What happens when you skip Lithium: Return of the Jedi

It’s finally over, I think. I hope.

For the first 39.5 of the 41 hours, I ended up staying awake for, I felt essentially no fatigue. When I finally was able to sleep at midnight, 6 hours after the last post, I ended up staying out for over 12 hours, which is a good indicator for the mania fading out. I woke up feeling normal. I felt hunger, I ate, I read a lot of a book, I met with friends for Indian food, I worked, I went to a friend’s birthday party, then I stayed up playing board games until 2 AM with some really fun acquaintances in the student union. Then I went to bed, and I woke up again feeling normal. Granted I still feel sleepy, but not in a depressive way. Just like I pushed myself too hard recently, which is a familiar feeling for every university student. And now I’m taking my Lithium like clockwork.

I made the mistake before this shit show of missing two doses, which were events separated by about a day. I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time since it was the pill I took right before bed. I always joked it was so I didn’t bipolar in my sleep, not appreciating that it was to keep the Lithium levels in my blood and around my brain constant. I never made up for the doses because of that small but key bit of missing knowledge. There’s a lesson that won’t have to be learned twice.

Due to my recent departure from my work schedule, I’m behind on everything I outlined in my planner. I’m trying to not beat myself up about it. I feel like what happened was my fault, even though it was because I didn’t know any better since no doctor or therapist ever spelled out why it was so important to make my Lithium intake as regular as possible. I originally made this careful work schedule so I wouldn’t get stressed about workload since stress can trigger cycles. In the future, I need to remember to pencil in some wiggle room, just in case. This is not me resigning to my condition. This is me learning to live with it.

Things are on track now. I have an adapted plan, I’m eating regularly, I’m taking my meds at consistent times, I’m in a good place with my therapist’s office, I’m answering all emails I’m supposed to, I’m balancing work and friends well, I’m sleeping well, I’m not touching alcohol for the next while.

As a final note, I want to make clear that there is nothing I want more in the world than to not be symptomatic of my bipolar, OCD, ADHD, and PTSD. The thing I hate most about my current state is that it often comes off like I don’t care much about getting better, even though at every given moment, I’m doing everything I can to just be normal. I hate not knowing what is a genuine emotion and what is my mind betraying me. I am a scientist. My friends’ lovingly compare me to Spock sometimes. To have fits where I can’t think through the fog and rush of my mind, to not know if I’m upset for a reason that is actually justifiable, to be able to clearly see what a logical action would be but not being able to pursue it because of a louder, primal part of my mind is my personal hell. I lose my sense of self every time I feel controlled by emotion. I’ve been able to survive years of abuse and being raped more times than I can count without letting these events define me by being able to work through all of my thoughts and feelings about the subjects any time they come up. I have had approximately 0.5 panic attacks ever. To temporarily lose my well-honed processing ability is terrifying. I never run away from bad feelings because I know I will win a head-to-head match. When I cycle, logic loses hold. So yes, more than anything, I want to get better. I have everything to lose if I don’t.

 

Name: Natasha
Age: 21
Race: White
Weight: 157 lbs
Height: 5′ 5″
Hair color: Obviously dyed red
Employment status: full-time student
Current diagnoses: ADHD, OCD, PTSD, Bipolar II
Current bipolar state: 4 out 5 late 2000’s Carrie Fishers
Currently being drugged with: Zoloft 50 mg every morning, Lithium Carbonate 300 mg every 8 hours, Ritalin LA 20 mg once a day, Methylphenidate 20 mg twice a day
Questionable substance use: nope
Do I feel like this system works: yes, I’m working on getting good at it
Am I on top of things I said I would do: generally
Currently physical activity level: I only move if necessary
Does my shrink know what they’re doing: seems like it

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