Willfulness in the Face of Necessary Medication

Anxiety and frequent panic attacks have been the menu du jour for weeks, now.  I have had my Klonopin prescribed as a scheduled medication, have had the med treater add Xanax as a PRN, and have been trying various and different DBT skills.  Very little works.  It probably works a lot less, because I am not very compliant with taking three to four Klonopin per day at scheduled times, nor allowing myself to take any of the Xanax that have been prescribed.  I have tried explaining it to my therapist, the not wanting to take more and more medication, the not wanting to become a “Klonopin whore,” the not wanting to start an addiction (because life is rough enough with *just* your regular, garden-variety mental illnesses to combat every day).

This has been a “problem” for me over the years — my distaste for (what I see as) excessive use of addictive pharmaceuticals, and, in general, not wanting to let myself just be numbed out day after day.  Is it better to suffer the multiple-times-daily breakdowns, than it is to just take a wee bit of Klonopin here and there?  My brain and heart are in a battle over it.  Those who know me best, who see me on a regular basis, they plead with me just to take a Klonopin.  Why am I being so willful, over some damn Klonopin?  Just take one!  It won’t hurt!

I have had years worth of numbing myself out with various psychiatric medications, a very brief (very, very brief) relationship with marijuana in college, and a couple very short-lived love affairs with alcohol over my 35 years.  I say “No, thank you,” to all of it.  It may seem strange, like, “what Rosa, you don’t want to get some peace?  Even your med provider thinks it is a good idea!” but it is a different scenario in my mind.  I will never go back to alcohol, to marijuana, to popping this pill and that in the hopes that I will get a bit of relief.  I never let it get to a point where it destroys my life, but I have seen so many other lives destroyed by chemical dependency, and so it is very easy for me to say, “no, not for me.”

Could I just take a little bit of Klonopin here, a tiny nibble of Xanax there, and be just fine?  Yes, probably so.  I have a hard time justifying my refusal to take medications that are prescribed to me, and I revealed to my therapist this week that, really, what is behind this refusal to take medications is the thought, the feeling, that maybe I don’t feel I should be taking ANY medications.  Maybe I don’t really have bipolar disorder, maybe I can be one of those people with bipolar disorder that does not NEED medication, but can manage things with a strict schedule and diet and exercise and meditation.  Maybe I am meant to be medication-free.

At the exact moment these words come to my mouth, I know they are untrue.  I quickly scan through the years that I tried just that, to treat my bipolar disorder without medication, and just how very dangerous it was for me.  How many terrible situations I landed myself in, how I barely made it through living in the big city alive, how I hardly escaped not one but multiple abusive relationships, how the thoughts of wanting to die and dancing on the edge of the Earth with death and Satan, himself, were a daily occurrence.

So, yes, I am prescribed quite the boatload of psychotropic medication.  I don’t want to take it, but I will keep doing so because I know in the wisest part of wise mind, that it is that medication that is making me “stable enough” to exist as I am.  I will think some more about the Klonopin and the Xanax, and eventually the daily breakdowns will become too exhausting to continue, and I might try taking some.  I won’t like it, and I will worry that I am doping myself into a corner, about becoming a Klonopin-whore  but it is quite possible that a little bit of Klonopin and Xanax thrown down my gullet on a semi-regular basis will decrease the multiple daily breakdowns, and that is something that needs to happen.

mistake

 

 

Thoughtful Tuesdays

inspirational-quotes-you-were-given-this-life

I don’t know how many times, in the throes of depression or in the midst of a severe mixed state, I have felt like there was no way I could get through another minute.  That it was all too much to handle and it would never get better.  Turns out I have a 100% success rate at getting through those times, and it’s now, when I’m feeling decent, that I can look back and reflect on those hard times and know that I am strong enough to weather the toughest storm.

I think, while knowing that I can handle the bad times, it is important to validate that, during the hard times, it really DOES feel like I won’t be able to manage a minute more.  It is easier when one is feeling well to realize that feelings aren’t always reality, even though it seems that way.  If only there was a way to remember this when things get bad, I might be able to cure myself, or perhaps make it at least a bit easier to handle.

For me, the remembering comes with words.  Written words.  If the current “Rose is okay” could write the “Rose is depressed” a letter, maybe someone in Rose’s life could talk her into reading it when she feels bad.  In a way, that’s what this blog is: hopeful letters to Rose for when she feels badly, and raw and honest letters to Rose for when she forgets how bad things can get.  Because, while it is a beautiful thing to be momentarily stable, it is essential to remember that, without things like medication or routine or schedule or time to process, that stability is not possible.

 

 

Cutting through the Bullshit

So, as posted yesterday, I’ve been feeling a bit off.  I blamed it on the weather, and that probably has a lot to do with it.  DSB did point out, however, that it has been sunny, even with the snow and ice and cold.  He does have a point.

I don’t like to use my sunlamp a lot because it can push me into a manic phase very quickly.  I only use it on dark and gloomy days and only September through the end of March.  I have never been instructed by a doctor or therapist on how to use the sunlamp, but have figured out through trial and error what works best for me.  Sometimes that is the best way to figure things out, trial and error (others, it is obviously not!). 

DSB pointed something else out when I was speaking with him about feeling “off” yesterday.  I have stopped taking my Ritalin as prescribed.  I am supposed to take it morning, noon, and early afternoon.  Within the last month, I’d say I’ve probably missed two out of every three doses.  

I just felt like I didn’t need it anymore, at the time.  Aren’t our bipolar brains effed that way?  “Oh, all is well.  Guess I don’t need that one anymore!”  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Of course, I didn’t talk with anyone about it, just kind of snuck around, not taking it, thinking no one would notice.  Well of course DSB noticed.  He notices everything!  As soon as I mentioned to him that I wasn’t feeling myself, he brought it up.  So busted.

So, I have made myself a promise.  I am going to get back on the Ritalin full-time and see how things go.  I don’t have an appointment with my psychiatrist for another two and half months, but I can always get in sooner if need be.  

It probably doesn’t help that I haven’t been in therapy for almost a month now, due to weather conditions mostly.  We are due another 8″-12″ starting this afternoon, and my appointment is tomorrow afternoon, nearly 45 minutes away.  I called her this morning and told her that I may need to cancel and she asked that I call her in the morning, saying that she didn’t know if she would even be coming in tomorrow yet.

I am feeling better today, after an in-depth talk with DSB and motivating myself to clean my disaster of a kitchen last night.  Today I’ve mostly just been spending time with DSB and doing a little laundry.  I plan on making spaghetti for dinner tonight and watching some Hulu with my better half.  I might even go crazy and take a shower, or use some other self-soothe skill. Skills coming on strong now, radically accepting that I can’t BS DSB about medication compliiance and, of course, the 8″-12″ of snow that’s coming.