Sometimes, folks, the cure is as bad as the condition. I’m taking a buttload of Lamictal (often used to treat Bipolar II) which has considerably evened me out. No more super-productive, spastic, soaring highs (which I miss terribly – I only ever experienced hypomania, which is not as destructive or unbearable as mania. Quite awesome, actually). The Dark still visits, but with better manners and never for long. Even the crippling, insomnia-inducing anxiety is mostly held at bay. I don’t know if this is what Norms feel like, but I’m … functional.
The trade-off is, I feel as smart as a stack of phonebooks. My vocabulary is half of what it was. I have to refer to an online thesaurus every time I write. In conversation, I struggle to find words I used effortlessly in the past…like “avocado”. Despite my best efforts, I can’t type worth a damn. Once upon a time, I rarely saw the little red squiggly line under my typed text. Nary a one amongst pages of (incredibly brilliant) paragraphs. Now it’s like those nagging red worms multiplied and are taking over my screen. When I try to correct the words on my own, I still get them wrong. My brain is turning to mush, and any day now, it will start leaking out my eyes. You can imagine what kind of fall from grace this is for a grammar and spelling snob. A sommelier suddenly lacking a sense of smell.
It’s affecting my work, my daily life, my ability to communicate, and it’s pissing me off. There are physical impairments too, like a fucked up menstrual cycle, constant noise in my ears, sore throat, and headaches. But it beats sitting in an empty tub in a catatonic state… right?
I believe that some meds are very useful to some people. I am grateful that I am functional enough to go to therapy appointments and start developing and using long term strategies that will help me recover and manage my condition (whatever the hell it is). When Lamictal and I go our separate ways, however, I am throwing a fucking party, and you’re all invited. Bring your big words.
Note: Everyone has unique experiences while on medication. Some experience virtually no side effects, while some are crippled by them. Some people will be on meds the rest of their lives, and some use them for a shorter period. I respect everyone’s experience with medication. Also, bad spelling or a limited vocabulary are not signs of a lower IQ, they’re simply a sign of impaired brain function for me. I mean no disrespect to people who rely on spell check and thesauri.