It hasn’t been long since I started my journey to mental health recovery. In fact, I officially started just this past June, but I began dipping my feet into the world of psychiatric care about a year ago. Damn, has it been one hell of a year.
First of all, let me say recovery from a mental health issue isn’t always something that’s permanent nor a cure. Sure, in some cases, someone may find a cure and their depression can go away. Yet, this is not the case for a lot of us.
For us, recovery means fighting a constant battle. It means waking up every day knowing while you’re still sick, you actively choose to not let it win. Recovery isn’t linear, either. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes, it stays level. Some days, recovery looks like applying for jobs and cleaning. Other days, it looks like lying in bed and Netflix binge-watching. It’s all OK as long as we survive.
Right now, I’m in an “up” place in my recovery. Thank God. Although, I’m not too sure I can trust it to be honest. I don’t know if it’s because of my medication, an effect of a new relationship or if I’m in a hypomania state. I can’t tell you 100 percent which one it is.
I can tell you this:
Two weeks ago, I contemplated suicide.
Two weeks ago, I had to spend time with my new boyfriend almost every night to make sure I stayed alive. (He doesn’t know that.)
Two weeks ago, I was on the wrong medication.
Let me tell you a little bit about being on the wrong medication for bipolar ll disorder. It’s hell. The first few days, it worked wonderfully. I was as productive and energetic as ever. It was a miracle. I felt like myself from more than a decade ago. Then, it took it all away. As my dose went up, my emotions went down. I became numb. The only time I could feel was when I was with my soon-to-be boyfriend, and I knew that was not healthy for us.
It took away my will to live. It took away my joy and my logical thoughts. I wanted to self-harm, but I didn’t. I wanted to die, but I didn’t. In the evenings, I’d get so depressed I couldn’t get off my sofa. I found myself wanting to go to bed at 5 p.m.
I wasn’t me. I could see this person I was, this person I didn’t know. I didn’t like her very much. She was dependent, lonely and afraid. I was afraid for her.
Moreover, one of the side effects was a low sex drive. I’ll admit that ain’t me normally. It drove me bonkers. I had this new boyfriend, but I didn’t want him to touch me. I didn’t want to be intimate with him. I couldn’t feel any emotions between us. I felt like I was just there. This, along with the other downfalls of it all, continued for a few days after stopping the medication.
Now, I can breathe. Honestly, I’m in total shock as I sit here and write this. Not only do I have my ever so lovely sex drive back, but I can feel emotion again, even when I’m alone! This in itself is amazing to me. I’m finally on the right medication.
All it took was a change in my antipsychotic medication and a change in one of my stimulants. I take the antipsychotic medication before bed and the stimulant in the afternoons. My evening depression is gone! Normally, all I can do is lie on my sofa feeling sorry for myself about being physically alone.
Tonight, everything changed. Not only am I able to write this, but I’ve been cleaning. Actually cleaning as in organizing, making piles and cleaning! I’m happy! I’m alone, and I’m content. My boyfriend isn’t staying over tonight and that’s OK. I’m OK. I’ll be able to go to sleep with a smile on my face.
Wow, I’m OK. That’s the first time I’ve meant that in years. I’m OK. Damn, that’s nice to say.
For anyone struggling to find the right medication, hang in there. Trust me. Once you find it, you’ll know how worth it it was. It’s so worth it to be able to function by yourself. To not have to beg your best friend to kick you in the ass or give you a pep talk. To not have to pout and ask your boyfriend to spend time with you to get you out of your own mind. It’s truly refreshing to be able to breathe and say, I’m OK.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
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