Just about four years ago I wrote “Sin and Effexor: what drugs do to my sanctification“. I was diagnosed with bipolar II right around this time. since writing that post, I have been on and off medication (mostly off… hooray for expensive medication and no insurance). I am about to start taking medication again, and I am finding a mixture of trepidation, fear, relief, and apathy sitting in my chest.
I fear that the medication will alter me, change the way I understand, see, think, and some fundamental part of me will go away. This is the same fear I had first time I began taking medication. It didn’t happen then, and it most likely won’t happen now… but still that fear is there.
I worry that the medication won’t work this go around. I got really lucky before, and the first medication I tried worked for me. I had to change the dosage at times, but the drugs worked, correcting the chemical imbalance I have and helping me deal with life better. What if they are ineffective now? What if I have to play “try and see” with a bunch of medications? What if nothing works any more?
At the same time, I find relief in the thought of getting back onto the medicine that I need. It is exhausting trying to constantly fight depression while worrying that your good days will begin to swing into hypo-mania. Trying to fight your own condition, fighting to find mental and emotional healthy is damn hard.
And of course, my good friend apathy is along for the ride. Will any of this really do any good? Does it really matter?
This whirl wind of thought, feeling, and emotion is exhausting. It eats at my ability to be be the father and husband I want to be; it saps my creative sparks, killing the writer before I even attempt to practice the craft; it erodes my sense of self, worth, and identity, leaving me unsure of everything about my self; it dries up my faith, isolating me from community and in many ways from God himself.
At least this is how it all feels.
I’m sure some logical person could come in and debunk every feeling statement I have just written, but, this is not a logical condition. Bipolar by definition is a disorder of the mood, a chemical imbalance in my head that changes the weight, light, and beat of my heart. Logic has nothing on these moods. I’m hoping that medication will give me the crutch I need to dig deep and do this writing work I feel in my bones. I’m praying the drugs will help open this box I feel in my heart so I can be for my family better. I’m wishing with all my might that the medication can continue to be part of my sanctification, to open this chest up so I can be in some sort of path of grace, and that I may not feel so isolated from my God.
Drugs are not the solution to my condition. I have to be careful not to put all my hope in just a little pill of medicine. Jesus is my hope; and he works in ordinary ways. Still, there is a kind of great hope in the idea of getting a bottle of pills, in taking my medicine, in maybe learning to feel good again.