Creativity and Writing and Bi-Polar Disorder

When I finally came to accept lithium without any mental reservations by the early 1990s; when I began, too, to see the end of my teaching career on the horizon and when there was a coincidental reduction in sexual frustrations; I began to write poetry a great deal. One could say I was obsessed; my wife certainly would use that word and I have come to accept that word as a realistic description of my behaviour, especially now that I am retired and devote all of my waking hours when possible to reading and writing. The drive to create never seems to leave me and other activities, domestic and social, serve to provide a useful backdrop and alternative to the constant demand. The demand is relentless, obsessive, compulsive, disinhibited, but, on the whole a relaxed and energtic activity: emotion recollected in tranquillity as Wordsworth once put it. Since the early 1990s until this year, 2007, perhaps a total of some 15 years, the output has surprised me. Fame and fortune, though, have not come my way. This does not really concern me for the act of writing is enough of a motivator. The fluvoxamine, since 2001, has enabled me to work after 11 pm and into 2 to 3 am without the black moods. If I wake up at 4, 5 or 6, say, a degree of emotional blackness/worry is present but the transition to sodium valproate seems smooth. The issues of career, sexual frustration and writing, while important to me and to my story are somewhat tangential to the central theme here of the bi-polar disorder. I do not want to emphasize or overemphasize these aspects of my life here.
I have gone into the detail I have above because I wanted to give readers some idea of the extent of this illness and its subtle and not-so-subtle affects. I really feel quite and quietly exhausted from the battle with this illness and would prefer to continue to live my everyday life quietly and in ways that my health allows. In 1999 I gave up full-time work; in 2003 part-time work and in 2005 most of my volunteer work, except for some Baha’i work largely involving writing. In the years 1999 to 2005 I took part in a wide range of volunteer activities from holding a radio program, to singing in a small choir, to teaching in a school for seniors here in George Town, to organizing a series of public meetings. Now short bursts at writing are about as much as I want to handle, with other short bursts in

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