Why I take drug

I started taking drugs 21 years ago, after my first visit to hospital. I had three visits that year. We tried many different drugs until we found the mix that worked for me. I take carbamazepine (C15H12N2O) one in the morning and one at night (400mg in total).

Racked and staked, 1 month of drugs.

In the trial and error process, of finding the right drug, which was a partnership between many people including me I lost weight, 3 stone and I gained weight, 6 stone. I had other things on my mind at the time than my waistline.

I have strong memories from my periods of mania and wallows in depression; that I was going to meet Richard Branson, that I cried in the kitchen with my mum as I couldn’t lift the knife to butter a sandwich, that all the nerve endings in my body tingled with energy, that I got out of hospital and then sat on a building site, that I couldn’t deal with any women visiting me, that I ripped the curtains down in my room and the light in the hospital yard kept me awake at night, that I thought I was adopted, that my Grandpa made an awesome chicken sandwich with particularly wet crunchy lettuce.

I also have lots of blanks; that I was writing on the steering wheel of my mums car on the m25 driving at 40mp and then something, that I sat up talking non stop recording over a tape of Definitely Maybe and then something, that I lost the plot when on holiday with mum an dad so we came home early from Isles of Scilly with a lot of sea glass and then something.

During that time I meet some great characters each on their own discovery process; David who was out of the army, during art therapy he would draw really detailed eagles, David with a white beard and David who lived with his mum who seemed fine on my first visit into hospital, was just going in as I was coming out for second visit and unfortunately didn’t live to see me go in for the third time. Then there was Chris who was good mates with Tim (which was nice as you could be worried everyone with a neurological condition is called David) who I pallid up with when I moved out to sheltered accommodation. We did silly things together like trying a instant coffee with 9 teaspoons of coffee in and relaxing things together like staring at a candle (this was part of a meditation session) sad things together like saying goodbye to Tim just before he when’t to jump of a bridge. I’m not sure how much I believed it was happening, at the time. It was 1997 and it took us a while to walk back to inform our guardians.

I learned a lot as well, both at the time and looking back; The dedication that everyone who was part of the partnership showed to getting me on an even keel whilst I pulled in the other direction, that time is really not a definite construct as physics suggests, that I’m going to be remembering more as I grow older if I want to or not, that 9 teaspoons of any instant coffee is way to much, that I can’t even count the amount of hair brained thoughts that I had back then have come true and those that haven’t. But as valuable as all the insights are I really wouldn’t want to do it again.

About year, or so, ago after a few blood tests my GP suggested I reduced the strength of my drug. A slightly scary prospect at the time, as I did not relish the though of losing my even keel. Taking the drugs for me was a fixed constant, a contract of sorts that got forged during the trail and recovery the thought of going through that again and not surviving the process is not to be taken lightly. But I made it through and all my stats balanced out. Both my GP and the specialist even suggested I could stop taking the drugs (in a carfully managed way), I politely declined.

Though I take carbamazepine for my medical condition neither have really defined who I am, though they are a part of who I am. In fact this was always the trickiest thing, my slightly curved ball answers to a barrage of questions often delayed the discovery process. In the last 21 years so much has changed, and so much has remained the same. I have still not learned to stop giving curved ball answers.

Life is a funny fish, keep swimming.