I prefer to call them mood stabalisers as people are less afraid of you then. They are not sedatives, but reduce the level of Dopamine in your brain, which apparently, slows you down. It was a horrid rock versus hard place choice when I was told that this type of medication was now to be my best friend. The up side, they tell me, is that I will no longer be off with the fairies, the rushy thinking and confusion will cease and I will, once again, be sane. The down side is that I'll have side effects. As I've said before, these include weight gain, dry mouth, involuntary twitches, sluggishness. I'm going to be a fat, shuddering, half asleep , slightly less mental, shadow of my former self. I am deeply resentful of my new illness and have a bit of a strop.
A wise person once told me accepting it doesn't mean you have to like it. And I don't like it. I remember a few years ago, being so anti medication that I used to use self will and defiance to get through depressive episodes. When it started to get worse, I actually accepted anti-depressants but had to take them with a friend sitting with me, as I was so terrified of what it might do to me. And now here I am approximately 7 years later, loading up with all kinds of voodoo magic, dizzy pills and the like, and I don't really have a choice. Well, that isn't the absolute truth, but if I refused medication, I may well have ended up somewhere far, far away in body and mind.
So I take my prescription to the local pharmacist, and as I hand it to him, he looks a little uncomfortable and states that, "We don't keep this medication, but I can order it in for you for delivery tomorrow?" Now I feel really mentally ill and in need of special medication. A lovely lady arrives at the house the next morning, and hands me over the little white bag , and I read the horrible leaflet inside and dread having to take it. This is a rock bottom. I wish I were someone else, not mentally ill, and not about to take scary tablets.
Everyone is in bed, and I sit with the magic tablets in my hand. Its very "Alice in wonderland" and I do feel that I'm about to travel down the rabbit hole. So I pop them in and wait. 30 minutes in and I feel woozy and most disconcerting of all is that my right arm suddenly starts jumping up and down on its own. I'm a partial marionette. Its springing about uncontrollably and I look like a deranged break dancer. I'm also feeling sluggish and droopy eyed, but I cannot sleep as the alien arm is dancing to its own tune. I actually end up laying on it to stop it moving whilst trying to keep my eyes open and watch a DVD. It's all a bit zombie town.
Finally I'm so zonked I pass out.
When I wake up in the morning, I feel like I've been hit over the head with a badger, and someone has poured sand down my throat. It takes several extremely strong coffees to bring me back to normality and I cannot think straight for love nor money. I have a good chat with my CPN the following week, and apparently, I am now thinking at the speed of normal people. I have one thought at a time, or no thoughts at all. Also, I have the dawning realisation that I am sleeping all night long with no hideous nightmares. After 4 years of disturbed sleep, I can finally sleep like a baby.
Over the 6 week suicidal period and slow introduction to scarily heavy duty medication, I do actually start to feel better. What I have also started to come to terms with is the fact that I am no longer the girl I was, and my internal landscape has had a mental horticultural overhaul. What was once overgrown, slightly chaotic and and rather magical, is now a lawn, some daffodils and a patio. Without wanting to sound dramatic or masochistic, I miss the old garden. When you spend a large amount of time in a maelstrom, you understand it and the devastation that can come with it. Its a roller coaster ride - frightening but exhilarating at the same time.
Welcome to life in the slowly spinning tea cups.