Have I lost my mind? The one-third of a daily dose that I took yesterday because the withdrawal was so bad did me so much good. I slept like a human being. I got up today to work like normal. My body stopped hurting (except for my face). So why am I stopping?

I think the best option will be to cut this off for a few months, let it get out of my skin and system, because I had a lot of good years with this drug, and it didn’t fry my skin before. I found a couple of articles where they did skin biopsies, and found these weird deposits in the skin, but they went away after several months. Since it took a few years to get to this, maybe I can then take it again.

The other option is to see the shrink I last saw four years ago, maybe he has a brilliant idea. Maybe a different drug in the same class. Maybe lithium. But I don’t want to spend more money on shrinks, because it always sucks to go there, and I’m not really sure I like the guy. And I left there promising myself I’d never go back, that I could handle things myself.

No one seems to understand what I’m so scared of. I guess it’s because I’ve only known Jake for about 4 years, that is, post-good-med. He has never seen me crazy. He only sees my serious, work side. He doesn’t know how bad it can get. He probably couldn’t believe it if I told him.

Actually, I did tell him. It was really hard. I think I am glad I did, though. What happened was like this: I told him I just really need to talk to someone – which he knew. One afternoon last week, we were outside on a break, and I said that I just didn’t know if it was a good idea to tell him or anyone related to work…and that I just didn’t know how to say it. I slipped down from the side of the planter we were sitting on and sat down on the ground, because at that time I was all dizzy and messed up, both from withdrawal and also from the nerves of almost being exposed.

I just sat there for a while. He said, “Well, even if you can’t talk to me, you really should talk about this to someone.” I told him I had one girlfriend who knew. More silence. “Is it your family?” I was sort of surprised and said no. Then he said, “It must be something medical.” Pause. “Don’t worry, people are understanding about that.” Ha! I sort of laughed, and said, “No, they really aren’t.”

At this point, I was, obviously, incapable of going on. Somehow he had to go do something or I did. But he was on duty til late that night, so I didn’t go home. I called him and told him that I would be around, whenever he had a slow hour. Finally he did, so we went outside again, sat down by the wall, and just started talking about other stuff. Gossip, important stuff in his life, the future, fear, and then the conversation sort of slipped into secret telling. I still couldn’t talk to him, could literally not bring myself to say the words, so finally, I just reached into my bag and pulled out an article about the safety of long term lithium use, and let him say it. Of course, he blurted out, “Manic-depression?” – the term that sounds so fucking, well, crazy. I cringed just hearing it.

We talked for a while about that, not a ton of details. He said he knew someone else who works with us who also has it. He asked what happens. I can’t really explain. The thing is, all the crazy shit I’ve done, I tell as these cocktail party anecdotes, so it sounds funny. That’s the only way I know how to tell. So it made him laugh, missing the stuff in between, the horror parts. That was ok. It sort of softened everything. He couldn’t understand why I am so scared at the thought of having a med problem now, not being able to keep going on this one.

Anyway, I am sort of glad I talked. I feel much less dishonest, like I’m hiding a secret from everyone. It was just a good conversation overall, for a lot of the other stuff too. He also understood why I hated shrinks, didn’t think it was bad to try to avoid them, didn’t think I was being, well, insane, about that.

This probably wasn’t the most interesting post, but that’s how it turned out. We chatted until the sun went down, and he had to go back in, and I had to go home.

The other good news is that I’m looking at my to-do list for these two weeks off and thngs seem to be going ok. I didn’t do the hardest things on the list, but it isn’t like I just was frozen the whole time. I did some stuff. And I’m doing lazy stuff for work too, so even the time in which I can’t face really hard stuff isn’t totally wasted. Thank God for that. For these two weeks, for them not being too hellish even if they are rough, for me seeming to be ok now that I took just one pill, for seeing the possible solution of stopping and restarting this drug later.



  1. Sometimes telling someone is both the most liberating, and agonizing part of illness, much less when coming off a med. I totally get the anxiety you’ve been feeling, (on top of the withdrawals ick.) I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with this, especially with your life changing so swiftly. Are these changes connected, or just coincidence?

    You’re very special, and also to me.

  2. Ive been ill since I was a kid. Was institutionalized for 2 years it was so bad. But when im functional you wouldnt know, except for the crazy anger sometimes. I dont think Id ever tell anyone because no one really understands except someone whos lived though the same things.
    Basically, having this illness means it could potentially come up at any time and ruin your job or your relationship. And having those things youve worked hard for ruined by some stupid illness thats sucked so much of you already is so maddening its better to just strive for mediocrity. cope by planning for the worst. If I was able to get a long stretch of stability Id invest more in those things but I havent done that so far.
    Its really tough especially if youre pushing a manic state in order to excel. eventually it will implode.

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