March Madness

It’s almost spring, and with the change in seasons comes my semiannual experimentation with my meds. I don’t know why I do this to myself, except it always happens around the beginning of March (and the early fall as well) and each time I do it I think it’s going to work this time.

It didn’t, of course. It started out with actually forgetting my AM meds, and by early afternoon I was buzzing. It felt GREAT!! Sometimes I get sooooo tired of being this calm, almost emotionless person, and as the day progressed I felt life flooding back into me. My conversation became somewhat more animated than usual, and I took more interest in my surroundings. I was alive for the first time in what seemed like forever. Yippee!

I decided to take only my blood-pressure meds and Trazadone last night. I wanted to sleep but I also get sick of being a zombie in the morning, so I left the antipsychotics and the mood stabilizer in the pill box. Later in the night I started worrying about having a seizure since that’s one of the effects of abruptly stopping Lamictal, so I got up and took that. Not surprisingly, I was awake well into the night even though I’d gone to bed at my usual time, and my mind was on fire! Thoughts upon thoughts raced around the inside of my brain as I stared wide-eyed into the darkness. I knew I was going to be up earlier for church, but I believed I wouldn’t need the sleep…stinkin’ thinkin’ for sure.

But as the night went on, I began to ponder the possible consequences if I continued on with my experiment. My mind was fragmented, but I was still able to piece together some coherent thought. And the truth is, I may be boring, but I’m steady, and there are so many things that can go sideways when I’m manic. I spend money like it’s going out of style. I start arguments with friends and family, and act inappropriately in public. I thought about my church ladies and wondered what they would think if I suddenly stood up and began shouting about gun control. I could see myself doing it, too. I’ve done much worse, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

That must’ve been about the time the Lamictal kicked in. Even though I was still pleasantly high, I knew I’d have to take my meds in the morning. I just can’t do this to the people I love—they deserve me at my best, even if my ‘best’ means being a bump on a log. Finally I drifted off into a broken sleep, my conscience at rest for the time being.

Now, with all meds on board, I marvel at the fact that twice a year this same thing happens. I get a wild hair and decide I want to be more exciting, and the only way to accomplish this is to mess with my pills. Ordinarily, I know better than this and am religious about taking them; in fact, I kind of thought I’d skip the festivities this spring because I haven’t been depressed at all during the winter, and up until this weekend I hadn’t even thought of not taking my meds. Fortunately, it never takes long for me to get myself back in line, not just because I feel guilty but because being unmedicated is really quite uncomfortable. My heart races almost as fast as my thoughts; I’m agitated on the inside if not on the outside; I visualize myself flying out of control. I’ve been out of control before, and it was frightening at the same time that it was exhilarating. Does that make sense?

I guess I’ll have to forgive myself for doing this yet again. Like I said, I KNOW better, but bipolar does some very weird things to a person and this March madness is one of the things it does to me. It’s become predictable and I don’t know why it always catches me off guard. The one positive thing is that as quickly as it comes on, it goes away and common sense returns. Yay me!


Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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