Just a couple weeks ago I talked about the economy of motion and how nice it would be to move as consistently as a pendulum.  Universe, this is to tell you that that was NOT a freaking open invitation to start messing with my mood.

By now it should be no surprise to anyone who a) reads this blog (unless you’re new, then you’re forgiven) or b) knows me that I am Bi-Polar.  I was diagnosed at, no lie, thirteen.  For those of you only familiar with Bi-Polar through the staggering amounts of diagnoses in the Hollywood and pop culture arenas, this is rare.  In all my years since, I have heard of less than a handful of other people diagnosed pre-/during puberty, and only a couple more diagnosed before what I would consider true “adulthood,” early twenties.  The diagnosis came on the heels of three of the most difficult years of my life trying to figure out why in the world my own life seemed out of control and spiraled even more viciously when I had rare “lucid” (read as: manic) moments.

Then, I was diagnosed properly.  Hallelujah!  I think I cried half out of anger (even then, when I knew so very little about my disease, I knew it was a life sentence–there was no hope of the as-if-it-had-never-happened recovery I had wished for) and half out of relief (we finally knew what was wrong with me).  At least I would never be so unsure of my future again.

Hah.

Once the diagnosis was here, then came the parade of medications.  For the next nine plus years I was either drugged out of my mind (literally, there were some reactions or lack thereof that NEVER would have happened had I not been on medication) or drugged just enough to seem “normal.”*  Eight and a half years into that process, I talked to my doctor.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: “I want to reduce my medications.  I’ve come to the point where I feel drugged and I hate my life because I never experience it.  Not actively.  I experience life from the other side of a screen door–I can hear and see and smell everything, even respond to it, but I can’t actually participate in it.”

Doc: “Well, then, we need to fix that.  Being too drugged can be as damaging as being not drugged enough.”

WELL DUH!!!!  Disclaimer: I LOVE my doctor.  He is the best thing that happened to my treatment.  After nine years of being shunted from doctor to doctor to therapist to therapist, I finally had a doctor who trained in medicine and therapy and who directly communicated with my therapist, who had trained a little in medicine.  Though my therapist couldn’t prescribe anything, he knew when something was off with my meds.  Though my doc wasn’t qualified to do any more than basic thought exercises, he knew when I needed to have a more aggressive therapy schedule.  This is the ONE time I can remember feeling like he was treating me like a patient rather than a person. Disclaimer done.

Unfortunately, it took a full year before I was cleared to reduce my meds.  In the year since then, we have been able to reduce my meds once again.  In ten months time, I was able to fully halve my medicine.

Please don’t take this as a cry for pity (PLEASE–pity is not what I want or need), nor as a chance to brag about how far I’ve come (I know I’m beyond lucky).  This explanation was context for Why Today Sucked: the most amazing day I’ve had in who knows how long (in essay form) (. . . not really).

Since being on this medication (which I shall call T), I have not been at 400mg since I was (thinking, thinking, smoke emerging from ears, thinking)  15 or 16.  The meds become a blur, but I’m dang sure that I started T when I was 14 at 400mg and think that within a year was already up to 600mg.  It may have been two.  I know, I know, why am I complaining?  Do I how lucky am I that I’ve been on the same med for nine years without needing a total re-vamp?  Insanely, given, but still!  Even the right med can come in too-large amounts.  As I remember it, when I first went on T, I was on a mood stabilizer that we were phasing me off of and then when I went fully off the mood stabilizer, we upped my dosage of T.

Here began the drugged feelings.  The unfortunate truth of dealing with some mental health patients is that you have to drug them to level 0–no reactions, no nothing.  They’re such a danger to themselves and others that they have to be brought under “control” before they can work up to health.  I was one such patient.  Frankly, I was still a danger to myself when bombed out of my mind with 800mg of T, a different (more effective) mood stabilizer, and a sleeping medication.  Yeah, I was still cutting when I was that medicated.  This is exactly what the doc was referring to when he spoke of being too drugged being a problem: sometimes I would cut to forget, sometimes I would cut to feel.

So, back to current day.  I am now back on the 400mg of T and a second med (D) that serves as a mild sedative/mood stabilizer.  D is effective, but no where near the strength of what I have been on previously.  It’s been an interesting (near) two months on just these bare doses of T & D.  I’ve had more meh days than I can ever remember having.  I’ve just felt that low-key blah once in a while.  It’s been fantastic!  I’m beginning to feel again.  When drugged, I didn’t have medium days.  I had good days or bad days (unless I went off my meds–then I’d get this medium blah).  Even so, the fullness of that good or bad, never quite reached me.

Then today, I had a bad day.  Not in the sense that I flew off the handle, but in the sense that I had mood swings all over.  I know it’s not unhealthy mood swinging, because I didn’t fly off the handle.  It was the just the normal, Bi-Polar day that I’ve been denied since I was thirteen.  Yeah, sure, it sucked.  I was petulant and annoyed with myself.  It took serious energy to motivate myself to do my work, to move!  I was wishy-washy at times, slap-happy at others, and distinctly anti-social at some points.  I got in the car after work and cried.  Then, I went out and had a perfectly good dinner.  There was no good reason for any of these shenanigans except that I’m Bi-Polar and my medicines are finally at the fine balance where I am prevented from the dangerous impulses and reactions, but allowed to feel the full range of my amplified emotions.

Yeah, I hate days like today.  But, in many ways, my tears are again half of anger and half of relief.  I’m me again.

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*I apologize to all who met and got to know me during those years (from 13.5-22.75).  I know I was inconsistent and I hope that the person I’ve been for the last year has given you a glimpse of who I actually am.

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