Dealing with the need to take psych meds is like trying to walk a tightrope while juggling plates and playing an accordion. I hate having bipolar disorder, I really do. Yes, I know things could much worse, and I should be grateful. I could have some debilitating disease that had me bed ridden, in constant pain. But I don’t, I have what I have and I have to deal with it. I don’t always deal with it gracefully by a long shot.
All my evil little pill bottles have a warning on them “if you have forgotten to take your pill at a certain time, wait until it’s time to take the next dose, don’t take it now. OOOkkkKKK??!! #&^%(*@ But what do you do when you are freaking out NOW? I say “screw it!” and take them now. I’d rather get too sleepy and have to take a nap than go on a magic carpet ride of rage, depression, anxiety attacks, near catatonia and whatever the bipolar Bag 0’ Tricks has in store for me on any given day. I might be able to get away with riding it out if I had a storm bunker to lock myself in and hang a sign on the door saying “Warning! Bipolar cyclone raging within, enter at your own risk.” But I don’t and I don’t live alone and I have to leave the house occasionally. Being a hermit just depresses me more.
People who are not dealing with mood spectrum disorders tend to think “well hey, just take your meds and everything will be OK. What the hell is wrong with you anyway?” What is wrong with me??? Excuse me, but it doesn’t work that way. Taking meds “manages” a disorder; it is not a guarantee that you will never have a mood storm. It gives you a tool to fight with it. But meds can be a blunt instrument and it is extremely tricky finding a balance. Furthermore, just when you think you’ve found a balance your body decides to react differently to your meds, or worse, not respond to them at all. The balance is a moving target.
Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland trying to figure out which side of the mushroom to nibble on. Too much and I blunder around in a stupor and do nothing but stare at the TV, unaware of what I’m even looking at. Not enough – I turn into a motor mouth and talk the ear off of anyone I can pin down, blissfully unaware that they are scrambling to get away from me. I also start eleventy seven projects at once and when I come to my senses I can’t figure out how to pick up where I left off.
I have those little days of the week pill cases that I fill up at the beginning of the week. They help, but sometimes it too much to face looking at an entire week’s worth of meds right under my nose. That’s when the thought creeps in “do I really need to be taking all this crap? Am I a drugged slave to big Pharma?” I have to be careful when asking these questions, because there is a never ending supply of people who are all too happy to inform me that I shouldn’t be taking meds at all, that I’m just weak or a dupe. I just need to meditate, do yoga, cut dairy out of my diet, dance naked under the full moon, etc.
That’s when I have to dig down deep and remember what it felt like when I was not taking meds. Oh sure I was “managing” it. Hanging on by my fingernails every day trying not to fall or jump into the abyss. I don’t want to live like that again. I guess it’s time to take my meds.
If you have a troubled child my heart goes out to you. I slap you a big ole high five for any day that you make it through without ripping out all your hair and making it into a noose to hang yourself with.
My daughter (40 years old) has lost her freaking mind….again. Supposedly, her neighbor across the street conspired to have her thrown in jail because he wanted her apartment. Now the FBI or some other agency is tapping her phone. She knows this because she hears coughing and laughing when she is on the phone. Logically the sounds are probably coming from the person who is being subjected to her latest bizarre tale of woe.
Next on the list is that she was supposedly pregnant and in jail they abused her so much that the baby left her womb and took up residence in one of her tubes. Uh yea, like that really happens, oookkk??? The fetus may get stuck in a Fallopian tube and not make it to the womb, and that is a life threatening situation, but they don’t turn around and go back up the tube just because you’re having a bad day.
Continuing on with the insanity, she calls me when I’m on my way home from Seattle while I’m in the line to go through the security check and informs me that she is having a miscarriage and therefore I have to buy her a new phone…not just any old phone, but an untraceable phone. Say what?? I told her I couldn’t really talk at the moment because I was in the middle of taking my shoes off, etc. So instead she hangs up and sends me 15 text messages in the space of 5 minutes. What the hell does having a new phone have to do with having a miscarriage, assuming that was what was actually happening? I swear to God that I’m not making this shit up.
It occurred to me as I was driving home from an errand today that it has literally been decades since I have believed ANYTHING she tells me. If she said the sky was blue I would walk to the window and look outside to verify that the sky was actually blue.
I know she is scared and obviously suffering, but whatever mess she is actually in, I know she brought it down on her own head. She seems determined to screw herself over in every way humanly possible. Because she is highly intelligent she finds really creative ways to do herself in on a regular basis. I don’t know what to do, so instead I just try to cram it away in a corner of my brain somewhere and not think about it.
But that doesn’t work. This morning I was drinking coffee and suddenly realized that I was grinding my teeth and was having trouble breathing. I was in the middle of a major panic attack. I had to take a magic happy calming pill that my psych doc gives me for emergencies. I’m only supposed to take them every once in a while, but when my daughter is yanking my chain I start popping them like tic tacs. I talked to my shrink about this and she said that it’s ok as long as I don’t start doing that all the time. And I don’t. Left to my own devices I don’t need them and don’t even think about them.
Another one of her favorite stunts is to call me up and tell me this long involved tale of madness and intrigue and then call another family member and tell them a completely different story. If I’ve called them before she gets to them they bust her on it. So now she gets to be mad at me for “outing” her and violating her privacy. I finally told her that I’m not going to keep secrets within the family because secrets make families sick. If she doesn’t want anyone to know then don’t tell me in the first place. I’m not going to cover for her anymore.
Ah, another day in my own personal funny farm. Her “bugged” phone supposedly ran out at midnight two days ago. I assume she is going to punish me for not buying her a phone by not telling me what her new number is. If I’m lucky I may hear from her in a month or two. If I’m really, really lucky I may not hear from her for six months or even a year. An uneasy reprieve, such is life.