Welcome to 2012.
[I despise New Years. The sentimental reflection, the faux cheer, the drunken parties. New Years, like Christmas, is rife with insincerity. I despise all of it and everything it stands for. Except for the fireworks. Who doesn’t love to blow shit up?]
The ending week of my 2011 was certainly dramatic. A geriatric family member’s serious injury, a possible new house, another family member’s death. Did no one tell the Fates that foisting just one of these events on a Bipolar person is asking for it?
I’ve known for several months now the medication is working and I am in a remission. I’ve been pretty proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish with my head screwed on straight, and would never, ever consider going off my meds. But if I said I wasn’t looking over my shoulder every second for the Black Dog or the mania monster, then I’d be lying. Because I am. I thought the last week of 2011 would knock me off-balance from treading that fine line of remission. It didn’t. Rather than lose it over one of the three major life events that happened, the only thing that made me cry just a bit was watching a movie I used to watch with my mother. It made me miss her.
So, the question emerged: is effectively just carrying on without feeling strong emotions after a week full of upheaval really what remission is all about?
I’ve read stories of BPs who are in or have experienced a remission while on their meds. These people all stayed on their meds during remission, too, some with a success interval of ten years. Ten years. An entire decade. Feeling ‘flat’ while on antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics is not uncommon. But is it normal to feel more emotion over your lack thereof than over an event that would illicit a response from a five-year old?
I was beginning to think not.
Although I will never quit my meds, I do finally understand why some choose to do so in order to feel something again. After all, what is the human experience without the emotion?
Conversely, that’s not really a fair question to ask a person whose emotions and moods can kill them.
Lastly, I started thinking about the dark side of Bipolar. The hospital. The last time I wanted it to just all be over. The last batch of psychotic thoughts. The last mania. The last round of bad behavior that deeply hurt those around me.
Sitting at my kitchen table, sipping my decaf, reading all the news about the latest horrors in the world, I decided it would be best for all those involved – myself, my family and even my dogs – if I just continued to walk that fine line of remission and make peace with the fact that severely diluted emotions is the price for the illusion of sanity.
Besides, there’s an up side to all of this as well. I was able to visit a relative in the hospital. I didn’t lose it when I found out about another relative’s passing. And I am able to reason with clarity about choosing the location I will spend the next 10 years of my life in. So what if my tears don’t come when others expect them. It gives the impression I am completely composed. Little do people know what’s really at the core of my outward composure is being eternally grateful in the inside I am not having to deal with any of this from the confines of a hospital or are too drugged out to deal with anything at all.