There are multiple purposes for this blog. First, I'd like to share with you how mental illness can interfere with or enhance the writer's life. Second, I want to explore a more disciplined approach to the writing life. This blog will hold me accountable as I navigate story throughout my battle with mental illness.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Writing Away Mental Illness

Battling OCD and ADD is a long war. You win some, you lose some. But it is a war worth fighting.  There are multiple lines of attack. You can try the medical management defense, which sometimes help. There are also time management strategies for ADD and cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD. But there is another weapon in the arsenal - the written word. After all, the pen IS mightier than the sword. Pun intended. 

The obsessions, although relentless and ravaging at times, can also help me as a writer. In a literal way. A group of obsessive thoughts may go like this: why can’t I see from another person’s perspective (both mentally and physically). Physically seeing something through some else's eyes is an impossibility (for now, at least) however, if I truly want to know something about someone, what better way than to describe them as a character.

I also obsess over occupations. My brain says “Why can’t I be in every occupation known to humankind?” This is an absurd thought, and I know it is not possible. Sure, when we are able to download information into our brains it will make it easier. But, until then, I’ll have to settle for normal research, and to carry that over into my fiction. While writing fiction, I can BE that other person. I can BE in that occupation. I can research to my heart’s content, although it may not satisfy that OCD beast. At least, it may quiet that SOB for a little while.

Sometimes, I think this is my subconscious telling me I need to get to work, already. How do I know this will work? Because it’s a game in my head and I’ve already seen the outcome. No, seriously. I need to get butt in chair and bang at the keyboard. Let it all loose. I think I will surprise myself. Like I said, I am a work in progress. I don’t have all the answers but I do know, writing is a catharsis, a release, if you will. These are not my only reasons for writing; I have many more. But it’s a pretty good motivational tool.

When I sit down to write, I have to force myself to think about one thing at a time, which is difficult to do with ADD. I consider it training time for my brain. It’s the only time when I have to slow my thoughts so that I can make at least SOME kind of sense.

How does writing help you? Do you feel a release of emotion when you write?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is a very interesting perspective --if I interpret this correctly, you are stating that your OCD helps you write and in turn your writing helps quell the OCD.

    In regards to your question, "Do you feel a release of emotion when you write," I do think that if I am going through a hard time, creating fiction was pleasurable and almost a need. Maybe it was because that world was far more interesting. Now that I'm far more content, I don't have the desire to have fiction anymore.