Upon awakening I remember that today is just one more day in a long line of days and while I know there’s an end to the string I can’t yet see it. Still under the weight of Clonazepam I haven’t heard Jenni bounding down the stairs ready for a romp. This hour or two is what I call my lay-over: I’m between medications neither of which are therapeutic; both of which masquerade symptoms of my mental illness. Heavy and lethargic I pause a moment bedside to take a 30 second assessment of mood, same as last time, whenever last time was. My memory of yesterday is monochromatic: I’m aware that things happened, but their details blend into the blizzard; yesterday and yesterday’s yesterday and all their predecessors simply disappear during the night. Even painful arguments, bad news, anger and disappointments flee and aren’t carried forward, but get stopped at the border; most get turned away; a handful are waved through, arbitrarily, and sit idly, stuck, their reason or purpose kept by officials at the border; memories without purpose are like pieces of truck tire littering the highway; of no use.
My medicine awaits: nine orange pills like little life preservers, taken at three different times throughout the day. The Teva variety lift you quickly, like a propulsion ride at a theme park, but their half-life is only a few motivated, buoyant hours until the bridge disintegrates beneath your feet and down you go, debris tumbling to the bottom; the lethargy is impossible to escape, like a tar pit or a muddy slope, incapacitated you reach for your next dose. My goal every day is simply to be productive and purposeful. Incomprehensible on my own. I hate the fact that my daily life couldn’t produce if not for these nine orange pills. But without them depression causes my torso to ache, it demands darkness and silence, it prohibits hope, it sleeps.
As usual, at this hour I’m so tired I struggle to fix dinner, to talk to my partner; watching TV, if I wasn’t eating I’d be asleep.
This is what it’s like. Probably a good thing I won’t remember this tomorrow.
2 thoughts on “What It’s Like”
I had a doctor once who changed my life (kind of), and that was after four psychiatrists just during my teens. He took a quite unorthodox approach and told me to dissociate: “Treat your mind like a hostile adversary”. It’s by no means easy and I’m by no means fixed, but it’s the only thing that has given me some power in the debacle. I actively work against my thoughts and thought processes. I’d say I’m now able to thwart 30 to 40% of it. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you knew me during my teens… it’s the difference between pushing or not pushing the red button that starts the next world war and brings on armageddon.
My diagnosis arrived late in life (like Old Testament babies to barren, ancient women). First came the odd behavior; then drugs & booze; finally the disease erased chunks of memory. I created my career which redefined “stressful,” but I’d pawned all my sanity to keep working in order to maintain our “A-Gay” status, our possessions, etc. I think you know the drill. It was decided after three years of Rx trials, that I’m drug resistant; except for Judy’s Cocktail: Speed to go, Clonazepam to stop. Can you say “Valley of the Dolls?”
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