Q: Handwriting Issues & BP Symptoms
In an article about Dark Therapy, you mentioned laboratory evidence (hormones
and handwriting) supporting a patient's experience of rapid cycling. What's the
handwriting evidence? I ask because I have noticed over the last few years (I'm
41), that I have developed a hesitant, haulting style of writing...not what I
say, but the mechanical act of transferring what's in my head or what I'm
hearing onto the paper. My job requires that I take notes quickly and I often
have trouble forming the words and putting the right letters down. Sometimes I
have to search for the right words, but mostly it's a frustrating experience of
not forming them properly. I don't seem to have the same issue when composing
on the computer.
I have been diagnosed with BP II by a couple of psychiatrists, and after
initially resisting their diagnoses have come to see how many of my complaints
and issues are covered by the BP umbrella. I've been on Lamictal for a few
months after years of stuff that did not help much. The writing issues preceded
the Lamictal. By the way, my thoughts tend to race a bit and to trip over
themselves, and the writing issue is almost like the physical equivalent of
that. Also, at times I have to really focus to read things carefully and
thoroughly instead of skimming them. All these things seen to be getting a
little worse over time.
Are these BP issues, or am I just overworked and need a vacation?!
Dear Wayne --
Surely you're overworked and need a vacation. Most people with jobs are, and
do! But is there something else as well? If you're clearly "cycling", seeing
these symptoms wax and wane, then most psychiatrists would agree the next step
is to get more mood stabilizer effects in there (including by using the
approach, which you already know about).
The handwriting thing I mentioned was just about that
particular patient, whose writing changed from manic to depressed days. In your
case it sounds like the issue is more "central", i.e. up in your head, and as
you explained, the handwriting is just one more way of seeing whatever's going
on in your head show up. In that case targeting the central issue, perhaps
through targeting cycling, sounds like the next step, except for the fact that
the problem doesn't seem to show up on the computer. That doesn't make sense and
might require a different explanation. Unfortunately I haven't got a good one.
Perhaps this, just raking over what you wrote: perhaps you notice the problem
when you're taking notes because that's trying to follow someone else's
thoughts, whereas when you're on the computer, you're composing your own
thoughts? It might give a clue were you to try to handwrite your composition, or
type your notes while listening. But you've probably already done that. Sorry
not to have something more useful there.
Published February, 2007