I know I am exceptionally lucky that I can afford medication and have access to a doctor who can prescribe medication for me. I am lucky that my struggles are taken seriously, though for a time they weren’t.
I often don’t want to take my meds. I think I can not just cope but flourish without them. That I could feel on top of the world without the psychosis or racing thoughts. That I will never become depressed again. My illness sometimes feels strange and unreal. Like it was a nightmare. Maybe thats my brain separating those foggy memories so I can live a normal life. How I acted in my episodes was so different to who I am, it’s like it never even happened. I idealise the person I am without the slight fatigue I feel, without my mood stabiliser or antipsychotic.
Recently I have found myself blaming my medication for everything. Tired, must be the meds. I am shaking, must be the meds. Hungry, must be the meds. Not hungry, must be the meds. It doesn’t matter that i’ve had barely any side effects off the medication I am on, when something crops up I automatically blame the medication I take. A lot of the time these problems are caused by my mental illness, like the shaking is caused by my anxiety etc. But to blame my mental illness would be to accept there is something wrong with me. That I am not perfect. You might think because I write about my mental health that I fully accepted it. Not yet. I guess I don’t like taking medication because it makes me feel abnormal and its effort to take it every morning and night. It’s a reminder of the insanity I’ve been through and that I haven’t got my life together… not yet anyway.
I don’t want to romanticise bipolar. I miss the creativity, the energy, the intense feelings of love. But with creativity comes chaos. The thoughts are too fast, the feelings too intense. If you are like me you spiral into psychosis and nothing productive is done. I don’t remember all of it but I do remember the pacing so bad my foot got infected. I remember burning my arm as I was so agitated. I remember ringing up universities to tell them of my amazing plans to cure illness with the chemicals in my brain. It was a blur but not a fun one. I was dangerous, reckless and rude. With my bipolar I also get the lows. The deep dark hole where I prayed for help for something to slightly ease my pain. I don’t want any of this back so I keep taking the pills. Each and every day.
There is a reason you have been prescribed medication. Whether you agree with it or not, work with your doctor (if you have one) to find a treatment plan which works for you. Consider the pros and cons of opting out of treatment. I love that medication and other things have helped me. I am now able to volunteer and have better relationships with friends and family. I can’t predict the future but I plan to keep taking the medication as long as I need to. It’s frustrating but also helpful.