Every morning I wake up and take five different pills.
The first, wellbutrin, is supposed to keep me from feeling too low, due to the depressive side of my Bipolar disorder.
The second, Abilify, is to keep me from feeling too high, due to the manic side of my Bipolar disorder.
The third and fourth, Adderall extended and quick release, are to counteract the Abilify’s side effects. Without it I’m foggy and can’t concentrate.
And the fifth, Naltrexone, is to curb my cravings for alcohol. Without it I’m at risk of seizures due to the wellbutrin and my habit of binge drinking.
Taking all these pills every day helps me in certain ways. I don’t have suicidal thoughts anymore, which is a big deal. It’s a lot easier to wake up in the morning and get through my day. I’m more responsible when it comes to work. I don’t feel hopeless quite as often and my thoughts aren’t as negative as they used to be.
But it has its drawbacks, too.
The biggest one being that with every pill I put in my mouth I feel sicker and sicker . it’s a daily reminder that I have a mental illness. It makes me feel like I’m crazy and the only way to stop my crazy is to sedate me.
I feel like the old lady who swallowed a fly.
I take the Adderall to swallow the abilify and take the abilify and naltrexone to swallow the wellbutrin, and take the wellbutrin to swallow the depression.
Some days I don’t know why I do it.
It also doesn’t remove depression completely. I often hear depression calling my name. Asking me to come back. To stop taking my meds. It tries to convince me that taking pills somehow makes me a zombie or that I’m missing a part of myself.
And honestly, some days I believe it.
I know that if I went off my meds I wouldn’t just feel mentally ill, but I’d be mentally ill again, too.
Once again would I feel the dull pain of exsisting. I’d fall back into my old ways of jumping from job to job, quitting on my low days and regretting it immediately. I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. I’d feel hopeless and the world would seem like a dark place again. Showers would be impossible. Connecting with people would be exhausting.
… But my blog posts would be raw and creative.
And I’d be able to feel the highs and lows of life again. Because no matter how devastating the lows are, those highs are unforgettable…
You see?! Depression is always calling. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. It causes you to not feel responsible for the things you do because after all, you’re depressed.
It’s really hard to try to write from this new perspective. I’m so used to coping skills and depression and anxiety, and mania and knowing what all of that feels like. I haven’t really learned how to be a healthy sick person yet. But if there are people like me out there, this one is for you.
So should you medicate or should you not?
Honestly, I haven’t figured that out yet. Maybe to some people there’s an obvious choice, but to me there are so many factors that have to be considered.
Everyone is different and no one pill or coping skill works for every person.
All I know is today I woke up, took five pills, felt a little crazy, and went to work. Without those meds I might have never showed up to work.
So I’m going to stay on my meds… For now.