The Adventures Of Medication And The Little Mermaid

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 ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “The Adventures Of Medication And The Little Mermaid

  1. Oye. I struggled with the “ungodly” question with meds for a while too. I came to realize that God made us and He made our minds and gave us the tools and the brilliance to develop these medications along with synthetic insulin, antibiotics, etc and I’ve met many Christian pdocs and therapists so it’s hard for me to imagine that He would put all of that out there and then not want me to get the help I need. I don’t question taking life-saving antibiotics. I just take them. I don’t question if a doctor tells me I need to have some kind of emergency surgery. I just do it. For some reason, because it has to do with mental health, I think that I should “tough it out” or that I should “only put my faith in God.”

    What if God had a hand in creating those medications and taking them IS part of trusting God? What if that is part of the deal? That’s where I got myself too and my medication compliance is much better.

    This is clearly my journey with this. Maybe you will find some comfort, maybe you won’t. I hope it helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grandfather suffered mania after grandmother passed and his own post surgery meds unbalanced his system. This was a serious condition, and my father traveled home from abroad to hospitalize him until they could balance him out. It took rather strong doses of Lithium to return him to us more sane than he’s been in years. He was also able to reduce his Lithium and stop altogether, but additional post surgery meds in treatment of prostate cancer, with his type II diabetes, further compromised his system (in my estimation) and prompted a stroke (which apparently is quite frequent with such meds), and he lasted about 6 months before passing away in the care of my uncle.

    Twenty years prior, with my stepfather, I witnessed the slow change in one suffering from latent onset Schizophrenia, without meds, and the struggle he went through when there were fewer options and less understanding of the condition, resulting in his voluntary hospitalization at a research institute that helped find a temporary balance until he joined the Medical Corps (US) and left the family. The episodes he spoke of, irrational behavior and emotionally straught feelings left an impression, and was something comparable as an observer to what I noticed in my grandfather later. And while I was the only one to visit grandfather while he was in hospital for mania, and he and my stepfather were not blood related, there clearly were conditions where their systems were compromised, and left partially functional in ways that most would not consider socially adept, at the very minimum. Fears, visions, voices, past tendencies, even childhood tendencies and reversions, combined for very alarming behavior and language from both that most could not handle, to observe or interact with. Meds, in their case, became a powerful answer to returning them to normal activities with other people.

    That said, the consideration for meds today remains in my opinion however, clearly a risk that many become addictive, and with some unsavory side effects, with an additional back-end effect when getting off them that makes adjustments in each individual quite like walking on eggshells.

    If anyone has ever noticed, caffeine also has these effects. And like a canary, I consider the balance I enjoy in life without drinking coffee every day, a science-metaphor for what dealing with meds is likely to be for people who need them and need to adjust. And while only having experienced a few instances where anesthesia was necessary, I liken the feelings of coming out of the fog, as well as coming down off of a caffeine induced insomnia (complete with crippling nausea and migraine attacks) to be just a sampling of what other likely must face when accepting the journey-quest of modern meds. In my opinion, where many answers might be exciting to guess on, we are at best, still playing with our systems and chemicals to try to find real answers, and the extremes, both highs and lows, are not eliminated in this journey in a one-sided experience.

    And then there are physical considerations and experiences: After playing soccer, I often recall a friend saying that “calmer heads prevail.” It has also often occurred to me while in the heat of battle, that I did not hear his voice, but did just that instinctively – remained calm – while doing the seemingly impossible (or failing), and only after the match would words be entertained. Meaning activities like soccer induced for me a mental state of meditation that needed no verbal promptings, a state that the musings afterwards still correlated with. Playing literally for decades, I now have a quick flashpoint for action (perhaps instigated by a few head injuries sustained) but also a quick entering of that meditative state in action, and thankfully the two have seemed to get me out of bed each day when not physically sick, and enacting plans on dreams that perhaps may never have been approached had these tendencies been any less. And I’m just a dude who writes what he likes, works at being an artist, tries his hand at his own renovations, maintenance and repair of vehicles, and problem solving around the house with a short budget. All tasks rightfully keeping me preoccupied and me out of harm’s way; for the most part, out of trouble I might otherwise be entertained to bring upon myself in leading a life less examined. And in that respect, everything is relative. Guidance found on the road, whether it be from experience, Gurus, doctors and meds, or an educated guess at life, seems so far to be what has brought me to this point. I keep goals on lists, re-evaluate them periodically, try to consider what habits are worth more than others, and stay on a narrow path. Now past my prime for the pitch, I can only fantasize about glory in soccer, and teach what i’ve learned through coaching. I wish I had spent more time composing music in the past ten years, and maybe I can address that in the next? Those are the questions I ask myself: If you had it to do over, what would you do, and if you could still attempt them, why not? These, together with a love of summer and cold moonlit nights in February keep me dancing around this plot to see what more there is to be seen, and leave what might be most helpful to others. I still have too much stuff on my lists to finish, and too much stuff collecting dust to make it happen, so, there’s always room for improvement. A lame explanation, I know, but that’s all I got today, as it rains on a roof I repaired two days ago, and I wait to see if I got all the spots that leak.

    Like

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