I have a basket next to my bed, which is next to my apartment door and it keeps my keys, my TV remote, the current books I’m reading, my AirPods and my medication. Usually there are 3 pill bottles next to my bed. The medications I take at night, in the morning and during the day. Over the last few weeks, the bottle next to my bed dropped to 1 and sometime 2. I took out the medication that keeps me most stable and I put it in the bedside table, on the other side of my bed, in a drawer.
For the past few weeks, I have been off my main medication. I don’t know what prompted me to start it. Maybe I felt I was gaining weight. Sometimes I feel bored and a little dulled out so I feel I needed a little hypomania in my life. Regardless, on my own, I said enough with Lithium and I stopped.
I read an article a while ago on The Mighty and the article speaks about how Bipolar isn’t good nor bad but society deems it to be a problem. The article compares bipolar to gay conversion therapy and my main take away from that comparison is that people try to fix bipolar people by reducing their symptoms, their suffering and the things that don’t fit in a functioning person. Therefore, the fixation is usually medication, therapy and other types of treatment. The article was enough to justify my medication vacation. I decided I didn’t want to change something that I was naturally given.
To go off my medication, I was honestly hoping I would spring into some hypomanic or controlled type of mania. I don’t think a controlled mania exists, that’s probably an oxymoron for me. But to be honest, being off my medication for a few weeks, nothing major happened to me. I still slept 8-9 hours. I was functioning at work. I had a normal amount of energy. But I was also going out, spending money and drinking a lot more than usual. I went out every night this past week, drinking to fall asleep and walking a ton with all of the energy I had.
Generally, I spend a lot of time alone because I live alone but this past week I was with friends all the time. If I wasn’t at work, I was with my best friend, at her apartment or going out to dinner or the gym. I was more talkative, engaged and that led me to drinking, going out and spending money. One could say it’s hypomania but for me, it was just a nice little vacation from a responsible stable life.
Now, given my history, it’s a slippery slope. I feel good and I want it to stay that way but I ultimately crescendo into this huge manic episode where I’m up all night making collages out of the magazine I hoard and running miles at 4:30am and I can’t sit at my desk at work for more than 18 minutes without going into a fit. And then I’m coming home to shop online for things I don’t need with money I shouldn’t be spending.
So, last night, I had a moment of reflection when I decided that my Lithium pill bottle that saves my sanity belong right with the rest of the pill bottles that I take religiously.
I had a week last week and I realized I don’t want to keep it going. It was fun. I don’t regret it. But it was enough of the mania side to make me pop open that Lithium bottle and go back to being the best version of myself. Today, the best version of myself is a person who does comply with my medication routine, is responsible about lifestyle choices and daily routines. I want to live that life because I know once the world comes crashing down after a manic episode hits, I don’t want to be back in the spot of picking up the pieces.
I want to function at work. I want to hold a proper running training schedule. I want to budget my money correctly. I want to have self-control and self-respect. These things come with those pills I have to take every day.
People have altering views about medications, treatments, illnesses and such. But for me, I do need to take my medication to be healthy and be a productive member in society. I’m proud of myself for ending my medication boycott on my own. Things could have turned out very poorly and I’m lucky that I didn’t let them get that far. Or that they didn’t get that bad before I could stop them.
I’m taking the past few weeks as a learning experience and one to remind myself the next time I want to move that pill bottle into the drawer and forget it exists that I have these pills for a reason and it’s a good one.