Writer's block

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mirage
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/26/2007 9:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Does anyone else have severe difficulties with writing when experiencing mixed emotional states?  I'm bipolar, and in grad school, and not only am I having problems concentrating on writing papers, I was just told by a professor, whom I have only emailed three times, that my emails are not concise enough.  Just felt like venting, and am very afraid of failing, because I used to be a very gifted writer as a child, then I feel I outgrew my "talent", and now whenever I try to write, I either can't concentrate or even think of the most mundane words, or everything comes out in a disorganized, overly verbose word vomit jumble.  This professor whom I mentioned is one that I have to write a grant proposal for.  We don't actually have to follow through with the proposal, it's just for practice, but she is expecting grandiose work, with little to no instruction.  I have always found large, complex writing tasks very, very daunting, and meeting with her is futile.  I almost blurted out that I was bipolar and about to be tested for narcolepsy.  Probably not the wisest when considering my potential grade, but I am at my wits end!  I wish I could've said I was having difficulties I felt I couldn't control and get some understanding instead of being told to conform to normalism.  It is particularly hard for me to admit to having a writing problem because it used to come so effortlessly to me, and I feel like I suddenly became braindead.  Does anyone else have this?  What can help me to get through the next month and finish writing my grant proposal without ending up with something that makes no sense and is SOOO not concise like many of my other writings?  I feel so trapped and frustrated!!!!  Hope you all are well, I never really got to know a lot of you well, but have posted here before and though not happy to have difficult times again, am happy to see you all again!
 
 

smiler
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 657
   Posted 3/27/2007 10:15 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi mirage :-)

Do you have counselling? I find it helps clear the clutter that is stopping me from concentrating.

Also maybe ask about relaxation techniques as anxiety will deffinitely impede on your concentration - if you worry that your going to do poorly you are more likely to fail , you need to get that confidence in yourself back.

Hope I've helped a little , take care.

Smiler tongue


Bipolar Moderator
 
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wmnak
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 3/29/2007 1:54 PM (GMT -7)   
mirage,
 
oh, would that i could go back to where you are now!!!  (of course, also having the benefit of the 40+ yrs in between). 
 
i have taught in the usa and in europe at the college and university levels.  (for those of you who have read other posts from me indicating another career path, i had multiple careers before doing so was in vogue).  believe me when i say that it is the rare exception for any prof to want to see a student fail.  most of us got off on "seeing the light bulb go off" in a student's head, showing that the student actually understood.  my dearest wish was for some of my students to finish off what i had started - to excell way beyond my limited grasp.  the vast majority of us felt that way and i imagine feel that way today.
 
while we did not take kindly to students making excuses (i failed one female student in an "indepemdenmt studies" class.  she had an excuse for everything but never did turn in any work).  this  is an exception and an extreem.  having said that, we were all anxious to help students in any way we could and , if apprised of a student's problem or handicap, we would move heaven and earth to help the student succeed.
 
i am not telling you to "spill your guts" to this prof.  you know her better than i do.  i am simply giving you some generalities based on how things were back in the 70s and 80s.
 
i would like to amplify what smiler said in her post.  like you, i find a larg undertaking daunting - almost impossible to begin and with little hope of final accomplishment.  what i've learned to do is to break the task down into manageable chunks.  i will finish one chunk, give myself a well deserved cigarette break (you don't have to have the cigarette), and then begin the next chunk.  each chunk is a self defined complete work unto itself.  i have found that this makes writing much easier.  if you try it, i hope it works for you as well as it has worked for me.
 
from your posts, you certainly sound capable.  i trust that you will fulfill that capability.
 
warren
That light at the end of he tunnel?  It's an on-coming train.
 
 


shine_on_u_crazy_dimond
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 3/29/2007 8:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes i deffinetly relate to what your saying. My writers block is almost a disorder in itself, a lack of control over your mood causes a lack of control of your thoughts and they just stop dead and you get agitated until the right words come back to you. The thing is,once i get over writers block i get this obsession with how to perfect the sentence, like it needs to be arranged differently to look better even when it's perfectly valid as it was. Does that make sense? :s

mirage
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/31/2007 11:42 AM (GMT -7)   

Thank you ALL for much needed encouragement!  I am finally taking large chunks out of the literature for my topic and outlining important points in a way that I can best sift through and decipher the information.  The aims and background and significance for our proposals are the only things due this Monday, but I feel I procrastinated for so long, partially out of intimidation and frustration, and partially b/c of medical concerns with having to do a sleep study and see several different drs.  I might have to pull an all nighter, but I will get this done.  My biggest problem now is not lack of concentration, but developing perfectionistic lists for myself of how many articles I feel I MUST read before going ahead and writing.  Thank you wmnak, for making me feel better!  It was nice to hear your perspective.  My professor is nice, but my major is nutrition, and the professors are so focused on making clinical dietitians out of us, that I feel some of them (not all), feel it is unacceptable for us to have mental problems when we will be out there treating patients.  Perhaps this an unfounded assumption on my part, and maybe I am not giving her enough credit, I am just especially afraid of talking to her about it as she was going over the Dietitian Code of Ethics the other day which includes a section discouraging mental problems.  I decided that was ludicrous, as there are definitely doctors even, with mental health problems out there, many of whom are very compassionate.  This professor just happens to be really focused on research and seems sort of detached from the reality of the profession, and even told me that my proposal would do better to focus solely on clinical nutrition (I'm doing something on eating disorders), and not dip into the behavioral realm, which apparantly she thinks is not within the spectrum of a dietitian's expertise.  I feel that eating is ENTIRELY behavioral, and was surprised by her point of view, but overall, I do not think she wants me to fail, I just felt discouraged by her comments, combined with lack of sleep and mental confusion.  Knock on wood, the writer's block is a little better.  Thanks everyone for your comments, they helped ground me a little, and now I feel I can get through this!

Best wishes,

Mirage


wmnak
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 4/1/2007 6:20 AM (GMT -7)   
mirage,

the osteopath who operated on my back twice is bp. he is one of the most fun-loving and compassionae drs i have ever met. he says that, like me, he spends most of his life in a depressive state. drs are not immune to teh same ailments that the rest of us get.

hunger is a universal. how we take care of that universal is cultural. the specifics of how we deal with it determines our overall physical and mental health.

when britania ruled the waves, scurvy was rampant on the high seas. then they discovered the link between scurvy and vitamin c - well citrus fruits anyway. one of the symptoms of vitasmin c deficiency is paranoia. did you know there were many mutinies and attempted mutinies during this era? may be a link?

best of luck on you apaer. i know you will do we;;.

warren
That light at the end of he tunnel?  It's an on-coming train.
 
 

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