I call this post “Touched by Fire”, and I really don’t have an idea why, except I was thinking about the book, Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison, a world-renowned psychologist and writer known for her work in bipolar disorder research, as well as a bipolar sufferer. I guess once I finish writing and proofreading this post, I’ll figure out why I chose it. I hope it makes sense, because I’m not changing it. I’m about to talk about something that is very personal to me, and I’m building my platform around.
Once a month, sometimes every six weeks, I see my psychiatrist at the VA clinic. He is a great doctor, and I don’t think I could find a doctor quite like this one. We sit in his office and talk about what bullshit I’ve done since the last visit, how did I feel, and was I taking my meds. Of course, I’m very truthful with my responses; after all, in order to have a successful treatment plan, you need to be as honest with your doctor as possible.
When it comes to the question about my meds…well, I’m definitely honest. I take them 90 percent of the time…sometimes. I don’t take them when I know I’m going to drink. Yes, most of the time I have to plan out when I’m going to drink and how much, because I can’t overindulged (at least not supposed to) and I can’t just drink whenever I feel like it (at least not supposed to). Based off of what I tell him, he either tweaks my dosage of the four different drugs that I take, or tells me to try to be more consistent with my meds and he’s not going to make any changes.
I’m talking about this for a reason. For one, I’m trying to live in my truth as far as this battle with bipolar disorder is concerned, after years of mostly keeping it to myself; with the exception of a few choice people. Two, I’m trying to address something without scaring the shit out of anyone who taking medication for anything.
I HATE TAKING MY MEDS!!!
Well, no shit! Who likes taking medicine? I’m pretty sure you’re not going to run into Joe Blow up the block who just love the shit out of taking medicine, unless he’s some kind of an addict; if he is, then that’s a whole different issue that needs to be taken care of by professionals. But I really hate taking my meds…with a fucking passion. They are bitter. One of them is huge, and I have to take two of them (I call them my horse pills). They eventually knock me the fuck out, and if I’m not careful I might not wake up till 3 in the afternoon. Not necessarily a bad thing, because I’m usually so sleep deprived, it’s not even funny. But I do sometimes miss a day. Sunday was a great example of this.
My biggest fear with taking psychiatric medication isn’t even the fact that most people who don’t understand would think they are crazy pills, and I must be crazy. Hell, I sometimes call them my happy pills or my candy. I was, and still am, worried about what it would do with my creativity. It’s something that I cherished, and can’t afford to lose, even though for a time I thought I did. A lot of my work in the past was fueled by my hypomanic episodes, which can give me the energy of a burning star. I usually intentionally stop taking meds just so I can try to be hypomanic, so I can have the boost to finish a project.
However, bipolar disorder doesn’t work on a schedule like that. It does what ever it wants to do to your head and body, and once it takes over, there’s not a damn thing you can do about it but try to figure out a way to minimize the effects. My doctor pointed out that when I’m off meds, my mood swings are all over the place, but I tend to crash into a deep depression. In fact, I’m in recovery now from a two-week long deep depression. I notice that people hate being around me. When I am on meds, I’m usually pretty stable. I have a history of mixed features, meaning I can be hypomanic and depressed at the same time; just to simple it up; and my hypomania can be energetic, euphoric, or highly irritating, with me taking on so much shit that I can’t complete or stay focused. You see, according to my doctor, I have bipolar type two, which is normally seen as not as severe as bipolar type one because there is no full-blown mania. However, we tend to spend significantly more time in depression than bipolar type two; I’m definitely one of them.
That being said, I realized over the years that I can’t go without my medication for too long. While I don’t always have that hypomanic energy to tap into, I still have my creativity. It’s a God-given talent that I’m trying to use as much as possible while I’m still blessed to have it. But without the medication (another name I call it is my dope), it’s hard for me to focus long enough to put out what my audience expects from me, which is good, quality work. So as much as I hate it, I have to keep taking them; every damn night (gritting my teeth).