Regimented to the extreme

After my manic episode nearly ten years ago, I went to an outpatient facility for a few weeks. My prick of a psychiatrist discharged me without first consulting my parents. I was nineteen, so legally an adult. However, I behaved like an eight-year-old at best in the aftermath of my psychotic break.

I had no love lost for this asshole of a doctor, so I sought someone different. I went with Dr. Q. He came highly recommended by a therapist my parents wanted me to see (I never liked her).

I loved Dr. Q, though. I vividly remember my first appointment with him when he told me if I stopped taking my medicine, I would start where my last episode ended. There wouldn’t be a buildup. The psychosis would return and it would be hell from the start. Maybe he was speaking in hyperbole, maybe he wasn’t. I’ve chosen to take my medicine as if what he said is true.

At first, I hated the idea of taking medicine. My parents were firm about it, and since my psychosis made me eight again, I was relatively compliant. I whined about it sometimes, making an unnecessary fuss, even though I knew I’d take it.

It took me a couple years to accept the idea I’ll be taking medication my whole life. I’m fine with it now. I couldn’t care less. I’ve seen what it does for me, and I take it religiously. I’ve accidentally forgotten it a couple times, and that is never fun.

Still, I sometimes wonder what I’d be like without it. Several years ago, my health insurance was such I had to manually order refills, and I waited a tad too long to refill my antipsychotic. I had to ration it, taking only half the prescribed dose. Those few days were not fun. My fuse disappeared and I constantly felt enraged. This little taste of what I’m like unmedicated cured me of curiosity.

A couple years ago, after a particularly emotional day, I went to bed and had a weird night of sleep. I woke up and got ready to run with my dog, and I felt terrible. Empty, hollow, famished. I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before (something unheard of), which means I didn’t take my antipsychotic. I went on a short run, and I thought I was dying. I called into work and stayed in bed all day. My symptoms were similar to what someone experiencing withdrawals goes through—though probably not as drastic. I was sweating and freezing at the same time. I had tremors and a migraine all day. Yet another reason to stay on my medicine.

I’m religious about taking both of my medications. Scratch that, I’m anal retentive when it comes to my medicine. I know roughly what time I need to take the antipsychotic in order to go to bed at a decent hour. If I have to wake up early the next morning, I like taking my medicine by 6:00, 6:30 at the latest.

I cannot tell you how many fights and tiffs I’ve gotten into with my family over this. If I feel like my bedtime will be ruined because of a late dinner, I will just do my own thing. Or, I will not so kindly suggest we eat As Soon As Possible. Even if I’ve taken my medicine, if something keeps me from voluntarily going to bed, I become irritable and testy.

The other night, my parents picked me up and we went over to my brother’s house for dinner with his wife and her family. I don’t think I had to get up early, and I still wished I’d driven myself. We were finally set to leave around 8:30 or 9:00 (past my bedtime—which I was okay with, for the most part). My sister-in-law’s dad had parked in such a way my parents could not get out of the driveway until he moved his car. It didn’t take long, yet I still grew impatient.

I live ten minutes away from my brother. My dad accidentally got into a turn lane before he was supposed to, which delayed us five or ten minutes. I became irritable, and I got a bit of an attitude. I figured it wasn’t worth making a big scene, so I kept my mouth shut for the most part. I think I said something snarky, and my parents just ignored me—the best approach when I’m grumpy.

I got home and went straight to bed. Ironically, I didn’t fall asleep for another two hours, so it didn’t matter what time I got home. I probably couldn’t sleep because I worked myself up on our drive. I had no reason to be in a rush. I had the opportunity to sleep in the next morning. Apparently, that didn’t matter because I got into my head when I wanted to go to bed, and I missed that mark. Arbitrary though it was, I felt miffed I didn’t make it to the appointment on time.

Sometimes it’s better to just go with the flow because working myself up over stupid stuff almost always bites me in some way. I let my reptilian brain take over all too easily. Probably because I’m often too lazy to use my prefrontal cortex’s forethought feature. I’d rather react quickly and emotionally. It’s the easier path…well, easier in the moment. It usually ends up causing unnecessary turmoil later on.

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