#1 on the list (and also glitter)

Every once in a while I type “bipolar disorder” into the Google news search box to see if there are any new articles or research findings that might interest me.  This occasionally goes well and occasionally goes poorly…proceed with caution if you ever do this.  There are a lot of articles I probably should have left unread.

One caught my eye the other day – it was called something like “How to Best Help Your Spouse or Loved Ones if You Have Bipolar Disorder.”  CLICK – I needed to read this one.  My husband is an absolute star, and I would like to make his life as easy as possible.  I know I’m the one with the disorder, but trust me when I tell you that it’s a team effort to deal with it.  He might as well have it too.

I clicked on the article, and I don’t remember much of what it said because I was so annoyed/struck by item #1.  The #1 item on the list was simply and impossibly this: “Take all of your medications.”

That should be easy.  That should be so easy.  That should be, “Quick, let’s move on to #2 because #1 was so ridiculously obvious and unhelpful.”  Unfortunately, my mind immediately flashed to the night before:  Andy was getting settled into bed, our dog was already asleep where my feet were supposed to go, and Andy said, “You took your pills tonight, right?”  I responded with, “Some of them.  I don’t think I need all of them today.  I’m gonna give it a try.  I might be doing better.”

Andy knew it was pointless to argue with me. He can’t force me to take my pills, and when I’ve made my mind up about something, it’s extremely hard to change it.  He just gave me a look of disappointment, sighed, and let his head drop to his pillow.  I pulled my knees to my chest and wished he could realize that I really didn’t need them.  That this time I would be fine.  Really.

I’m not sure why I do this.  When I’m thinking rationally, it’s completely obvious that I need to take my medications.  For some reason, though, occasionally I simply…don’t take them.  This is apparently a common struggle for many people with bipolar disorder, and it’s one I need to get over in order to accomplish the NUMBER ONE ITEM on “how to help my loved one.”

I don’t know why I do it.  I know I’m not healthy.  I know I probably never will be.  I guess I can’t shake this tiny glimmer of hope that one day I won’t need medications anymore.  It’s a tiny glimmer.  It’s sort of like when someone has one solitary piece of glitter on their face and you’re like, “Hey, there’s a sparkle on your face.  Let me get it off for you…no wait, I lost it…turn your head a second…there it is!  Let me just…oh dang.  Lost it again.” (Has this happened to anyone else?  I feel like I come into contact with more glitter than the average human, so maybe that’s just me).  But that’s how tiny the glimmer is.  I can’t get rid of it.

Every once in a while there’s some random article like “I cured my own mental illness by spending a month eating nothing but kale and wheat germ!”  Then I immediately yell, “ANDY?  WHERE CAN WE BUY KALE IN BULK?” while I simultaneously Google “What is wheat germ?”   Or I’ll read some medical journal and then suddenly find myself buying copious amounts of vitamins because everyone knows that enough vitamins D and C and B12 cure bipolar disorder, right?  I mean, RIGHT?!

Um, no.  They don’t.  Neither, I’m sorry to inform you, does kale and/or wheat germ.

I’m still not entirely sure what wheat germ even is if I’m being honest.  I didn’t try it.

You know what’s scientifically proven to cure bipolar disorder?  Nothing.  That’s what.

Although there isn’t a cure (yet), certain drugs make this condition much more livable for everyone involved.  That’s why taking said drugs is #1 on the list of how I can help my family.  That’s why I need to actually take my pills.  I’m not all better because I have a good day.  I’m not going to wake up one day and be suddenly and magically un-bipolar.

I mean, probably not.  It could happen…theoretically…  (Wait – did you see that sparkle?  I saw it a minute!  No, wait…lost it.)

It’s time to get the glitter out of my eye so I can see this for what it really is.  Sometimes life isn’t sparkly.  Sometimes it’s taking just-one-more pill, even if I don’t want to, because it’s the #1 thing I can do to help myself and my husband right now.

3 thoughts on “#1 on the list (and also glitter)

  1. When I went off all my meds, I did it under my shrink’s care. It took almost 3 months, and STILL my symptoms were some of the worst I’d ever had. But we knew that would happen. That’s what’s expected with a *controlled* psychotropic change. Blood levels have to be changed slowly to let the brain chemistry adapt.

    Stopping a psychotropic cold turkey is like Super-Sizing every symptom you’ve ever had. Stopping and starting? Get out the chips, because your brain is now guacamole.

    I get why people do it. It’s that weird condition of having no insight when we most need it. Those delusions seem like perfect sense. I don’t need this medication—I’m fine. I want control over my life again—I’ll throw my pills away.

    There’s a reason it’s #1 on the list.


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