To be, or not to be, or to be what I should not be

I think I’m a far stronger and more capable person now than I’ve ever been.  I sometimes feel like I can withstand anything and I’m not a hysterical mess who falls apart at the drop of a hat.   I do deal with this, I don’t idle along on the path of self destruction.  But…

Ah, whining! Hello there.

I want to stop taking my medication.  I don’t know how I’d ever learn to join the mortal world in natural sleep but I feel (or don’t, as it happens) that I’m anaesthetising myself.   I hardly even argue anymore.  I used to argue all the time.  I wonder if I am becoming one of those repressed housewives, whose hate or hurt or any antisocial emotion only comes out after a bottle of gin and the loosening of the tongue with valium, to a dead sleep and regretful waking.

So many people close to me, who love me and have seen me go mad, would credit my progress to medication.  I am more even now, less insane.  I don’t self harm, I haven’t wondered through the streets thinking I was being stalked by Danny John Jules in ages. I still experience the bleak depressions and my self awareness tips into ridiculous and strangulating self analysis.   

I wonder if I feel that I am losing myself due to the immense stresses of recently, or if I want to abandon responsibility and drift into wholly natural madnesses.    I always do the responsible thing.  It might just be because recently I had to make a gigantic decision that was based on having this fucking illness.  The sense that it is not fair.  I’m not singing the virtues of mania or mental illness.  I wish violently that it was not the cause of absolutely any single part of me, because that is not fair because the treatment means sacrificing parts of myself, and a lack of treatment means I will probably destroy my life or die, like I was heading for anyway.

I feel like I am less vivid than I was.   Less interesting, less, for want of a better word, intense.  I miss the invincibility, the confidence and the energy of hypomania.  People say I am sweet, but I miss the vicious streak in me.  Not hatefulness, but anger.  What is wrong with being angry? With justified rage?  I analyse everything to incoherency, where the end result is always the same:  My Fault.  

What has kept me on my medications, apart from placating people I love and the psychiatrist (and there is the question, the one I’d never think of anyone else answering, would never call anyone else this; am I weak?  Have I submitted, given my life over to the all-famed “higher power”?), is the fear of hospitals and the terror of the psychotic abandonment of my teenage and early twenties years.     The people who truly loved me look me in the eye and say I’m mad but they love me anyway; the others, they bring me to my knees with well aimed shame.    I don’t want people to think I am crazy, when I’m not.  Vicious, or cruel, or malicious in the slightest.   It is repugnant to me.

And I know in my worse times, and even my best, I can be relentlessly self pitying.

I know that this is just a mood disorder.  It’s just that.  I am a different person than I would have been without it, but I haven’t changed as a person- not the fundamental person- because of the medication or whatever.  Just some details.  There are other things, like the BDD- and mania, or more specifically hypomania, gave me a relief from that.  A security in my skin before the raging agitations told hold.  A feeling of peace and of transcendence.  Confidence.

If I am naturally mad (and I don’t mind being mad- I fear being crazy),  then what is so wrong with that?    I am furious I don’t have enough control over my moods to just live with it.

This is the manic depressive sonnet, really.  Romantasising illness, forgetting the awfulness, the misery, confusion, agitation, psychosis, hideousness.  However close to death and destruction our illnesses bring us, there is the lure of fire.  Of wanting to be atop the spinning plates.  It is not self destruction on my part, or even what will be will be; I am not someone who extols the virtue of rightness just because of what is natural.  Mental disorder is unnatural in a sense because it is a deviation, or at least seems to be, from the proper brain chemistry.  But it occured, and so it is.  

But all these experiences, horrible and not, and feelings and moods, they were mine and I don’t feel that they are anymore.   And I say this from the position of sadness and depression, where the lament of missing the madnesses is most resonating.

I am a mercurial person, I always will be.  But sometimes it just feels wrong to me that I take pills that mess with my brain, that do nothing for depression.  The diagnosis is a kick in the balls anyway but it was especially shitty to me to be diagnosed with bipolar I.  They throw everything at mania, and it was the severe manias that were the most life destroying for me.  But nothing for depression.  There is nothing I can take and often nothing I feel I can do.  And wonder if I will die without really living anyway.   If I’m going to die anyway why not be a harlequin atop my spinning plates.

Recovery, or the idea of it, that mirage, is equilibrium and I can’t find it.  Sand in my mouth, over and over again.   The medication has just left me as someone prone to depression who cannot form a sentence sometimes and who cannot recall a good portion of her life (although mania and depression eroded my memory, too).   My hands shake, I sleep, I have horrible dreams, my thoughts are in disarray.  I have become accustomed to thinking in pathology- is it pathology, all of it?   And a lot of my creative energy is focused on… this.  Not the blog.  But the thinking.  And the trying to figure out a way to live with it, and to live without it.  And always wondering if I’ve just been left to be depressed for the rest of my life.

I hated myself sometimes for being the reckless psychotic madwoman.  I don’t want to live without consequence, it’s not that.  But I rarely cry anymore, and I even miss crying.  I liked the fact that I was impulsive, for better or worse.   I loved more intensely.  I felt things more intensely.  And all the beauty of the world and the exquisite delights of love and the wonderfulness of the sense of touch,  the night air and muddied red lights, sirens and skin are still fascinating.   As dull and inert as I have felt, and as much as I’ve fantasised about kicking the chair from beneath me, or been far gone enough to not understand what is real, and what is not, and having no hope of knowing, I still spy the moon and revel in the impossibility of our existence and the one million little things that happened to make us who we are.  The moods can drain the colour from the world but it is the wrong way round; I am the grey one, the world is in colour, and I do not feel a part of it, and know I am loved, but have no understanding why, or even real belief in it anymore.  And I find it hard to truly regret anything,  and end up regretting the one big thing, that I am who I am, and wonder if I can even really carry on living with myself because of it.   

Sometimes, I just crave the freedom to go mad.  I wish it just didn’t hurt people when I did.  I wish I could be one of those types of brilliant mad people- the oft cited, yet always less mad than the people we know, the “a little bit mad”, acceptably mad ones.  Eccentrics, they’d call them.  I wish I could have a dial in me that I could set to “stop” when I needed to, naturally, not just “stop”, full stop.

It is crap wondering if you’ll have to be on medication for something you thought was part of your personality for the probable rest of your life when you’re twenty three.  I don’t feel like I can win either way.

Here lies Seaneen’s, “I want to throw my medication into the Thames” incoherant rants,  number 33.  This time I’m wondering if I should do it slowly, give it a go and see what happens.

16 Responses

  1. I used to argue all the time as well… then, as the effects of my treatment became more apparent, and I’ve become less confrontational, I’ve realized the arguing was my way of dealing with issues I couldn’t understand through the haze of being untreated… or simply couldn’t properly express.

    I don’t normally do this, but I asked myself the same questions… you might be interested in some of the answers. So here’s the link to my post…

  2. *Sighs* grass is always greener when both choices are shit. How can you choose when neither option is better? It’s just a different type of shit, isn’t it? This morning I was considering going back on the pills again, because I feel so horrible, but conveniently forgetting how horrible they make me feel too. Obviously that made me decide that in fact it is me that is horrible, and not the pills 🙂

    That canal must be a river of chemicals by now.

    Lola x

  3. Pleasure to hear [in]coherent rants like this.

    It’s all a bloody see-saw isn’t it? I want to know who’s on the other seat.

    Take care, D x

  4. The only problem with being angry is, when it’s you, you’re only ever angry with you – and usually with no real reason to be. It’s a fury that I can’t hope to dent or affect.

    I shouldn’t even write here, really.

  5. This is a very beautiful post. I wonder if anyone ever feels they are part of this world or it’s just this crazy elusive idea.

    They say I’m okay just because I’m not dead. I take medications looking for a moment that may never come.

  6. It IS a beautiful post.

    You can be a wonderful, unique, creative person while you are on medication.

  7. I’ve happily gone the route of no meds…saner for it too, though the drugs kicked my ass physically…

    it’s not black and white…it’s not no drugs=no treatment.

    there are treatment options…they just get short shrift…

    there are lots of us living healthy lives who are not poisoning ourselves with drugs we were told we needed or we’d die…

    that’s called fear-mongering.

    there are other ways to attain stability. It’s not drugs or else psychosis, anger, being out of control…it’s just not.

    but one needs to have faith in the healing power of our psyche’s and bodies and not the mental health system…it’s not something everyone wants to take on.

    I wish you peace whatever you decide….and I know exactly what it’s like to feel dead inside and not be able to cry!!

    I rejoice in my ability to cry, feel, suffer, and feel joy again!! Yeah even the tough shit is good.

  8. I can certainly understand the lack of mania being a disappointment. Being on meds and “controlled” kinda takes the excitement out of things for me too. Except I am bp2 and my mania was usually anger directed, and who wants to be angry for basically no reason all of the time?

    I am wondering if you need a med change and not a discontinuance totally. I say this because I am on a mood stabilizer and an antipsychotic, but I still get appropriately emotional….just a thought.

    • Think it would have to be revisiting old medications. I only take Seroquel, but it’s enough. I’m in a bit of a bind, mood stabilisers really seem to help fuck my weight and although it’s vain, I can’t deal with it, at all. Antidepressants make me go mental.

      I got the raging manias, too. I’m just irritated that I don’t have enough control over my moods to just live with them.

  9. With the recent traumatic experience you have been through I think that coming off the bipolar medication might be a bad idea for now. You might have some very strong episodes and feeling the depth of emotions may be far worse than feeling numb and depressed for the moment.

    Whatever your choice, I hope something makes you feel a bit brighter as I really think you deserve some happiness.


  10. Effexor was a really poor drug selection. It’s the type of medication given to people who are experiencing hypersomnia, who have no energy, who are withdrawn. It is known to cause ‘switching’ in all types of bipolar disorder – so it’s slightly shocking that your psychiatrist decided to prescribe it to you, someone suffering BPI.

    It’s unfortunate too, as it seems to have tainted your view of antidepressents, when I feel that, if correctly managed, you could find an antidepressant could help you.

    I think if you attempted another antidepressant of a different class, such as Mirtazapine or Reboxetine, these are far less likely to cause switching.

    Furthermore, I think the cautious approach to trying one of these would be best – starting at a very low dose (for example, the typical starting dose of Mirtazapine is 30mg, I would suggest starting at 7.5mg) and having psychiatric reviews weekly to see if there’s any effect.

    Have you totally sworn of antidepressants, or would you want to try another? Perhaps with a more cautious approach with a slow titration period you could find out whether a medication is suitable (and if any side effects that occur should be less dramatic at such a low dose, and can result in immediate discontinuation).

  11. My new theory is that the world has to become more hospitable to us. I’m not convinced that this type of brain doesn’t serve some special purpose and that without these sparks much art would never exist.

    So, as I finally figured out “what is wrong with me.” I also began to feel as there’s nothing really wrong. The only problem is that suicided becomes a real possibility and I have loved ones. But, I don’t think it’s so much a sickness as a strange reality or maybe not so strange. I struggle with it, of course, but like you said, there is something to be said about “impulsivity.” and intensity.

  12. I think it may be unwise for you to take the decision to come off your meds when you’ve just had such a difficult decision to make.

    I understand that you want the full vibrancy of life to kick in again but I can’t help but feel you might rapidly become overwhelmed in the light of recent events.

    My advice would be to inject the colour back in by just being playful with your interactions with people. If you feel boring, don’t say the first thing that comes into your head, let it slide a little and then say the fourth or fifth thing and make someone laugh.

    Your blog shows that you still have incredible skills of communication. You can use that to be colourful and then revel in the responses of the people you’re with.

    I do appreciate that anger must remind you of times past where you were filled with some kind of energy. But, think about it, was it really that much fun?

    There’s a lot to be said about being boring. I’ve recently become interested in Buddhism. My big problem is anxiety and I look at Buddhists and think “they must really know how to be calm”. Yet I also know that meditating and, worse, talking about it is REALLY boring. Hell, even a lot of the buddhist mp3s I find online are dull. But there’s something in there that stabilises me. A boring stability.

    Make no apologies for being boring. Sometimes it’s enough to just *be*.

    Anyhow, you’re not boring anyway. Your blog is testament to that.

  13. I relate to this so well it’s a little scary. These are EXACTLY the questions I’ve been pondering in the last few months- I’ve even been considering the character of “Hamlet”, and that particular soliloquy.
    I found this video of Stephen Fry talking about self-pity interesting.

  14. “I loved more intensely. I felt things more intensely. And all the beauty of the world and the exquisite delights of love and the wonderfulness of the sense of touch, the night air and muddied red lights, sirens and skin are still fascinating”.

    Yes. Oh yes. Exactly why suicide never became an option for me, no matter how ill I was.

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