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To pop pills, or not to pop pills

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For the past few days I have been contemplating how my mind used to work.  Even though it's hard for me to even think right now, I still can recall certain details, like how I could remember exactly where a specific phrase or passage was on a page, or how I could focus during a lecture and relate every word to something else.  I'd make strange but sensical connections, a network of creative ideas and thoughts all spun together in an intricate web.  

I miss that so much it brings tears to my eyes.  My ability to connect and expand and embellish has been reduced to one slow thought at a time, coming so slowly that it's forgotten in a moment.  Where I could throw down an extended essay in two hours, I now struggle to write out a simple poem for a class that doesn't give grades.  I used to read my honors reading assignments swiftly and easily, and now I struggle to get through the first page.  When I listen to Debussy and Chopin and Rachmaninoff, the notes are empty and blank, sliding straight out my ears to be lost in the air.  I used to anticipate and relish each note and relate the music to something almost spiritual.  

Today I went to therapy and while talking about all of this, I suddenly realized how much it hurts me.  I have lost a huge part of myself that can only be retrieved by ceasing the meds and letting go of therapy/psychiatry.  Either way, everything feels so out of control.  If I do stay on the lithium, my brain will be a vegetable for quite some time, and I god only knows when I'll be able to function like my old self again, if ever.  Going off the lithium would present some problems--the return of the mania and depression being the major one, and losing the support of my family being the other.  I believe deeply that I would be so debilitated by the wild swings that independence would be a laughable desire.  On the other hand, though, my intellect and enthusiasm for learning would be back, at least during the highs.  Even when I am depressed I still think on a deeper level and am able to do academic work just as well.  Should I stick with the lithium, yes, it will take so much time to regain my sense of self and my cognitive strengths, but at least people around me would be happy with how I'm doing the "right thing" and "taking control" of getting better.  I live to please.  

I just don't know.  Now that I have weighed the pros and cons, the decision seems even more daunting.  I'm so stuck.  The only way for me to get a sense of my thoughts is to try and write them out, as I routinely do.  I'm worried about the future and what kind of human being I'll turn out to be.  Will I be pleasant but tragically dumb?  Will I be brilliant but exceedingly unstable?  Damn bipolar nonsense.  It's ruined my freshman year of college.  This is not how it was going to turn out!  This is not what we were planning on!  No, I am not dying of cancer or AIDS or starvation, but I'm still experiencing something I would never wish anyone else to encounter.  

Quel est la reponse??
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