National Mental Health Awareness Month - May

  www.rainn.org  - rape, abuse, & incest national network - a comprehensive resource 

www.rainn.org - rape, abuse, & incest national network - a comprehensive resource 

Exactly one year ago, I was in the worst state of my life, and what's worse is I didn't even know it.  It's hard to believe that a year has passed, and harder still to think how my life has changed.  One year ago I was in the midst of a severe bipolar manic state with schizoaffective episodes.  In short, I was fucking crazy and had no idea.

It feels funny to me now to know that May is National Mental Health awareness month when last May was the time in my life when I was least aware of my mental health.  I was riding high on the chemicals in my brain that were telling me all kinds of stories about how grandiose my life was, how important my thoughts were, and how nobody else was understanding the brilliance of my new life.  

Bipolar is a sick and twisted bitch.  Most of my life is spent being severely depressed, and the few short times that I'm not feeling depressed, I'm manic and can't trust myself to be in touch with reality.  Sometimes I go through periods of rapid cycling, where I'm on top of the world one minute and trying to convince myself not to slit my wrists the next minute.  The roller coaster usually leaves me sick to my stomach, all of my muscles stuck in flight or fight mode, tension coursing through my veins.

 A few months worth of medications - my personal pharmacy.

A few months worth of medications - my personal pharmacy.

Mania brings a euphoria that's indescribable.  It's as though there is no future and because there's no future, there's no reason to worry about anything.  Depression, on the other hand, is biting and fearsome, bringing with it a top layer of severe anxiety.  Suicidal thoughts are always lingering around the surface.   Medications take a certain edge off, as though they slightly distort the reality of your feelings. They don't take the pain away, they don't take the shame away, they just take the edge away.

My current medication experiment is on its 6th or 7th iteration since last August.  The latest pill to be added to the regiment is Prazosin.  If I remember correctly, it's supposed to help with anxiety and reduce night terrors.  I'm holding steady at 60mg of Prozac and 1mg of Klonopin, but have reduced Zyprexa down to 7.5mg as it was making me even more lethargic than I normally am.

If I've learned anything over the past year, it's that everything is an experiment. Treatment is an experiment. Medications are an experiment. Survival is an experiment.