Every Sunday night you open the kitchen cupboard. In this moment you are trapped. Held captive, once again, by Manic Depression.
You take out 6 bottles of psychiatric medications and 2 bottles of supporting supplements. You place them on the counter next to your “pill suitcase”. You count out these little mind altering drugs. You and fill the morning, midday, mid afternoon and evening allotments. Your inner monologue deflated, yet strong.
“This illness is not me. I am not these pills. This will not stop me”
“I can’t function without these fucking things. I am a broken pile of shit.”
“I’m not really sick”
You’re trapped between anger, acceptance and denial.
For those with Bipolar sleep is of critical importance. A stable, quality and consistent sleep is a key factor in stability of mood. You feel resentful. Night time is the best part of the day, and you are not allowed to enjoy it. You’re trapped inside a rigid sleep schedule.
You take your lithium and sleeping pill and head to bed. 9.30 pm. Any later and you start to stress the fuck out. What if this screws your entire week? What if this impacts your energy level and mood in a dangerous way? What if you loose your shit completely? What if that causes you to loose your job? Your relationships? Yourself?
You drop off into a medicated sleep. You don’t get to dream anymore.
You wake up, like most, with out an inch of energy. You take your morning medications. You breath in, and go to work with a smile on your face. You interact well with your co-workers. You take your mid morning, and mid afternoon medications. They talk about “being your authentic self at work”. You know you can never bring that. You wonder, “does anyone bring their authentic self to work? We are all trapped in that way.”.
You go home, exhausted by pretending all day.
Once a week you go to therapy. You talk about daily mundane crap. Your sometimes warped perceptions of the world. The intrusive, sexual and sometimes violent thoughts. The intense bursts and loss of energy. The confusing thought processes. Sometimes your Psychiatrist get’s wind of these symptoms. This means another change in medications. New side effects and new ways of experiencing the world. You are at the mercy of a doctor who is experimenting with how you perceive the world.
Someone asks you if you want to go for dinner on Friday. When Friday finally arrives you’re nervous. What if you’re not in bed by 9.30pm? What if you spin out again? What if you loose control?
Can you ‘afford’ this night out?
You arrive at the restaurant. Everyone is drinking. Not you though. You had to give it up. You had to give up everything fun to get back on the straight and narrow. Your illness stripped you of release. Instead you watch everyone enjoy their vices while you can’t. It blows.
At least you can still fuck. Then again, even that was more fun on drugs. So you’re angry and bitter. You feel like you’re trapped outside, nose to the glass, while everyone is enjoying themselves inside.
You wonder, maybe I can get back on that destructive but glorious rat wheel? Would you be able to get off? History says no.
History says “this is where you get fucked by the screaming train of mania”.
But it would be a ride.
The consequences of going off the deep end bubble up in your mind. They are real, and you’re trapped by the guilt of previous manic episodes. The loved ones you hurt and the life you left in tatters, holds you accountable.
You stay in the lines and go home at 9.30.
You stand in front of your pill suitcase. Pop open a lid, and ram another reminder down your throat. Another reminder that you’re trapped by your illness.