Appropriately enough, something that I forgot in the last post is that I seem to be having some cognition problems since I started the lithium. Even after the fuzziness faded, for the most part, once I got used to the meds, I still had memory problems. They weren't as bad as when I was on the effexor, but they are still there. I really can't remember names at all. I blank on movie titles and the names of actors. I'll have a word on the tip of my tongue, I can even see the object or person in my head, but I can't remember the name of it. It took me two weeks of mulling it over in the back of my mind to remember that it's the lead singer of OH FUCK I can't remember it now. So yeah, it sucks. And if I had to do this while taking a class with a good deal of memorization, like either of my art history courses, I'd be completely screwed. Guess taking any foreign language classes are out now.
But what is probably even more troubling to me is that I seem to have lost some of my ability to make connections between ideas. I keep telling people that this medicine made my IQ drop 20 points. Everyone seems to kinda laugh this off, but it is genuinely how I feel. I have a difficult time making the connections needed to understand some Newsweek articles. I keep thinking of my Rhetoric class, reading Foucault and having that light bulb moment. There's no way I could even understand Foucault now. I couldn't even read the text, much less make the needed connections. And I can't seem to get any fiction writing started. Even when I think I have an idea to start with, I can't come up with what follows. It sucks.
I once saw an interview with the author of a (non-fiction) book about the connections between bipolar disorder and genuis in creative/artistic pursuits. In laying out her case in the book, she brought up several great artists who, though undiagnosed in thier lifetimes, usually because there was no such thing as a bipolar disorder diagnosis, have reportedly displayed symptoms common to bipolar disease. She also studied several living artists with a documented history of bipolar disorder. It's interesting to wonder if what helps make one an artistic genius, or even just creative, also makes one bipolar.
Now, I'm not disgnosed as bipolar, but I am on a combination of drugs typically prescribed to bipolar people. I also don't think I'm going to create some great masterpiece. But I still wonder about the "is it worth it" question. If we had these drugs then, do you think it would have been better for Van Gogh to have his mental illness under control if it meant he never produced Starry Night or any of his other masterpieces? Do you think he'd have taken the medication if it meant he wouldn't paint? The same question could be asked about so many people now famous for their artistic endeavors. Hell, even about non-artists. Someone, maybe even the author I wrote about above, said that Winston Churchill was probably bipolar. Can you imagine how different history might have been if Churchill was on lithium, instead of just self-medicating with alcohol?
I'm not really looking for any concrete answers. I'm not going to run off to my doctor to ask for a med change. And I'm certainly not going to just stop any medication. All that said, I still would love your thoughts and opinions.