A while back, I wrote a post about how I was admitting defeat. After years of working hard to manage my bipolar disorder without medication, I decided it was time to take some of that burden off my shoulders. I got a referral from my counselor, for a psychiatrist with distinct experience with women who have bipoldar disorder. I started on meds. It’s been about three weeks now.
Let me tell you, guys.
It’s been wonderful.
You see, the reason I went off medication years ago was because…well, being medicated had gone badly for me. I got addicted to a fast-acting anti-anxiety medicine. The cocktail of drugs I was put on by a doctor who didn’t seem all that invest in my well-being left me feeling foggy, distant, and disconnected. I lost pretty much all emotion. I lost what it felt like to be myself.
I told my doctors back then that I was done, that I’d handle it from here. Therapy, diet, exercise, and self-care were my tools of the trade. It worked, for a while. Some of the best years of my life fell in that window of “after medication” and “before medication.” But routine changes are hard, feeling out-of-control is difficult, and after being laid off I couldn’t climb back up the slippery slope alone. I was willing to try it, but terrified; I never wanted to lose myself again, the way I had during those months of heavily-medicated stupor.
I’m grateful I found a doctor who understands me, and for the journey that’s brought me to where I am.
Was I wrong to live life unmedicated? No. It was hard. It took more self-discipline than I ever thought I could muster. At that time in my life, it was a great path for me. I spent so much time and energy maintaining a barely-balanced sense of sanity that I often let other vices run away with me. It took losing my job to admit that I can’t be everything.
I don’t advocate that for everyone, though. I needed that — I needed to find my resolve and climb that mountain and prove I could. That’s an incredibly difficult path to follow, though. It isn’t for everyone. Heck, it isn’t even for me anymore.
I guess the moral of the story in all of this, though, is that sometimes the path bends. Heck, my life story is full of so many hair-pin turns that I’ve doubled-back and zigzagged all over the dang place. A year ago, if you had ask me if I’d ever medicate for my bipolar disorder again, I probably would have given you a very resounding, “No. Never.” But, we can never really fully understand a situation until we’ve been there.
This isn’t medical or psychiatric advice. (Don’t ever confuse my telling of my personal experiences as such.) Rather, it’s a dose of perspective. It’s a reminder that life takes us in unexpected directions. I never would have thought that I could feel this amazing, this stable, during the “adjustment period” that is typically the worst part of getting onto medications. I figured I’d be a mess until mid-March. I warned Nightwolf about how messy things could get.
It was the right choice. And I reckon I’m proud of myself for making it. I haven’t felt anxiety-induced chest pain in weeks. I haven’t had any major fluctuations in mood or cycle in a while either. Even with work being crazy-stressful, I feel…at peace. In control. And I feel able to deal with the feelings I’m actually feeling, instead of trying to sort through which feelings are real and which are a product of atypical brain chemicals.
So, if you’re on the cusp of something scary, something you said you’d never do, something that could vastly improve your life apart from the fear it causes, here’s my advice: take the leap of faith. You never know what fortune — or stability — you’ll find on the other side of that fear.