I think the title says it all but honestly if it weren’t for the persistent urges from friends and family to go on meds or to go back on meds, I probably wouldn’t be on them.
I think most mentally ill folks relate to this, especially those who are bipolar, either 1 or 2. Being on meds doesn’t make you feel like fine and dandy like “oh boy! I am normal now, thanks Lithium!” It makes you feel like a dulled or lesser version of yourself.
Now, mind you, this is not a cry that I am getting off my meds or that I will stop taking them because at this point I need them more than it sucks taking meds. This is simply a piece of writing where I state how I feel in hopes that someone can relate to it because I know I am not alone in these feelings.
Back to what I was saying.
I feel dulled out. Like colors aren’t as vibrant, everyone says, “HI, how are ya? Lovely weather we’re having.” and that’s it, that’s life. It’s BORING. But honestly when my life is exciting I am either in handcuffs or need to be (take that as you please). I feel like all the things in my life when I am fully medicated feel different than when I am completely off the drugs. I am still coming to terms with that being okay.
Honestly I feel like when I am off meds that I am on some type of drug, the delusions and hallucinations are so real. Smells are smellier, colors are vibrant, everything pisses me off, it’s great. But to feel that way all the time is not only physically exhausting staying up for days at a time, but it is very much so emotionally tolling. That’s just during mania. Not to mention the depressive states where everything is dull like a dull knife scraping your back ever so slightly so you feel every part of your derma getting sliced, but not enough for you to scream in pain for help. If that was too graphic I apologize but I know that will make sense to a lot of you…
I hate this expectation that I *have* to be medicated to be “high functioning” in this life. I personally have found in order for me to do well at work, school, home, and everything else, I need the meds. I don’t like people pressuring me to take my meds or ask me how my meds are going I feel like it’s ableist even when someone mentally ill is asking; almost like they are better than me.
“Hey I may be on meth or don’t take care of my kids, but at least I’m not on Prozac! HAHAHA.”
Ableism is a weird thing within itself because it mainly classifies the differences between someone who can and cannot do something. Like for example, a person who uses a wheelchair may not be able to walk on their own. The abled body can walk on their own whereas the “disabled” body cannot. Ableism is using their ability to their advantage or to make disabled folks feel bad about their inability to do something.
Then there is neurotypical ableism where some rub it in others faces, “Oh I am organic, gluten, dairy, wheat, and happiness free; never have put a drug in my body not even once because I cope by working out and meditating.”
Not to bash any of those concepts, but if you’re like that, fuck you. Second of all, to tear others down for their coping mechanisms or lack thereof doesn’t warrant you to brag about your non neuro diverse brain and make the rest of us feel bad for getting our brain chemicals synthetically. If you do actually cope using non GMO foods, working out, and meditating and it works for you, by all means! Use it. But to push your ableist agenda onto someone neuro divergent is unfathomable.
I feel like I was going strong with an idea here and I stopped writing because I got distracted at work and now it is 8:22am, just got home an hour ago. Oh yeah, I remember what I was going to write!
“High functioning” is compared to what? I hate this term as well because a lot of people have described me as high functioning bipolar and I am like compared to who? When we stop comparing ourselves to one another is the day we can start properly healing ourselves and who we are truly destined to be. Why Jack compares himself to Sally is beyond me because it’s like apples and oranges. Yes Jack and Sally are human but the comparisons stop there.
Now before someone says “high functioning is someone who takes their meds, goes to therapy, uses their coping mechanisms, etc. versus low functioning which is someone off the meds, using substances, not using coping skills, etc.” I will throw up in anger. I have been in both places in my life and levels of functioning is a spectrum, not a scale. This spectrum variates day to day and even second to second. Bipolar disorder is cyclical meaning it repeats itself and is regular. Bi is two and polar is opposite ends so if you break it down the word meaning cyclical bipolar is two states that are opposite (mania (or hypomania) and depression) repeats itself regularly. It cycles through one state and into another and back and forth it goes. The cycles vary depending on the person so they can be minute to minute and another cycle can be every three months.
I personally cycle every three to four months but within that I am a rapid cycler meaning my moods fluctuate rapidly. Currently I am in a manic state and have been in one since May or so. But because I am manic, my delusions and paranoia make my depression come out to play. Why is this relevant to the high versus low functioning debate? Gee, I am so glad you asked.
When I am suicidal, off meds, not seeking therapy, gambling a lot, sleeping excessively, sleeping around excessively, etc. that is what I would consider to be low functioning for myself and for every other human that high versus low functioning looks different. For example, Jack gets out of bed to use the bathroom instead of having an accident in his room could be Jack’s high functioning due to his severe depression. What would Jack’s low functioning be? And to compare that to my high or low functioning isn’t fair to either Jack or myself.
I think I have made some valid points in this post and I will leave you all be in just a moment. Just ponder these concepts because how we say things and what we say matters and it must be tactful what we do say to the ones we love, especially those struggling with mental health issues.
Much love to you all and as always, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I can also relate to this. I’ve been on antidepressants since my mom passed (and if I’m being truly honest I should’ve before that) and it definitely stabilized my mood-but to where I wasn’t sad or happy. I just was. Nothing really got me upset and nothing really got me excited. The meds also had a personal side effect that I didn’t think I would be concerned about but more and more I was. I stopped taking them for a while just to feel something pleasurable and I did, but the cost was quite high as the dark thoughts and images would occupy my brain. Thanks to some tweaking of my meds I seem to be not only feeling emotions and pleasure again but am also emotionally stable. In my personal case, the benefits far outweigh the negatives but I so so understand wanting, almost needing to be able to FEEL. I hope my story helps others who read this outstanding blog because as Dani says often you are all worthy and loved.
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