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My twisted confession..


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I have read hundreds of posts in the past couple weeks since joining CB. 

They run the spectrum of spectrums through emotions from inspiration to desperation. I find a great deal of encouragement, guidance, and wisdom within the various boards. 

But, the recurring theme is that, once a person does their part to stabilize their environment, or minimize the triggering mechanisms, medication is the missing piece towards ensuring self-preservation (recovery), and if the symptoms persist, changing, altering, adding, or modifying prescriptions and dosages will be the remedy.

But, where does that leave a person who desperately needs the pharmaceutical life-preserver, but has run out of patience with the politics, the needless posturing, the erasure of my complete identity, the abandonment of my core beliefs, and the end of my career that would all follow the instant I walked through the first door to begin the process of finding stability within this madness. 

I work in a very highly regulated profession.

There is not a single medication that I can take that would enable me to continue at my workplace. By being self-employed and contracted, I am not protected by FMLA statutes or all of those wonderful perks that protect employees against medical or disability discrimination.

I absolutely love my job. This job allows me to earn a very decent living, very much out of the public eye, minimal human interaction, and ample opportunity to relax.. and just think everything through. Minimal stress. Minimal panic. Manageable external liabilities. I make the decisions. I have a great deal of control over every aspect of my occupational demands. I am very efficient and productive within my field when compared to my peers. 

Without this job to keep my sanity glued together, I don't want to even imagine what my life would digress into. 

I suspect it would rewind to 15 years ago, in and out of hospitals, being a disappointment to family, lost in the abyss of assuming the ever-changing identity of the chemical characteristics for the cocktail trial of the month. I played that game for 3 solid years. 

Several suicide attempts while drifting through stress-induced mania and some really nasty psychosis. Woke up in the hospital and was shocked to hear what I had done. I have been sober my entire life. The lengthy pattern of behaviors and actions (and my denial of it all) could not have been any more obvious. And then.. my brain just melted.

The positive symptoms (and subsequent diagnosis) changed faster than the psychologists could write them down. From week to week, it was the same person walking through their door every time, but every time I got asked the same question, without lying, the answers always changed. 

The doctors were left trying to thread a needle, blindfolded, while holding a bowling ball on both hands, while bouncing on a trampoline. 

So, I quit believing in them. I did what I do best, burned that bridge.. and mustered up the willpower to fight through it all. Alone. I disappeared, started over with nothing and reinvented myself 1000 miles away. I avoided all the cleverly disguised trap doors that would lead me backdown that path to madness.

But, the hand of that demon has found me again and it's pulling at my shoulder.. I have been running so fast for so long. It's exhausting. And, the realization that I have been on a treadmill for 15 years is beyond demoralizing. The entire time, I had myself convinced that I was actually getting somewhere.

I cant leave this job. I won't. My sanity depends on self-sufficiency. My future depends on shaking free of this demon.

The easy answer is to fall back and land safely on my (non-existent) support system. Take a break. Let (non-existent) family care for me. Have (non-existent) insurance refer me to (non-existent) specialists who deal with those in my position and reintegrate myself back into society to be a zombie holed up in a halfway house, standing behind a workplace counter counting change somewhere or finding random boxes on a storage rack or holding a cardboard sign while talking to shadows for a living. I wouldn't last a day without.. let's not go there.. 

So, where does that leave me? 

Tough confessional, right? So, I will drop this one here and see what comes of it. 

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A side effect is said to be something unexpected, unpleasant, and undesirable. 

With the many different variations of medications for the few years of tweaking things, I had many side effects.

I didn't mind the shaky hands. I didn't mind the way my face would twitch. I didn't mind the feeling that I had a lizard skittering up my spine and across my shoulders. I didn't mind the nausea. I didn't mind having to constantly be mindful of my weight because therapeutic dosages are a fraction away from toxic dosages.

But, I would involuntarily grind my teeth until they shattered. And, that one bothered me.

The worst side effect for me was complete disassaciation. Were my actions my own? Or was I doing what the medication was making me do? Was it the illness? Would I do this if I was normal, not crazy, and not medicated? I got so wrapped up in that line of thinking. Why couldn't I just have a normal life?

I am extremely independent and about the most stubborn person in the world. After I found a way to cope with, or begin to accept, the events had stressed me into this madness.. The last thing I ever want to feel is like I am a puppet dangling from the strings of the person writing the prescriptions. 

Yes. I know they are there to help. Yes. I know I desperately needed the help. Yes. I know that the illness is a monster that is the absolute champion of string pulling. Yes. I know I could have done more at the time to be more proactive in my treatment. Yes. Tons of people have found ways to have medication make a positive impact on their lives.

I lost patience with it. So, yes.. I know I will eventually have to admit defeat and have those fine professionals work their magic to glue together the pieces.. again.

But, years ago, I had to make a decision. 

Is it better to be naturally crazy than to be artificially sane? 

Instead of accepting the diagnosis, I rebelled against the professional establishment and beat the odds of what the typical outcome of my diagnosis is. Crazy manic logic.. if none of the medication is making me better, the diagnosis must be wrong!? Bandaids don't fix broken bones.

Now, that same logic is flawed and folds back on itself? If I seek help, it will come at the expense of losing the career that has provided my sanity for the last decade. There is no social support system. My decisions have ultimately resulted in my life withering away. Relationships have proven to be a liability the illness loves to exploit. This job is all I have.

So, instead of living that dream of hanging out enjoying the companionship of friends and family while doped into an alternate clone of myself, I guess I just keep running.. because this madness leaves me no other options?

Maybe I am just hoping that somebody else can see something in this that I am overlooking? Is that why I am writing here?

Age typically isn't very kind to those of us who have had our brain chemicals scrambled. I live in a constant anxiety that if I ever slid backwards into mental hell again, I won't return to being a productive, functioning (happily detached) member of society.

So, in true bipolar fashion, I stay both vigilant and stubborn, distracting myself from temptations provoking me to fall off track and fighting the urge to just give up.

Instead of perpetually being stuck in this mixed episode of self-imposed insanity, perhaps I should just be grateful for whatever it is that I have and stop fretting over things lost that can never be replaced or events that haven't yet come? 



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