Long time correspondent Lyndsey, who has wrestled with bipolar mood swings for years, what it means, how it enhances life, and how it diminishes it, and who has also, at times, cursed the condition and the treatments she has received from her doctors, writes about medications.
We don’t generally talk much about medications on this site, because we felt / feel that there is much already out there on the internet about medications for bipolar and depression, but relatively little about the many other and important aspects of living creatively with moods, but we thought this post, with its unique voice, might be of interest, and might, at least, spark some thought or dialog…
My mom’s friend got me a bumper sticker that reads: YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXCEED THE LIMITATIONS OF MY MEDICATION. While hilarious and apropos, I think this is a very important message, beyond the humor, because It reminds us that meds are here to protect us.
About a year into my new bipolar life, I remember glancing up at the shelf in my medicine cabinet and being overcome with non-clinical depression at the site of it lined up with a gazillion bottles of pills – mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics and anti-depressants and anti-convulsants and something to keep my eyes open and something else to help me sleep and so on and so forth. Suddenly it hit me: I am a sick person. I hated all those bottles and I hated being sick.
Instead, I should’ve changed the relationship I had with my meds. Meds are armor. They are our chainmail and shield and shin guards, protecting us from the outside world – and vice versa. We have super powers. For example, we are way more sensitive than your average Joe. This is a powerful tool for enhancing empathy or for sussing out business relationships. The kryptonite of it though is that we can feel hurt way more easily than might be warranted. And the great news is, there are meds for that.
There are meds to help quell racing thoughts and meds to lift energy levels. There are meds to shut off the voices and meds to thicken our skin. While the way we feel out the world via our heightened sensory abilities doesn’t go away, our comfort in navigating through it is greatly expanded by getting our cocktail of medicines fine tuned for our particular needs. In other words, don’t fight it. Dive in, learn what each medicine helps, how it hinders, and work in tandem with your doctor to create the best possible armor for your daily battles.
In other words, don’t be like me. Don’t see your line up of meds and think “I’m sick”. Instead, know that “our” way of being normal is actually exotic. It isn’t a disorder as much as it causes disorder. Disorder and chaos. And that’s where meds come in.
Life is short. Take a pill.