Those doctors changed my meds again. Granted I haven’t been sleeping which is vital to the health of someone with my disease, and I need to gain some weight, both side effects of this medicine they gave me, but still there is a part of me that sometimes wonders why I mess with the balance I am on.
I can handle almost all of the side effects of this medicine. I don’t particularly like gaining weight, even knowing that I desperately could use it. I don’t particularly care for the lack of any sexual desire, but my husband and I find ways. I don’t like the bad skin, the headaches, the tremors, and all the rest that is simply a part of my daily life on medication. I often think and dream of a day when medicine won’t be necessary for me, that I will be able to survive in a world without it and those side effects. But for the most part I have resigned myself to these little pills that do a lot of good, and a lot of bad.
But this new medicine comes with one side effect I always forget until I start taking it again: Nightmares. And I am talking the vivid, bloody, gory, full of real emotions nightmares. The nightmares that take my whole family and destroy them and leave me to pick up the pieces. The nightmares that require of me feats and actions that would only be necessary in the darkest days of my truths. And they are real. They are so real that I live them as surely as I live the day I am in. There are no pink elephants to help me compartmentalize them. There are no strange worlds to remind me that it is just a dream. It is a reality that I live each night in the vain hope that I will at least sleep.
It is a deep sleep that comes with these nightmares. It is not a light sleep that is easily moved or changed by the whims of my body. It is a deep sleep that allows me to smell, feel, hear, see, and touch a separate reality that my brain has designed for me. It is real.
I suppose that some scientist, somewhere, could probably explain to me how a tiny yellow pill could so affect my brain as to only allow it to produce these nightmares. Some spot in my brain that is activated by these tiny pills so that happiness in dreams because impossible. It wouldn’t help.
I recognize the power of the brain. I recognize that our brains are weapons, are masters, are the greatest instruments not only of destruction but of beauty this world has ever seen. I recognize that it is our brains that can convince the most pacifist of people to pull a trigger in certain situations. I recognize that it is our brains that move that paint brush one millimeter over to finalize a great work of art. I recognize the importance, the power and the sheer brilliance of the human brain. The nightmares, and the reality of them, are just as potent as the daydreams I try so hard to keep.
I am lucky in that I know how to mitigate some of this. I know that if I back off and don’t take the pill everyday, the nightmares will not have as much hold on my brain. I know this because I had to learn it. But not everyone is as lucky.
Every pill has side effects, and when you are talking about mental disease the medications can often have stellar side effects that you have no preparation nor any counter-effects against. Often people will stay with medications despite the side effects; sort of like the monster you know. For me, sometimes dealing with the side effects that I know are easier than adding a new pill that I don’t know what will do. It is easier and that is just that. When you have such a wide range of options that you don’t get to choose from in terms of side effects, changing drugs can be a dangerous idea.
For now, I will back off the drugs. I will take them every other day, or every third day and try to keep the nightmares at bay. I know that means lots of ups and downs, but the other side of the coin is vivid and disturbing images that only a corrupted brain could create. Medications, are often, the demon that brings the light.