Seven. That’s the amount of pills I have to take every day in order to stay even slightly sane.
My dosage has changed since I began medication in 2013; I’ve had as little as two to as many as ten per day. The perfect cocktail changes as my mental health does. Too high of a dose of antidepressants could lead to mania, while too high of a dose of antipsychotics could lead to depression.
It’s difficult to just hover in the middle of the two spectrums for a prolonged period of time. And even when I do, I still struggle daily from anxiety.
My psychiatrist likes to describe me as having “high-functioning anxiety” that just happened to come packaged with my bipolarity. Sometimes I don’t really believe the “high-functioning” part of that. But I guess I do function decently well in the real world most of the time. For me anxiety often manifests in perfectionism, tenacity, and introversion. At the same time it also manifests in panic and anxiety attacks, and acute agoraphobia.
Have you ever had a severe panic attack? It feels like there’s something so heavy on your chest that you can’t breathe. Simultaneously your heartbeat speeds up to dangerously high levels and you start crying and shaking so much that you feel like absolutely nothing can help you. Now imagine that for a good 15-20 minutes… That’s a panic attack. At least for me.
And sometimes it happens a few times a day without warning.
When I was younger – and by younger I mean around nineteen – I would crawl into my closet and cry until it passed. It’s the only time I can actually tolerate an enclosed space because it felt safe. Most of the time enclosed spaces give me panic attacks. Funny, huh?
Sometimes I’m scared that I won’t actually be able to live a relatively “normal” life. Some seemingly trivial tasks and daily activities can be overwhelming for me: answering the phone, leaving my room, responding to messages, talking to strangers, etc etc. It sounds ridiculous and I’m often misunderstood as being cold or irresponsible, but these are my actual fears. If having anxiety has taught me anything, it’s that the fight or flight response, mostly the latter, is very real.
These days I spend a lot of time wishing I didn’t have to live this way…
It’s frustrating having to constantly figure out which part of my actions are actually my conscious decision or just a consequence of my mental health.
It’s lonely being an outsider and feeling isolated from most of the world because I just don’t know if I’ll have some kind of an emotional breakdown during a party, or even class.
It’s painful feeling like I’m an inconvenience to those I love dearly…
It’s tiring having to apologise for my actions… whether or not they were actually my fault.
I’m just… tired.