Week Two (Day Three)

Oh, no.

I feel that manic thrum through my bones, like the clickety clack of keys is my very heartbeat.

Hypergraphia wouldn’t be a disorder if it didn’t interfere with your quality of life or hinder you in some way, I suppose.

I don’t have the time or energy for this nonsense. I noticed the change during keyboarding, which frankly I love. Sure, it tends to hurt my hands a bit to learn the new method, but she allows us to use headphones and to try to cut out the clacking and the anxiety it causes me, I play music in the background. I get to be in my separate little world for a little while. It’s almost like a break for me, so I hope she never asks about the music because I feel like I desperately need it and I know it’s only for one semester.

Anyhow… My wordcount changed from 40/wpm to 62wpm and The Last Prophet started cycling at the back of my mind, it’s on the backburner for additions and slight changes to things, but this was the sort of skittering I recognized as soon as my fingers started flying over the keyboards.

Dear Lord, I’m screwed.

There are a couple of options, of course. The first is to devote the time between school and work to writing. That could be cathartic but if one person at work comments on my speed, I’m liable to snarl at them and then say or do something else that is very nasty.

If interrupted during one of my episodes, I either grunt because I didn’t actually notice, or I start snarling because someone is trying to take my bone from me.

Because there’s a mania to it, my energy level feels like it’s gone up. But it’s also connected to my attention. Guess what I can’t pay attention to? Anything else.

And yet at the same time, it won’t leave me alone. I can’t just ignore the words that are trying to get out. That’s not how this works.

But, as I said. If hypergrapia didn’t interfere with your life or make things more difficult for you, they wouldn’t call it a disorder. It’d be a blessing or just another skill. Like being good at math or something.

I don’t have the time for this, but I am trying to redirect that manic energy into school and just staying on my feet. I almost feel alert for the first time in a week or so, which is both insane and beautiful at the same time.

Hera

Last week my hypergraphia flared up.

As I’ve stated before, I have hypergraphia. This means that every once in a while I have these episodes where I have to write. It’s linked to obsessive compulsive disorder and let me tell you.

There is no option.

When these moods hit me, I often start projects but then as the mania passes the project tapers off and never gets finished.

So last week when I started writing Hera I didn’t tell anyone except those in my immediate life.

Over the course of eight days I wrote about 97k words. Just a couple of hours ago, I finished the first draft.

Because of the mania which fueled this story, I have no idea if it’s any good. I know (from reading articles and the like) that the stories written during the mania of hypergraphia can seem like the best idea during but then once the mood has passed it makes no sense.

I quite hope it is good, and barring that, salvageable.

The first Elders book is written. I think my mania has passed and now I can get back to other work.

“I’m Allergic to Stupid.”

That’s what I’m going to say going forward until I get a diagnosis. I’m allergic to stupid. Not because it amuses me, though it kind of does, but because that bitterly sarcastic ‘stupid’ is actually the fastest way to describe what triggers my episodes.

I had one Monday morning. I then proceeded to continue working for several hours like the moron that I am, before I told someone. Then I worked a couple more hours before I tried to call someone in because I’m a freaking idiot.

I’ve been having these episodes since about the time I was fifteen. They started in or around my being struck in the head with a pot. The only reason I remember that is because I called my friend sobbing and told her something was wrong but couldn’t tell her what besides I got hit and she chastised me for it.

Which is… oddly the only bits I can actively remember about any other episode.

I know someone called my mother during my (I think) first episode and she probably came and picked me up. I remember her arguing with my father, though this was a later date, about whether it was a migraine or diabetes. Neither of them took me to a doctor. My mother, I think, insisted that my symptoms were exactly her symptoms and therefore it was a migraine but I don’t know if she was ever diagnosed and I don’t actually remember her ever having a migraine.

But she did self medicate with pot for dreams, sleep problems, and headaches so it’s possible given current studies that she inadvertently treated herself for years.

The thing is, I don’t remember my episodes. Not during, not after. There are flashes here and there.

Like I remember my workplace calling my father, back when I still lived with him, and forcing him to come pick me up. I remember being told by him on the drive home that it was my own fault, I had no one to blame but me and that I was doing it to myself. But I don’t remember anything else. I think part of my face went numb. Think being the keyword there.

I’ve had episodes for the past fifteen years. I am struggling to remember any of them. I know last year, I think it was, I walked into the breakroom and sat down as others of my job-level were sitting around gossiping. I remember being asked if I was all right and saying no. Don’t know how I made it home. Pretty certain they didn’t drive me.

That was about the time that I started saying, “I taste static.” How does static taste? Well, it tastes the way it looks and that white noise sound it makes on a television set, that’s how it tastes. Not like pop rocks. A co-worker suggested it might be like pop rocks but I’ve had those and that’s not it.

Since uttering those three little words, I have been able to pick up on several more episodes. Not all are as bad, but I’ll just be standing around doing my job or at home, frown and think, “I taste static,” which is now followed an hour later by, “Oh shit. I taste static.”

Tuesday morning I felt completely hollowed out. The anxiety was high, I was exhausted, and sitting on a bus with an old man with a cane who was thumping it on the floor. Every thump of his cane felt like he was beating me with it and I knew I had to find something to distract myself so I decided to look into Hypergraphia.

I have it, I’ve known for years that I have it, but research has always been spotty at best. Imagine my surprise that there is more research being done on the phenomenon.

Hypergraphia is currently viewed as a compulsion disorder that doctors want to medicate the shit out of because if your brain isn’t normal fuck you and take some medicine. By itself, and if controlled, hypergraphia isn’t a bad thing. There are a list of authors who have had hypergraphia or thought to have had it. Being hypegraphic is like having a wild imagination, or being a rambunctious child. You don’t need to immediately medicate it into submission.

Just shut up and let it do its thing unless it’s interfering with your life. Treat it like you do anxiety. Grunt and say there’s nothing wrong unless they’re screaming and refuse to leave their bed because you shouldn’t treat anxiety unless it’s seriously encroaching on a life and you certainly shouldn’t believe someone has it just because they’re high functioning most of the time.

I also have anxiety. My anxiety prevents me from speaking with my doctor about my anxiety. But then I can’t get her to do a test for my joint pain and that’s supposed to be easy, relatively inexpensive, and possible to spot any day of the week.

Try telling a doctor you have a neurological disorder and you’re told to come back when you have it on video tape, or have a grand mal in front of the doctor. Or your mother yells at the doctor until he gives in…

Sorry. It’s… hahha… it’s actually a symptom of … oh, I’m a broken little toy.

Hypergraphia has been found to coincide, but not always, with a couple of other symptoms. One of them is this one where you talk in circles, or write in circles, but eventually get back to the main point. Your brain takes all these little bits like a jigsaw puzzle and crams the pieces together until it makes a whole that makes sense to you but not always to other people. When it’s really bad, it’s bad.

Shortly before and after an episode, I’m suspecting mine is much, much worse. Like right now. Urgh.

The hypergraphia and spiraling are symptoms that have in the past been linked to temporal lobe epilepsy. I don’t have a diagnosis, my freaking doctor won’t even test my joint pain. Getting her to test for what is still often an “invisible” illness is going to be impossible.

I want to get tested, I do not want to be told I have epilepsy. I wouldn’t be able to drive unless I was proven to have gone six months without an episode. That’s pretty hard to prove from my understanding, and my episodes are caused by undo stress from people who continue to poke me when I repeatedly tell them to stop.

I am perfectly willing to tell you how to handle me, but if you ignore that, the snide tone of voice is going to come out and I’m going to start talking like a crazy person so you go away before you trigger an episode.

For the past couple of years I’ve been noticing days where some objects appear larger than they actually are. It was probably happening before, but I’m now in charge of an area that deals with measurements so I’m just noticing it now. There have been several occasions where I looked down and went, “oh! A quarter!” and it was a dime.

Know what those are?

… signs of temporal lobe epilepsy and possibly of me having a waking seizure.

Gaps in my memory might not be a traumatic childhood… they could be signs of temporal lobe epilepsy.

I’m a freaking broken toy.

I also suffer from generalize and social anxiety. Possible PTSD, the pot to the head wasn’t the only instance. Depression on and off, though to be fair that’s to be expected with everything else. Oh, and mal-adaptive day dreaming disorder. Is it a disorder or a syndrome? I can’t remember.

I like to sum all that up as “I’m an author who is allergic to stupid.” But people think I’m trying to start a fight. I’m just trying not to share my mental health with the world because I know the world doesn’t care.

But what does that really mean?

Well, the hypergraphia means that this post has been swirling around inside my mind for the past three days and wouldn’t go away. As hypergraphia is a compulsion, I can sometimes resist, I am not the worst case scenario by far and have diverted that condition into writing my books. But because of the episode and anxiety that followed, I had to write the post or it wouldn’t leave me alone and would start to physically hurt.

The swirled writing bit, where you talk in circles, is how I got to such a long post without actually making a point. At least I don’t think I did.

That all ties into the mal-adaptive day dreaming disorder which means that I’m really great at creating worlds and have taken to writing about them. But the hypergraphia paired with creativity does not mean talent. I could write a hundred thousand books and I could still die a second rate author unless I attempt to control my compulsions and fix my writing style going forward.

But I didn’t know about the swirled writing before. I read about it, then I went into work and read some of my notes and realized that my “communication problem” was a symptom of my disease.

So now, verbally anyhow, I’m trying to resist doing the swirls but because I keep interrupting my own thoughts I can’t finished what I was trying to say and things are both disjointed and a little slurred because I feel like I don’t exist behind my eyes which is something a normal person isn’t even going to understand.

I’m not crazy, I’ve never been tested, and once this passes I’ll read that sentence and wonder if I was on something at the time.

Because I had an episode, I’m unable to focus on more than one thing. It’s either watching a video or reading, I can’t do both at once because it hurts to try. When I’ve mentioned this to people in my past, and that it frustrates me because I feel like half of me is gone, I have been laughed at.

“Now you know what it feels like to be normal.”

The only people I think less of for not being able to do what I can do, is people who talk like that. It is not normal for me to feel like this. It is absolutely terrifying to be stuck inside my own head and unable to see any patterns. It causes anxiety because it’s just taken me more than my entire morning to do some receiving which normally takes me twenty minutes.

But, haha, normal people do it every day.

I think less of those people because they’re jerks and they should feel bad about how they treat others.

What this all means in the present is that at the beginning of the week I had an episode. The fallout of that episode was that I read up on hypergraphia because it is something I’m slightly familiar with, the new research was a distraction. But reading up on it triggered my compulsion which I can’t distract myself from because I’m unable to distract myself from compulsions. I have nothing but compulsions.

Mainly to weep and hide, but that part is really besides the point.

It all resulted in having to write this blog entry because the words had to be let out before they started aching and because I’m sick of listening to them swirl around inside my head. And I do, I feel better, I feel lighter and just a little unburdened at getting it out.

I’m still pooched for at least a week though. Guess I’m playing video games and drinking like I don’t have deadlines looming. Because sometimes you have to just give in to the crazy. You can’t fight it all the time, especially when your doctor doesn’t believe you have a problem so you can’t seek out proper medication.

When the Words dry up

Bad words, bad, bad words.

Normally I use that sentence in place of a curse word, but this time around, I’m chastising the words that I’ve been chasing around for the past week. 

Some people call it writer’s block, I call it hypergraphia. 

I’m not just prolific, I have a need to write nearly everything down, otherwise it becomes painful. I physically ache when I can’t write when I need to. I’ve learned to offset it over the years, manipulating myself to keep from going completely mad and writing on the walls.

For me, it swings like a bipolar. There are periods of lots and lots of writing, then periods of nothing. At some point over the next couple weeks I’m going to hate anything to do with words. Mainly the written word, but verbal communication will fall drastically as well.

I’ve been trying to push through and finish Death Mask in the mean time. There’s a period of time after, as it’s coming back, that I read everything I can get my hands on. Last year during such a period, I did editing on the Contracted series. 

One of my bosses, years ago, said something that has always stuck with me: use your people to their strengths. Don’t put someone in sales who isn’t great at sales, put them on setup where they can achieve more and are happier.

When it comes to managing yourself, it’s the same thing. Know your strengths and weaknesses, know when you’ve reached your limit and when you need to wear a different hat for a little bit. I could just try and try and try to write. Just do that for the next year and end up maybe completing Death Mask in the next twelve months. 

That would be a chapter every two months for those who may be counting.

Or I can take a break and recharge my batteries. I know the fastest way to swing myself back around is to basically look like someone with no attention span. My favourite way of doing this is to watch something on the television while playing a game and reading a book at the same time. After a day of that the thrum starts up again, but it takes about six days straight for me to start that twitch and to rage quit all the things and go back to writing. 

I didn’t write while in Cuba, but it’s time for a break. I can’t just walk away from all this for a month. For starters, that’s a bad thing to do. It’s also just not possible for me to shut down the indie author in me, not without a bunch of alcohol. I’d rather not do that.

But I don’t want to market and I don’t have a book to edit. 

Do I? 

Oh, I could edit Contract Signed. That’s a thought that could work out. 

I will still have Death Mask with me and available to write. I will even look at it every day and on each commute. This time around I just wanted to huck my phone across the room. I wanted to play a game or something. 

I don’t have a game. Writing a blog post instead, just because I can’t handle that but I feel guilty for not working on it. I had such a great start yesterday before work. Then my day just killed my brain.

In the mean time, as I struggle with finishing a book that should have been done two weeks ago, I’m going to see about a website. Maybe pre-made covers and graphics as well. Maybe even the cover for Death Mask, that needs to be done and I can do it all without doing the words. 

So much for two trilogies in six months. Stupid, broken brain. 

I realize that without that brain being damaged the way it is, I wouldn’t be the author that I am. I get that, I do. And I know there needs to be balance, but I want to write. I have ideas this time, I have the plot written out! 

But my words have failed me. I stare mutely at my blinking cursor and just want to cry because I can see it, I can hear it, but it won’t come out of my head. 

So I have to wait. I have to sit on my stories and hold my own hand even though I want to shout and scream at myself. I know it’s not because I’m lazy, I know it’s not because I’m not ambitious enough or don’t have the time. It’s simply because I’m broken and it’s not the kind of broken that I can piece back together. 

That frustration isn’t going to help me any. 

Sometimes it’s hard to be kind to yourself, because you have plans and want to go places and do things but you just can’t. I’m more forgiving of other people’s mental health than I am of my own. I shouldn’t be surprised by that fact, but I am. 

And I know I need to take care of myself before I look outward on the world and try to make a change in what I see. That’s what I’ll do, but in that conflicted, “I’m upset because I’m crying because I’m angry with you because you worried me,” sort of way.