I didn’t take my medicine. I realized today as I woke up and started another Monday morning, that once again I didn’t take my medicine for two days. This actually is horribly common for me, not because I mean to miss doses, but because one of two things happen; either I get busy and my mind forgets I didn’t take it, or I simply assume I already did. Then two or three days later, my bipolar will show its ugly head. And while I immediately began taking my meds the moment I realize that I haven’t, it doesn’t stop the almost guaranteed spiral.
The spiral from two days of missed meds isn’t so bad in the scheme of things. This disease has certainly thrown much heavier things at me. There have been times when even with the medicines my world has completely turned in the wrong direction. And there have been other times that I have missed my weekend medicine in favor of my normal life.
It isn’t a fact that I brag about. It isn’t something that makes me proud, although there is a small part of me that seems to look forward to it. I often wonder if I don’t take my meds on the weekend because I am hoping for that little bit of darkness in my otherwise regulated life. That little taste of freedom from the control I have to maintain each and every day.
Two days of missed medicine will not allow me to hurt my children. Two days of missed medicine will not allow me to destroy the self which I have built. But it does give me that tiny glimpse into the person I am, the person underneath all the medications that I really am. The dark splotches of truth that blow through my soul, and despite its abject misery brings me comfort. Two days of not taking medicine gives me that little bit of peace in an otherwise horrible world.
Those who claim that the medicines people with bipolar are taking don’t affect our normal selves, have either never taken the medicine or aren’t bipolar. The medicine does change us, it beats us down until we are nothing but the normal that this society has decided is real. Or at least as normal as chemicals can make us. It stops the thoughts, creates the emotions that are deemed to be acceptable, and it manipulates our physical selves until we often are exactly what we never wanted to be. Medicine while certainly crucial to the maintenance and health of those surrounding bipolar patients, are not the cure for the patients themselves. The disease while sometimes horrific is the true self. And curing that disease is not possible.
My mom tries to tell me that bipolar meds are just like insulin. You have to take both to keep from dying. I often want to laugh. First, because my mother has never been on the medicines I take by the handful, and second, a diabetic doesn’t fundamentally change in a way that convinces someone that the very sight you were given is a different color, like bipolar patients must endure. A diabetic takes her medicine to survive, no doubt. I take my medicine so others can.
There are days, hours, months that I wish I could simply stop my medicines cold turkey and feel. Feel the emotions that are the true counterpart to the actions around me. There is nothing anyone can say to convince me that my happiness isn’t a result of anything but the medicines I am taking. By taking these medicines am I really happy? Do I really see the full extent of my child’s smile? Do I really feel the physical love that is possible between two humans? Or is manufactured by the chemicals that I discipline myself to take?
Don’t get me wrong, the last time I stopped my meds cold turkey I found myself with a knife to my wrist, an empty bottle of wine beside me and no knowledge of how I got there. I have spiraled on and off my medicines to heights and depths that are not recognizable to anyone but those who have gone there themselves. They are simply not understandable to the world at large, a world scared of those with mental diseases, and a world terrified of someone like me not taking those very meds. The world is incapable of understanding the power of the mind, the mind itself protects us from that truth. But go to the heights and the depths and while you will find a nightmare unlike any you have ever known, you will also get a glimpse of freedom that the world demands you never see.
The two days without my meds means that I will simply go into myself for a day. My brain will speak with much more clarity, and the voices that I constantly battle will sing in harmony. For one day. For one day I will write words that I didn’t know I knew, and I will feel like that single darkness weighing on my soul is lifted. Then the veil will reemerge, and I will go back to this.
It is scary to me the need I feel for freedom. It is scary that there are times in my life when I want to know who and what I am without the influence of such powerful chemicals as those society forces on me. But I have learned that society doesn’t forgive a bipolar patient for not taking their medicines; even when the only harm is to themselves. I have learned that this world doesn’t accept who and what I really am; even when that person is beautiful. And I have learned that while the world isn’t fair, the truth is the world will bully me until they think they found it.