Sunday, February 14, 2016

Coming Down: The Inevitable Normalization from Medication

"You know, there are just those unavoidable coworkers who are complete...lunatics."

I casually listened in on a conversation between two women before the start of yoga class. They were talking about some book they'd read and how some people in the workplace are just, you know, crazy

As I struggled through my downward dogs and "oms" I thought about the vernacular for "crazy people." Psychos, lunatics, fruitloops, screws loose in the head...I wondered if people out there knew that us "crazies" are some of the most in-touch, in-tune-with-oneself human beings out there. Why? Because people with mental illness need to constantly be on the lookout for signs in their thoughts and behavior that something might be amiss.

When you have a bacteria imbalance in your gut, you end up knowing more about your gut. When you have a structural imbalance in your back, you end up knowing more about your back. And when you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, you end up knowing more about your brain. 

For the past several days I have been taking more Lithium and I can feel it. It has leveled the highs and also leveled the lows. This is exactly what is supposed to happen. The increase in meds is meant to dampen the highs and lift up the lows. It is a good thing, I know, but it is also sort of...disappointing? I don't know. One of the reasons people with Bipolar Disorder go off their meds is because they cannot stand the inevitable normalizing of their brain activity. They do not want to join the ranks of "normal" people leading normal lives. Because, where's the creativity in that? (that's the impaired logic).

It can be exciting to wake up to a day of possibility and super human energy. It can be terrifying to wake up to a day of despair and human agony. But, when you go on (or up your) meds, you eventually just wake up to...a day. 

"You have to come back down, you have to be an adult. Adult life is just not as happy as you are, it's not real."

That's what my miserably mean psychiatrist at Abbot told me years ago. "Life is just not as happy as you are." It was an awful concept; that I was trapped in a dream that wasn't real and I was going to be pumped with drugs until I came back down and submitted to "reality" (whatever that is).

Today has been just...a day. Not high, not low. Just kind of in-between. I'm kind of listless and maybe a little bit nostalgic of my psychedelic snowman. He now sits in the yard with two fallen clementine eyes and a frozen celery stick arm, his rainbow colors all but faded away.

It's not that "normal" life is so bad, it's just that...manic highs, when the Red Dragon comes out to romp around in the snow and play with me, are so full of possibility. You really DO feel like you could be a celebrity, or an astronaut, or channeling the spirit of your departed father. But when the Blue Dragon is present she truly is a downer. You really DO believe that life is over and that you've made irreversible mistakes and that you have no idea how to spend 50+ more years of life on earth.

And so, here I am. Back on Planet Earth. Waking up to a day and brushing my teeth and looking for jobs and making plans with friends. Going to the gym not because I need to burn off manic fuel but because going to the gym is good for me. Making art not because I'm answering an impulsive Dragon drive to do so but because making art is enjoyable for me. 

I watch the snow swirl around and I remember how (when Red) it looked so beautiful I wanted to film it to a soundtrack. I watch the snow swirl around and I remember how (when Blue) it reminded me of death. 

I watch the snow swirl around and now I think it's pretty and I better be careful while driving. 

Calmly (and somewhat boringly) wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day,



  1. FranklinLarry Commune. Who's with me!
    (Love you honey)

  2. Hard to come down... I hope you can find yourself in the middle. creativity has not left you and there still is joy in living!! 💚💜