Hey Guys 🙂
Today I am going to share the tug of war I have sometimes with taking medication for bipolar disorder.
For the purpose of this post and basically all of my posts past and future, I say bipolar disorder because honestly, it’s easier to say that than give you my official diagnoses which happens to be…
Bipolar 2 Disorder with Rapid Cycling, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and “Borderline Tendencies”…
Tell me if that mouthful makes for good small talk haha…
I haven’t been receiving medical treatment all that long but in the close to 4 years that I have been receiving medical treatment, I have been on 6 different medications (a fraction compared to some) in an attempt to find the right combination/dose.
There is a lot of trial and error in trying to find the balance and I am not going to candy coat it…it’s not a fun process…at all… to the point you start to regret your diagnoses even though there is a sense of relief that you finally know what’s going on with you.
Once you find the right medication and dose however, life starts to get easier and you are more eager to commit to the routine.
It has only been in the last year that I have truly started living my life in a healthy, predictable way and part of that is because of the right medication…right so far anyway.
At the time, accepting the fact I would have to go on medication for the rest of my life was like admitting huge defeat.
I was that person who barely touched an Advil unless I was having a massive headache. I have never liked taking medications of any kind for as long as I can remember.
Now I basically have no choice…well technically I do, but remember the official diagnoses back there? Tell me if you want that version of me walking around with no medication…
Didn’t think so.
I do my best to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing because honestly, I don’t want people to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me and I for one don’t want to feel like I have to hide my mental illness like some big ugly secret all the time.
Having a sense of humor in this regard is not to downplay mental illness but it certainly helps me to cope with it…medication in this case is not a cure all .
For example, medication can’t fix the times when I start to convince myself that I don’t need to take medication anymore.
This phenomenon seems to occur during times when I feel stable. This is when things have the potential to get dangerous believe it or not because when you feel stable for a long enough period of time, you simply feel “normal” and you start to believe that perhaps you are past all that bipolar/medication crap…you’re not…so not… but the mind is indeed a powerful thing and in some cases people make the mistake of foregoing their medication altogether which opens up a whole other can of ugly worms that trust me when I say…you don’t want to deal with.
Thankfully, at this point I know better but the urge is still there sometimes. It’s not always easy to come to terms with the fact that I have to take medication basically for the rest of my life in order to function properly…like everyone else.
It’s interesting because I feel like if I was taking medication for heart disease, diabetes etc, I would not feel any shame in that or even question it but when the illness is in your brain…well…your identity is wrapped up in that so it’s not like oh there is something wrong with my heart or my pancreas…no…there is something wrong with my brain…aka me.
For 30 years, I thought the life I was living was “normal”. I knew in my gut things were messed up but regardless I built my identity around what now feels like one big giant lie.
Who was that person? Who am I now? I’m 33 and just starting to find out what life is like when it’s relatively stable.
Believe it or not, having stability in my life has been the most difficult of all to accept. All I have known is a life that consists mainly of words like chaos, abuse, survival, depression, anger, drama… the list could go on but I think you get the idea.
When you live a life with an untreated mental illness, chaos is all you know and then suddenly with the help of medication…
The noise stops…
That is “expletive” scary.
If I could make a comparison, it’s like when Ariel goes from having a mermaid tail to having legs.
From having a beautiful voice to having none at all.
That’s where I am on this journey right now.
Medication has given me the chance to see what life is like on land but I have these new legs and barely know how to use them…I still think a fork is a comb and now I am being told it’s an eating utensil!?…you don’t just simply accept that when all you have known is otherwise. I can safely say without the help of medication, I would not even have the remote chance of knowing a better life for myself.
I know there are some who slam medications like the ones I take. That “Big Pharma” is just trying to numb the world and eat your paycheck in the process.
I will admit, to a certain extent I agree and before my diagnoses I would have been at a protest rally for that belief but when I look back, my life before medication was a giant mess…when you don’t want to live anymore…I don’t know…medication doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
Suicide from my personal experience is not about wanting to literally die. You just don’t want to live the way you are anymore. You’re exhausted and feel like you have no options left. You just want someone or something to make it all go away.
So yeah, the day I went to my doctor and told them about my obsession with suicide they prescribed me an anti anxiety medication and I took it no questions asked. From there I finally started seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed me first and then ultimately a second one who concurred.
From there, Google became my best friend while navigating the medication highway.
We joke about the laundry list of side effects that scroll through the entire commercial of some lady riding a bike while smiling on a sunny day and we wonder why on earth would anyone take such a thing when the side effects seem worse than the condition itself?
I could never figure that out either.
But now I think I get it.
When I read about the side effects both short and long term regarding the medications I take, I have come to realize that statistically, I am more at risk by not taking these risky medications than I am for taking them.
Statistically speaking, I am more likely to die by my own hands sans medication.
Morbid but true.
So yeah, I have more or less accepted medication as a necessary evil in my life because I would like to experience my life with a little bit of peace for a change and like every good thing that comes our way in life…it comes with a price.
Medication will not fix everything but it’s instrumental in making sure I stay on the straight and narrow.
God of course plays a huge role in all of this and sometimes I wonder if taking medication for something like this is “ungodly” in some way but I like to think that God works through all of us including the people who created the medication that keeps me sane. Some may disagree but personally, I thank God I have medication in my life.
In closing, I do my best to take things day by day. With each day that passes I learn something new and I grow. It’s new and exciting but also unfamiliar and scary. I will stumble and fall in the process but just like Ariel, I will eventually learn to walk, use a fork properly and in the end, get my voice back. ❤
Take Care & God Bless ❤