I Can’t Write

Hi chaps. Since I last spoke to you, London burned, I turned 26, I had my disabled students’ assessment (ah, a side of you you abandon, and then when you need to revisit it you realise how much the glove still fits), I went to Madrid and to the pub for the first time in many months.

Excuse the quietness both here and on my website. I have been struggling to write for a while now. I don’t even have many ideas. I had a lot to say about the riots but due to social media, news moving so fast, everything I had to say ended up being said. I still want to say it but it feels irrelevant.

A combination of many things, I imagine; a wireless connection (and streaming telly), having been busy with work (which is no more as I start university) and possibly the Lamictal stupids. I often get writers’ block, struggle with my concentration, or become exhausted writing about my own life. The balance between what I am comfortable sharing and what I feel is helpful to share is a tricky one. Sometimes I don’t want to share, but I do, I do want to share- not myself, but the joys, the pains, opinions, the human things, intellectual things, silly things. I am a hermit. So I share by writing.

This time feels significantly different. I’m not sure why. I have been fine for a long time, I am content now to sit and watch rubbish or lie still, when I have rarely been in my life. To lie still before was the stillness of death and depression, and to be still is not my natural way. It is wholly unnatural, though not unpleasant. I am fine, but flat, and I feel it. My brain is not racing, it is quiet. It is not dead, dumb or empty, just quiet. I’m not used to that at all. My mind isn’t restless, but I am, for something, to do something, to write. I sit and try and sweat with the effort. I’ve never had the discipline but I want it now, more than ever. I am going to instill it in myself, because if it doesn’t work, then what? I am struggling to find the words- I keep repeating myself, my vocabulary seems to have shrivelled. It’s melodramatic but I understand those I used to think as glamourising, glorifying imbeciles who said they had lost themselves, lost part of themselves, when they became stable. Because I have lost a part of myself too. I am trying to force myself to write. But I feel such grief at this realisation. Maybe it’s not my magic power. Maybe it comes from somewhere that is, for now, closed from me, to give me time to live in other ways. But I have lived through this. Something is gone. I hope it is not forever.

I don’t even feel as though I can call myself a writer anymore. Maybe I never was one, I have never really had much faith in myself in that respect. And maybe that’s why- I didn’t write a book when I had the chance, I haven’t taken the chances I’ve had, I haven’t exploited things or pursued them. Maybe I subconsciously feel that a writer would do those things, and I didn’t. Or that I just gave up and decided to be a nurse instead, as if, “instead” mattered. I know I can be both, if I want.

That’s why I’ve been quiet. I start university next week, so I may be quieter still. Take care chaps!

(PS: I’m aware some people may go, “Oh but you can!” But I’m mostly talking about the physical, blank, draining, difficult effort of actually doing it, which is not something I have really experienced before. Struggled and stuff, but the words came easy enough. My confidence just might be severely knocked or something- I don’t know. “Don’t knowing” is what is annoying me, too).

9 Responses

  1. wholly predictably I will say “of course you can” but I do understand (five working confusers here but all I do is play with OSs to make them über-secure and lurk others’ posts) and have been unable to write anything substantive for more than a year. As one who has been reading your posts for nearly three years, I’d suggest that your current quietus is a preparatory phrase ahead of the start of your course, a course which will doubtless demand very many words. I predict that your (self)confidence will return, in the meantime, enjoy the rest?

  2. I wish I had your eloquence as a writer. I can only imagine what it must feel like to ‘lose’ the manic experience (mostly depressive with bouts of hypomania). You never know – take your book a little bit at a time. No pressures.
    I’m so glad you said something about the Lamictal stupids.I thought I was losing IQ points for a while there. Very frustrating.
    Love you blog. Best wishes.

  3. Nah, mate, you can still write! OK, you’ve got several years of intense work coming up that may inhibit you – but it’ll be temporary. One of the big beauties of book- and freelance-writing is that, unless you’re already contracted, you can bang it all out at your own pace. I know you did have discussions about a book before but I’ve no doubt you could get them again, when you’re more ready. In fact, since you’re mostly recovered and about to become a mental health nurse, rather than patient, you could turn it all into a really positive success story.

    Anyway…GOOD LUCK! I’m sureyour first term may seem a little daunting, but you’ll be grand, I know it 🙂

    Take care

    Pan xxx

  4. Hello Seaneen, Great to see you back here , sorry to hear you think you have writers block but Iam sure your normal service of views that are mentally interesting will return.

    Kind regards,


  5. You feel like part of yourself is inaccessible…it’s a numbing frustrating feeling. I so get that.

  6. I sympathize with your misgivings about going back to school. But, it is just an adjustment to a different lifestyle, just like getting used to your brain being quiet after years of mental chaos. Just hang in and you’ll be fine.

  7. You’re only 26!! Be patient, kind and gentle with yourself- you’re going through bipolar- that is a bloody hard business. In my book you are a writer- more so because you even question it. Your brain obviously wants a rest! If it ‘aint flowing through your brain onto the paper it ‘aint the right time- now go and have a nice hot bath and let yourself rest xx

    • I think this is advice I need to take. I try to force it sometimes and it only frustrates me raises my anxiety level. Great advice!

  8. I know exactly where you are coming from! I’m on Lamictal stupids too. Sometimes I stop taking it on purpose so that I feel more inspired to compose music. When I’m hypomanic I can really go with the flow of things and ideas come easy and it gives me a sense of extreme pleasure. When I’m stable my head fills empty although I struggle through it enough to continue to create effectively but perhaps with less zeal and artistic flow. I agree that despite your own self doubt about your abilities when stable are over analyzed. You are a great writer. I found you on stumble and found you very interesting from the start! Keep doing what you love and feel passion for. Maybe you feel the same way I do? I Creative expression is like air. I cannot live without it.

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