There are numerous strange, and sometimes fascinating quirks of being me. Some of them I find cute, some of them I find annoying, and some of them just blow my mind. One of my little quirks, is my “placebo effect”. If I read the paperwork that accompany my prescriptions I will immediately, and almost painfully develop all the symptoms listed under side effects; diarrhea a possible side effect…you better believe within 12 hours I have vicious bouts of it. It is rather disgusting when put that way.
And because I take “top shelf” prescriptions, there are “top shelf” side effects. It can be dizzying. My disease allows me the good stuff, but if I dare to even glance at the consequences of those meds, my days can end in absolute pityfullness. So I simply never read the paperwork that comes with those little orange/brown bottles.
However, this causes another problem. I don’t know what of my quirks is a side effect, and what part is simply me. And there are parts of me I really, really hope are caused by either the disease or the medication. I really hope that underneath the disease, underneath all those pills I am who I am striving to be, and not who I really am. Because there are days, moments, when who I am is not something I am proud of, not something I really want to be. And yet, even knowing it, even realizing it, and seeing it, I am sometimes still exactly that.
Let’s use an example, they are always good. Let’s use my laziness. I am amazingly lazy. I see dishes that need to be done, yet I see something I would rather do, and every time I pick the one I want to do. Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to go on cleaning frenzies but that is the exception not the rule. Why don’t I just want to do those dishes real quick and get them done? Why is it possible for my neighbor to have the same amount of kids, laundry and husband that I have, and yet her house while not emaculate, is at least always picked up? I see the problem, I acknowledge the problem. But I still leave those easy tasks for some other day. Even when they bother me. I pray that this is a side effect of the medications and disease, and has nothing to do with the idea that I am just lazy.
Or what about my need to read? I am a voracious reader. I would and have read for hours and hours, neglecting everything around me. I would rather be in a story, in some fairy tale world, than to live in the life that I have. Is that because of the prescriptions, because it certainly isn’t because I have a bad life. Quite the opposite in fact; I am blessed. So why do I need the escape? Why do I need to pretend I am anywhere else than where I am? Why do I need to be another woman, another hero, another person? Is it the disease?
The problem with a mental disease is you never quite know what is real and what isn’t. What voices are those you know, and what voices are strangers. You don’t know if the beauty you are seeing is horror to someone else, and you don’t know if everything you believe and everything you hope for is simply a reality no one but you understands. I suppose it might be scary if you didn’t live in it, but I simply survive by believing everything and everyone is part of the disease; therefore, I am not even really talking to you.
And the truth is, sometimes those side effects are simply an excuse. And the truth is, sometimes those side effects are kinda neat, and the truth is living with a person who has a mental disease will not only keep you up at night, but take all the fun out of those scary roller coasters.