Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One pill makes you larger...

But I take the ones that make you small. Smaller in your head, that is.

I remember the day when I realised that psychiatrists are called "shrinks" because their job is to shrink your thoughts back into a reasonable approximation of normalcy. And I thought at the time that was a bad thing. Well, 20-odd years and several nervous breakdowns later, I don't agree with my younger self.

The thing is, I thought I couldn't be myself, have my same point of view, without the pain. I thought the pain was integral to the experience. And maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have formed some of the thoughts I have, or formed them so early, without hurting. I can never know that, though.

So I believed you couldn't have passion without pain. And I resisted a lot of medication therapy because of that, for a great many years. Then I got tired. And I thought, I can't live like this anymore. And I went to see the headshrinker. Maybe it's a good thing I resisted medication for so long, because medication is a LOT better and a LOT more effective than it used to be. Still, I have to take a lot of pills. I have the little yellow pill, and the tiny pale lavender pill (it's almost white, but I think it's lavender anyway), four of the orange tablets and two of the orange capsules and one big brown tablet (but that's a vitamin so maybe it doesn't count) every day. Just to get me close to what other people think of as normal.

I think about this every day when I take these pills. I think about what that means about me. Something? Nothing? Is the distinction between neurotic and psychotic really meaningless? Or does it prove a point that after years and years of being told I was making stuff up and I could stop if I wanted, after years and years of practicing all the therapeutic techniques in the world--think positive, don't take things personally, be here now, and others too many to name--the bad voices still didn't go away. I could erect a wall against them, but I felt them pounding at it every minute.

the pounding is still there, but it's softer now. And I'm grateful for that.

And I've found that my thoughts haven't changed. My point of view hasn't changed. I am still the same person, just a saner version. I can go downtown and check the mail without thinking everyone is talking about me and pointing at me. I can carry on a conversation without getting distracted by stray thoughts or stuff going on around me. I can go to a party. I can take pride in my appearance. These are things I could not do before. I could pretend to do them, and I got so good at pretending that you'd never know I had a problem. But when the pretense broke down...

I think this saner me is okay, but it's still weird to think of "saner" as a word that I need to apply to myself. When you think the weird stuff is normal--that's just your life and you have to adjust somehow--it's funny when you pop back into a less weird reality. And have perspective on just how weird it was. I don't know if I'll ever get used to that part.

Well, it's time for my morning meds...

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