream if anyone tried to stop me from writing down EVERYTHING that was going on when it got really bad.

That’s usually the case in most instances of Hypergraphia. People who live with it seriously write down EVERYTHING and HAVE to.

Now, let’s think about this for a second.

A lot of creatives struggle with brain conditions such as epilepsy, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses.

My senior project when I was in high school was ALL ABOUT the correlation between creativity and mental illnesses (the focus being depression) so I’ve always been interested in it because I believe this is something that is a huge part of me and I can relate to it.

I get very upset when people refer to my seizures as “freak outs”.

I get upset when people call people who are mentally ill “psychotic” in a derogatory way.

If you are doing ANYTHING because of a chemical imbalance or abnormality that occurs in your BRAIN that you AREN’T able to control you are not “having a freak out” you are sick and need help and support from those around you.

I cannot stress how important it is for people with any illness to have support from their family and those who call themselves friends.

This does not exclude those who are mentally ill.

So, Van Gogh wasn’t just “off his rocker”.

Poe did have an alcohol problem but because he most likely lacked support he became addicted to a vice he probably used to combat his illnesses.

(I know that alcohol helps numb my nerve pain a lot and I don’t abuse it but I know there are times when I take a shot to help me sleep.)

This is something I’m learning more about every day too.

SO many stories of drug addicts who became addicted to their pain pills because they have (or had) LEGIT pain due to an illness or injury and this NEEDS to be treated differently than someone who just fell into experimenting and it got out of control.


I CANNOT make that any bolder.

I experienced withdrawal and SO many other things on different anti seizure medications (all of which are used to treat other mental illnesses as well) when having to stop them and up their dosages or lower their dosages or WHATEVER.

I am not saying that these medications aren’t designed to help because they ARE.

However, seriously, seriously do your research on them and make sure you fully understand what they are affecting in your body.

I’m always so surprised to find out things when I actually take the time to look into them and I believe if DOCTORS did this more then patients would have a better quality of life.

Doctors need to treat PEOPLE not diseases and to know that everyBODY is different and will react differently to different things.

(This is merely a patients’ perspective but I’m also speaking for everyone I know who has experienced similar feelings.)

Back to our writers, though: What if on a milder scale writing and other creative urges (that aren’t compulsive) possibly stem from mental illnesses like research and doctors and psychologists have already started to believe is so?

This could possibly mean that you are being given a gift along with your “curse”.

A talent through all of the tumultuous traumas you have to triumph over just to live a happy life.

And that’s kinda cool if you think about it that way.

So, all I was REALLY trying to say with this is that I’m starting to really feel that my epilepsy (and whatever else could possibly be going on in my brain that they haven’t figured out yet) can have a silver lining of giving me my ability to be able to express myself in different creative ways and especially in writing.

The only thing that truly holds me back when my physical limitations aren’t preventing me from being able to work on anything artistic is me and my fear of either not being good enough or being too afraid to really dig down deep and express something in me because it might hurt me to do it.

But I’m trying to change this.

I want to be great like Poe and all of the other writers and artists who were “off their nuts”.

And I can use epilepsy to my advantage because sometimes my migrained-out mind comes up with some AWESOME things.

I just have to DO IT.

So, to all my fellow “crazies” out there (Cuz “only a crazy can call another crazy crazy”, right? ;) ) if you have some creative urge I urge YOU to act on it.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself and surrender to that because it’s something that you may be able to do so well BECAUSE of your “craziness”.

And always know that it’s ok to make light of it (like I am right now) but also important to know that you AREN’T crazy…you are sick and you can’t control it.

But on the positive side, you can do something that maybe someone who’s super healthy and athletic can’t.

You can tap into these parts of your mind and express it with the hopes of connecting to the inner human emotion to inspire others and relate to them.

That’s a beautiful thing. :)

Well, that was fun.

I hope you enjoyed this blog from “Migraine Land”.

I’m glad I allowed you into my dream this morning because I really think this blog post might reach out to other creatives or epileptics or people struggling with mental illnesses and allow them to see some rainbow through the rain.

It’s why I do what I do.

Helping you helps me.

Now, I think I should go lay back down and try to rest this off.

We’ll see how my pain holds up though because that darn kink in my shoulder’s starting to flare up again. Ugh.

I love you all.


Thank you for reading and have an awesome Monday!

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