…Never feel so great that you think you can skip your nighttime meds and not suffer the consequences.
Yes, I was “up” last week. Yes, it made me want to try going without meds to see what it would be like. And yes, I was awake all night long and felt like I was going to freak the righteous hell out.
I don’t really know what gave me the idea that stopping meds—even as a brief experiment—would be a walk in the park. Like I said, I was definitely on the high side of the mood spectrum and sometimes that makes me think I’m invincible. But I’m also one of those people who feel the effects of med withdrawal within hours of a missed dose. I forgot about that. This damned disease of mine doesn’t have me on a short leash, it’s got me in a chokehold, and the punishment for my transgression was swift and severe.
I felt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I tossed and turned in bed trying to go to sleep and succeeded only in getting the blankets all twisted up. My thoughts were racing at warp speed, making it impossible to focus on the breathing exercises I do when I’m anxious or stressed. It felt like my eyes were bulging out of my head, my hair was standing on end, and the top of my head was going to fly off. I would have given up the “experiment” at that point, except it was 4 AM and I had to get up for church in only a few hours, so I didn’t want to take my meds then for fear that I’d oversleep.
Not that I was in any danger of that. It’s been a long time since I missed out on an entire night’s sleep, but I was reminded of days past when, in the throes of manic episodes, I went weeks without sleeping more than three or four hours a night. (That in itself is unusual; many people don’t sleep at all during manic phases.) It actually seemed as though I was going to tip over into full-blown mania. Amazing how well I remember how that feels, even though it’s been several years since my last hurrah. But I didn’t, and in the morning I took my daytime meds vowing I’d never pull a stunt like that again.
I can’t promise that, of course. No one with bipolar disorder can, because we cycle in and out of moods even on meds, and when we’re manic we tend to think we can do anything we want. I simply fell prey to the idea that I could skip a dose or two and be fine, even though I’ve tried it before (and it didn’t work then, either). I think deep down I still wish I could be “normal” and not have to take meds; being hypomanic and somewhat impulsive, I made a bad decision.
But it’s not the worst thing in the world. I’ve made much worse mistakes, especially in the area of finances. I have been spending a little too much money recently but I’m still able to pay my bills and rent, and most of the spending is actually for a good reason (smaller clothes for the trip). I’m now down almost 85 lbs. and am close to the goal I’d set for myself to be reached by the time we leave. I’m six months ahead of schedule!
Anyway, that’s an example of what can happen when my illness comes out to play. (Yes, I know better, so please don’t yell at me.) The only reason I’m telling this story is to show readers that a) I’m only human, and b) no matter how much fun hypomania is, there’s always a chance of doing something dumb.
And so it goes.