I missed one of my medications for two weeks. I don’t know I did it, except it fell off of repeat refill, and I didn’t notice it was gone. It was my anti-depressant; I take a cocktail of meds to manage my bipolar disorder. Which means that without them, I progressively got depressed and anxious, curling up in a tiny ball, saying the grownup equivalent of “Nobody loves me” because the whirlwind in my abdomen felt that way. I still functioned at work, because I have a solid sense of duty that keeps me from calling off.
I just figured out on Saturday what happened, and by Sunday I got the prescription refilled. I am recovering.
It sobers me that one half of a teaspoon of chemicals daily keeps me from non-functionality, or at least less functionality. I admit the meds are miraculous, even with their side effects, which include benign tremor, dehydration, and maybe a bit of incoordination1. These meds keep me from despondency, from helplessness, from inertia, from self-flagellation, from a variety of self-deprecating and ultimately self-destructing exercises in my life. On the flip side, they also keep me from frightening elation, a feeling of invincibility, magical thinking2, and a touch of grandiosity.
I function well because of chemicals. Not even perfect chemicals — none of these efficiently target the difficulties in the brain, but work together to keep something (usually excitatory actions of the brain) from happening and make other things (retention of neurotransmitters and inhibitory processes) more likely to happen. My brain chemicals are tripping my body to be hyper, to be miserable, to be depressed, to be despondent when there are no stimuli backing up the feelings. The medicine keeps that from happening.
Very few people tell me to “go natural” and quit treating my bipolar. I think it’s because bipolar scares them and they don’t want to see me without my meds. I suspect they think I will become psychotic if I go off the meds. Probably not. But I appreciate their faith in my meds.
Again, it’s sobering that I function because of medications. but I’d rather function than not.
- It’s hard to tell which is my natural incoordination and which is the medication, to be truthful.
- Magical thinking is believing in irrational connections between A and B, where A is “step on the cracks” and B is “break your mother’s back.” I contrast this to most practitioners of magic, who believe that stepping on the cracks may affect your relationship with your mother but not break her back, and besides that, they don’t do actions with evil undertones.