Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gentle Reminders....

On Monday I had to make one of my infamous calls home to my mother, screeching incoherently into the phone while she gave comforting advice like "You need to breathe. Are you breathing? I can't hear you. I've no idea what you're saying." All the while I was doing my best to continue breathing but sometimes hysteria takes me over and beyond that, there isn't too much I can do but wait for the panic and terror to subside.

Towards the end of our conversation my trusty mom asked me "Have you been sleeping? Have you been taking your medication?"

If there are ever two questions you should never ask me they are 1) Have you been taking your medication? and 2) Are you having your period?

Both infuriate me beyond belief because A) I don't believe in the whole menstrually-related crankiness thing and 2) It's none of your damn business as to whether or not I'm fully medicated.

I think part of my defensiveness relating to being a medicated person goes back to the fact that I want to live forever in denial. I would love to one day be able to wake up and function like a normal person without relying on hundreds of milligrams of drugs.

I have to stop here and say that for the last month or so, I have felt more overwhelmingly normal than I have in a long, long time. People ask me why I didn't seek help for my illness sooner than I did: I waited until late October to seek help when really, I probably should have gone in June or July.

My brain doesn't work properly. I don't have a circadian rhythm that measures what my body is to do and when. My body doesn't know enough to go to sleep when it should, and my brain occasionally takes me over completely, releasing the wrong amounts of chemicals to the wrong places, rendering me useless and incapable of normal function.

I suppose what's been going on lately is that I'm just so damn happy to be normal again, to be able to get out of bed, pick out appropriate underwear for the day, bathe and floss my teeth, and do what needs to be done. Last fall months went by where I was incapable of doing any of those things and so rather than being at all productive, I sat on the balcony staring at Orion's belt and chain smoking until I found myself in a hospital. It was a very dark and scary time in my life and when I think of what may have happened had I not gotten help when I did, I sometimes want to cry.

So here I am. I'm not elated all the time, I'm not going through a crazy manic phase right now: I'm just so damn normal that I want to celebrate it all the time. I want to make up for lost time with friends, giggle and put on clothes and look pretty, wear nice underpants and actual blue jeans, and yet this illness is still controlling some parts of my life.

And so every now and then, you do need your mother to give you a gentle reminder that just because you feel good for now doesn't mean that you can neglect your health. This illness I have is one that could come back at any moment, wash over myself and those closest to me like a hurricane, and leave me shivering and shaking on the floor for a month like it did last fall.

I guess I know what the answers are: Exercise, good diet, appropriate social interaction, and most of all, sleep, are all pertinent to keeping my little old self up and running, functioning like a normal person.

And weeks on end of being out partying, drinking to excess on trains, not sleeping because HEY! There's cool stuff to do at five a.m.! are not good ideas.

I suppose that I have to take my inability to breathe or speak on Monday as a gentle reminder that even though I'm at my best right now? Doesn't mean that I get to forget that I'm a lunatic deep down.

And that's all fine and good: I've been dealing with the knowledge that I have this thing since I was a teen.

I just wish that sometimes, just for a brief period, I can forget about horse pills and circadian rhythms and brain waves and seratonin and endorphins and just live my life.

And generally, when I wish those things, its a good reminder in and of itself that I need to suck it up, ButterCup, because it's really not the end of the world to have an illness that forces you to take decent care of yourself to avoid having another fall like last one.

It's time to settle down, focus on term papers and the joys that come with them, and keep myself on track for the rest of my life.

Berry fields do await me in the future, you know.


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