I’ve been put on lithium after being told by my psychiatrist, let’s call him Doc now, that my bipolar has brought me to the edge of psychosis and that I am at real risk of becoming completely manic. I become very upset at hearing that I have to go back on the dreaded lithium, the last time I tried it I plummeted into a dark and desperate depression. I was not able to function. Rob became my carer, there is no exaggeration there. Rob had to do everything for me. I was not able to take care of myself. I couldn’t shower, clean, I could barely work, and there were endless sick days. I wanted to die, I just didn’t have the energy or will to do the job. If I didn’t have rob looking after me every day I wouldn’t be here today, and I truly believe that. I was depressed for over a year. I’m not ready to go back to that.
I ask him several times if I will lose this high or my creativity. I only got out of the depression about a month or two ago. “We need to get your lithium dose right before we break for Christmas. I don’t want to lose any time. We don’t want you to end up in hospital.” It can’t be that bad. I leave his office furious. I absolutely hate everything. I feel betrayed by the world and the powers that be. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I can stay high and not go insane. How does he know for sure that I will have to be hospitalised with lithium?
I share my fears with Rob and he reminds me that I may not fall into a depression as did the Doc. The Doc thinks I was heading for a depression after being high for so long. I plead with Rob and ask him if I can hold off starting lithium for a few days, he agrees. Can I hold off forever? I ask. He laughs and ever so gently says “That’s a little bit longer than a few days.” I ask him countless times If he would start taking them right away. We both agree that if I am going to take them anyway I might as well start now.
Today is the second day since being on lithium and I’ve been struggling to stay awake. Today I had a large can of red bull followed by a small can of red bull. I’m trialing Ritalin again to see if I can bring back some focus and concentration to my work. Even after all of that I can’t keep my eyes open. As the day goes on and my caffeine and Ritalin so quickly wear off I am slowly becoming fuzzier. I can’t focus but it’s different to the symptoms of late. My brain feels empty. It’s quiet in my mind, too quiet. I know this fog is temporary, at least I hope it is. I feel sick when I eat and the muscles in my legs ache, they feel so heavy and leaden, even walking is difficult today.
I know the importance of me taking my medication strictly. I know it keeps me from losing my mind, it keeps me alive. I know that it is exactly the same as taking medication for diabetes or any other physical illness but at the same time I don’t believe that. I know that others don’t believe it either. I know it is saving me but I cannot accept the fact that I have to be on medication long term, maybe for the rest of my life. I can never accept that which is why I always take myself off my medication when I’m feeling better or decide that I am sick of being on it at all. I struggle to come to terms with the fact that I need this medication just to exist somewhat normally. At the moment I am highly functioning but I also know that it is just a matter of time until I lose my grip on reality and my sanity. I also know that my mental illness affects others, especially my loving husband. I know that I need to be better for him. So once again I commit to lithium, I know I may not stay on them but I am going to try.