Prednisone and Creativity ImageThe past two months have been a joyful blur of creative energy.

I love when these moods hit. The studibecomes a beehive of activity, and painting and prepping stations crop up all over the studio even spilling out into the aisle.

To say it is something of a mess would be an understatement. But it is chaos contained and creation wonderfully run rampant.

I have a difficult time dragging myself away from the studio at these times. I am totally in the zone, aware of nothing but the art. I move from one painting to the next, putting a dab of color here, removing some there, all the time very alert to what I am doing to each painting, and what the next step will be. Gladly I welcome the creative muses to the dance. The right side of my brain indulges an artistic frenzy as the inspiration builds.

And suddenly it all comes to a crashing halt!

I wake up ready to go to the studio and can’t move. I am hurting everywhere. My left foot won’t allow any weight on it. My right wrist is screaming in pain. All the muscles and joints in my body are hurting. I have a feeling of malaise wash over me, and I know, beyond a doubt, I have just gone into a Lupus flare.

It happens that quickly. And in over 20 years of having the disease, I have never been able to stop it completely. I knew my stress levels were getting high.  I was trying to get a lot of new work finished, and had an ad coming out that I wanted to use as a showcase for those pieces. But Lupus has a way of always surprising me, and often arrives in a different fashion then the time before. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t recognize the signs. And I definitely didn’t have the time.

With a Lupus flare, the only thing that really helps me get back to normal is Prednisone. My normal dose is usually tripled, and then slowly tapered down. It works. It has for over 20 years. As the Prednisone lowers, so normally do the Lupus symptoms.

But with the Prednisone comes one odd side effect. The higher doses of Prednisone block my creative processes. They literally shut down!

I learned a long time ago, when the doses go up, get out of the studio. Anything I might dare to work on will probably be destroyed. I have all those paintings out there, ready to be finished, or signed and varnished. And I know, until this abates, not to touch a single one. Which is why there is not a new painting to show you for this week. I didn’t dare risk trying to finish one.

The flip side of this conundrum is that while the creative right side of my brain is shutting down, the left side kicks in. All of the analytical processes go into high gear. It is like clockwork.

Over the years I have learned to take advantage of the situation. I keep a list of tasks to perform. This time it included finishing the taxes, working on the website, preparing a few blog posts, etc. I got everything on my list done this go round. I am actually proud of that. I didn’t want to stop painting, but I utilized the left brain dominance effectively.

The Prednisone is now down to normal. I am starting to feel the creative urge kicking back in, so my brain functions must be balancing.  I will probably wait a day or two to actually work on a piece until I have swayed back into creative mode which is my norm.  But at least now I can get back into the studio and start doing some of the lighter tasks like prepping canvases.

Lupus forces adaptation. It is not an easy disease to live with. But once a person understands more about how the disease, and how Prednisone affects them personally, it is possible to live a fairly normal…if not interesting life. I no longer consider it so much of a roller coaster ride, since I have learned to be prepared for both the right brain and left brain surges.


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