I found this piece hidden deep in my journal. I wrote it about a year ago, but never had the guts to share. After re-reading, I think it's time I expose the bittersweet reality of medication therapy. Here goes...
I haven’t been anything for a few months now. Of course, it’s unrecognizable to the outsiders eye. I am even able to fool myself and convince myself otherwise. But when it’s quiet and I’m alone with my own thoughts, I am consumed by neutrality. I am neither happy, nor sad, nor angry. I am neutral. I am merely existing. My emotions are stifled. I am neither amused nor frightened by this state of mind. I feel this about 80% of the time. The question is, is this healthy for me? Many of you might be alarmed that I am even asking that question. The answer might be a sharp, “NO!” However, we must remember that I am mentally unwell. I am bipolar.
I felt emotions tremendously deep. Too deep. When I was sad, the pain was unbearable. When I was happy, I was wild-eyed and impulsive. There was no in between. I’m writing in past-tense because that is how things used to be… Until I was medicated.
For all who are already turned off or have made judgments about those last few words, I ask you to please keep reading.
Medication is not the answer for all. For some, it is absolutely necessary. I am part of that “some.” My brain actually looks differently than other, mentally healthy folks. On medication, I can function daily. I am not confined to my bed. I am not avoidant of the sunshine. I am not physically aching. I am not in fear of my own self. I remain level-headed and able to process thoughts. However, with this comes the neutrality of emotions. Although I am not in fear of myself or others, I am not fearful at all. I don’t feel the overwhelming presence of life and beauty on a sunny day, like I once did. I am not achy, because pain has become this fleeting thing. I am level-headed, because feeling an extreme is currently impossible. My attitude has much adjusted. It is stagnant. It is not amused. My memory, oh my memory… It is jello. Things have jumbled together, just like my words. My vocabulary seems to be diminished, because remembering the right word to use in a sentence, is like pulling teeth. I often explain it like so: our brains are filing cabinets. I try to open the cabinet and find what I need, but it is not accessible. Parts of my brain have flipped the lightswitch off. This frustrates me and makes me question continuation of medication therapy.
But do I want to throw away all of this dedication, work, and treatment to make myself better? Do I want to leave this life to go back to the old? Before I began medication I told myself that I’d do whatever it takes to not feel that way again. I couldn’t bear another day untreated. I couldn’t live another moment as myself - unwell. The untreated, mentally ill me was in excruciating pain. Enough so that I was ready to give up.
Surprisingly, I can still cry. When it happens, I get excited because an extreme has been reached! That is something I am proud of. When tears flow I remember that I am human and I still can feel even if it’s tremendously less than before.
I suppose that’s a good thing, right?