Vanity V. Sanity, Part I

After fending it off for like maybe a year, I finally let my doctor prescribe me Depakote. I’m at that point again where I feel like I have no choice. My mood for the last 6ish days has been extremely unpredictable and varied. I’m ecstatic at 11 a.m., fiercely focused on a writing project at 3 p.m., then depressed and contemplating suicide by 6. (I’m not in any real danger right now, my husband is watching my like a hawk and my roommate has a keen eye for this shit. Oh yeah, and I’m doing my part too, that shouldn’t be discounted. Part of me not trying to kill myself is me trying not to kill myself.)

I got a couple blood draws yesterday to check my liver and thyroid – but especially my liver ’cause Depakote can apparently trash your liver. Because with bipolar it seems – or at least with my bipolar – relief never comes without strings attached. I can have a healthy mind or a healthy liver, but the combination of both is not guaranteed me. Lithium lifers know this one all too well. After I left the walk-in diagnostic center at the hospital, I went to get my prescription filled immediately so I could start the Depakote last night, before I had the chance to scare the shit out of myself by reading too much about it and its side effects on the Internet. Before I had the chance to talk myself out of piling another mood stabilizer on top of my current cocktail ’cause, as of right now, I’m not swapping out the Depakote for any other drug. That’ll probably happen sometime in the near future, but for right now, we’re just adding. I hate that. I really do. The fucking pharmacy was out of Depakote. They told me to come back Friday after noon. I just wanted to pull the damned trigger. I didn’t used to be such a wuss when it came to meds, but Depakote will be the 18th psych med I’ve tried in just under 8 years. I’ve had a few bad reactions, both instantaneous and longterm. I’ve had the side effects of otherwise helpful medication make my life shittier than it needs to be. Sometimes it just seems easier to suffer and to force my loved ones to deal with my contagious suffering than to wander through territory that’s both new and old at the same time.

But the thing that scares me the most is the possibility of contracting the stupids. Depakote is an anti-epileptic. I’ve tried 2 other drugs in this class before and the both made me dumb as a sack of doorknobs. One of them was really uncomfortable to wean off of. I couldn’t find the words I was looking for. I couldn’t concentrate easily or read properly. If this blog goes silent, it might be because I’m doing really well on Depakote and my vocabulary has shrunk to that of a 4 year-old’s.

So I’m being a little hyperbolic here. But I’m apprehensive and I’m scared, Ok? This is why I wanted to just start taking the damned pills yesterday evening so I wouldn’t have time to let this shit marinate. I’m pretty fragile already. I’ve been struggling with a pretty bad depressive episode since the end of May. I don’t feel like I can do very much well, but at least I can read and write better than most people. I dance like a snake handler and I can’t drive a car for shit. I know what I’m bad at and it’s almost everything, but the things I’m actually good at require a certain level of mental acuity that, when compromised PISSES ME THE FUCK OFF. Nobody wants to feel useless, especially those of us who’ve been fighting off feelings of uselessness for 3 and a half months.

Ok. Silver lining: Depakote prevents migraines. I mean, I might still have hair loss and double vision which is just fucking GREAT ’cause my vision is already garbage. I joked to a woman in my husband’s eye doctor’s office yesterday that my right eye is primarily ornamental. It’s barely a joke. THIS. THIS PARAGRAPH RIGHT HERE. This is why I didn’t wanna give myself time to overthink this ’cause I insist upon fixating on the potential negative side effects and ignore the fact that I’m taking this medication to make me better. But I look at the future and see a bald, blind idiot who is nothing else but not dead.

In my calmer moments, I’ve written about quality of life issues regarding medication and treatment and trying to find a workable balance between the necessary goods and the inescapable bads, and I think I did so with deliberation and some degree of restraint. This is not one of those moments. This is a fuck everything I hate my life I’mma put my fist through a wall I know how to do that now moment. I think I should be allowed these occasionally so that when I finally get my hands on those damned pills, I might’ve worked some of the resentment at my lot out of my system. Here’s hoping.

So, maybe some of you who are taking or have taken Depakote will read this and be like, “Laura. Chill, dude. It’s not the nightmare you’re envisioning. It might actually help and you won’t become a drooling, hairless crone devoid of human-like cognitive faculties.” To which I say: I love you, but shut up.

I just need to air out my insecurities.

But seriously, I still love you.

I’m just not at my most rational right now, which, all things considered in this post, should bug me a lot. But I’ve kinda worked myself into a small tantrum. I gave myself stomach knots and I wouldn’t mind a solid cry right now. It’s ok. It’ll pass. I’ll be fine. I got pills for this shit.


Tagged: anger, bipolar disorder, depression, fear, meds, mental health, migraines, quality of life, side effects, suicide, treatment, vanity

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