I am exhausted. My mind and body ache for sleep.
I lay down in bed next to Joe, and I feel awkward. My pillow feels wrong; the sheets are scratchy. The covers are too warm. The cat is purring on my pillow. My hair is touching my shoulder, and my skin itches all over my body.
And then I realize the real problem. It’s not my pillow, my sheets, the covers, the cat, my hair, or my skin.
I forgot to take my evening dose of bipolar medicine.
This happens at least once a week.
It happens so often that I set an alarm on my iPhone to go off each and every night at 7 pm, but sometimes I turn the alarm off without actually taking the pill. Like tonight. We were at church, and my purse with the pills inside was out in the car. I didn’t want to leave to go get it.
And so, I forget to take the pill.
I stayed in bed for a few minutes, debating my next step.
If I skip the dose, I’ll lay in bed all night, sleeping for 20-30 minutes at a time. I’ll feel weepy all day tomorrow, emotionally unstable. My body will twitch relentlessly, constantly weak and in pain. I’ll be nauseous, simultaneously hungry and hating food.
The alternative is to get out of bed, trudge downstairs, and take the medicine several hours too late. I will fall asleep, hopefully by 2 or 3 in the morning. I’ll feel groggy until lunchtime, if I can stay awake at all.
Neither option is great, especially since I’m the person taking care of my two small children.
Most of the time, I get out of bed and take the pill whenever I think about it. I deal with the sleepiness in the morning, forcing myself to stay awake by cleaning, moving, doing stuff with my body to force the sleepiness out of my eyes.
I resent these meds. I resent their side effects. I resent being awake at 12:37 am because I forgot to take a stupid pill six hours ago.
I am alive, functioning, happy in my life because of this medicine. It righted me when I was all wrong. It helps me to stay level, to enjoy my children and my husband and myself.
The physical symptoms of forgetting to take the pill are mild compared to the emotional trauma going without it would inevitably cause.
My body can’t do normal all by itself.
I am thankful for the meds. I am thankful for my psychiatrist, for the peace that comes with a diagnosis, for intervention and treatment and recovery.
I’m thankful that I don’t have to do normal all by myself.
Even if it comes with insomnia now and then.
© 2011, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.