Monday, 1 October 2012

Cyclothymia and Creativity

I'm a little cyclothymic. If you stretch a line between placid-easygoing normal and nutty-as-a-fruitcake bipolar, I'm slightly up towards the fruitcake end. I'm not alone - cyclothymia has been linked to creativity e.g. here. In fact, both creativity and bipolar/cyclothymia seem common both in my family and the writing community. Unlike flat out bipolar, the hypomanic phases aren't so extreme that they are disabling, but when I'm on a roll, I'm really on one. When I'm stuck in a depressive phase, it's hard. Everything seems uphill, everything slows down. I'm falling into a trough because this hanging about business (still no word) is stressful. A lot of people have warned that publishing is a 'them and us' industry, with them being in a  buyers' market. There are just so many of us. I wouldn't not be cyclothymic most of the time, you should see me witha  deadline! But I am ill equipped to wait.

I've just got to find a way to stress less about the whole process. I'm looking at ways to separate the 'real' stress, like deadlines, from what I perceive as stress, like uncertainty and waiting. I'm in a really good position, according to my agent, I have a publisher putting an offer together. Instead of doubting/worrying I should just be much more zen about the whole thing. Waiting could be savouring the moment, for example. I've had sixteen weeks to get my head round being published one day, and to read books like Alison Baverstock's Marketing Your Book and Carole Blake's From Pitch to Publication.

And I'm being ridiculously ungrateful. Happiness, in part, comes from knowing what you have already, rather than whingeing about what you haven't got. How much would I have enjoyed being in this position last year, or ten years ago?

Cyclothymia can be a serious business and I've been ignoring it. I'm taking a few days off writing/stressing and hopefully the deal will come in its own time. What I need is to eat and drink at regular times, cut down the caffeine, improve my sleep patterns (which are all over the place) and remember I have been blessed with creativity.


  1. Yes, do look after yourself, Reb. Sounds like you know what you need to do.

    It doesn't matter what anyone else (me, you a year ago, you 10 years ago) thinks about the position you're in at the moment, we are complicated creatures and it's not easy to just say 'Oh yes I have what I wanted therefore I feel happy'. So don't give yourself a hard time on that front.

    Wishing you rest and peace.

    1. Thank you Teresa. It's weird being driven all over the shop by feelings, but it's such a big deal to us writers! It's the difference between having a job in the book business, which we love - or not. I'm chilling out with chocolate and a warm cat. x

  2. Poor you!

    It's worth remembering that there really is no such thing as 'bad news' in this industry, not at the stage you're at, at least. There is only good news, or better news, and the longer it takes the better the news is likely to be . As a 'nutty-as-a-fruitcake-bi-polar-type' myself you might not want to take my word for it, of course, but, hand on heart, I wouldn't have it any other way, either!

    Thinking of you!


    1. Thank you! I'm flying slightly better today on seven hours sleep! I'm going to just get on and work. Fellow creative fruitcake over and out.