05
Sep
20

Mental Health

I am not healthy, not sound of body nor mind. I know this. I’m in the care of a half-dozen doctors for that very reason. But sometimes I think I was better off before they started meddling.

Five years ago, I was still unwell. I was a walking basket case, a wonderful bundle of borderline schizophrenia and severe bipolar depression. I was unmedicated for those conditions, and life was miserable, but there was a plus side: every once in a while, the stars would align, and I’d be blessed with an extended manic period. In such a period, I could crank out five or six short stories, could slam down 30-50k words on a novel length project, had no real need for sleep or other distractions and was able to ignore naysayers and invisibility with an ease that was almost narcissistic in nature.

Then the doctors got ahold of me. Sure, I may not spend nearly every day in a semi-suicidal haze; they’re only once every other week or so, now. But in addition to the hellish, bottom of the pit lows, the wonderful flying above the clouds highs have also largely made themselves absent, and don’t hang around for the week or two they used to last when they do appear. It’s an afternoon or evening of superpowers, and then nothing.

It’s depressing in and of itself. I feel like whatever chance I had to actually be productive and finally write whatever it is that will actually get me noticed, that will sell more than six copies to what family and friends I have, that will actually matter is gone. I could flush the meds, but I don’t think I’d manage to muddle through the black period before I hit the high time, because even missing a day or two is enough to open up the maw of hell beneath my feet and leave me wrecked and shaken for a week afterward.

I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know how to reclaim my muse. I don’t know how to summon the willpower to care. All I seem able to do is sit and fester, and that’s not healthy… but I don’t seem to have any other options.

It’s especially exciting to be feeling this way in the jolly month of September, apparently designated Suicide Prevention Month, given my online interactions frequently involve people telling me to kill myself. Those same people are often seen pouring out support and encouragement for others. Of course, I’m the “wrong” sort of person to encourage, and I’ve known that for years.

I’m not suicidal, at least not directly – I have too much fear of what’s waiting after death to be eager to meet it – but neither am I particularly enthused to be alive… and I don’t know how to tip the scales. Part of me doesn’t care which end goes up and which goes down, just that the stalemate is broken.

Any fellow sufferers out there? How do you deal? What kind of treatment helped? Do you keep bullishly trying to push through to no effect or just throw your hands up and say “I quit?” Let us know down below.


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