My personal pharmacy.

I have a routine every Sunday night where I pull out my weekly pill boxes and start the process of getting my morning and evening medications ready for the coming week.

It's something that I do with mixed emotions every time and it is an act that perhaps mimics the very essence of the disorder.

On one hand I am grateful for the relief the medications give me from the worst of my symptoms, for the stability that my family enjoys nowadays because I take them.  I also am grateful for the fear they have helped me master of obeying that voice that tells me to leave this world.

But on the other hand, I am also reminded of the side effects that they bring me.

The upset stomach and diarrhea, the drowsiness,  the lack of concentration and motivation from time to time, the tremors in my hands, and worst of all, the weight gain that I have suffered since increasing my mood stabiliser and adding the anti-psychotic.

There are times when I really am not sure if the benefits do really outweigh the way I feel with the medications.

I suppose what gets me down the most is the feeling of dependency.  From being a very independent individual – some would definitely say too independent for my own good – to someone who has to remember to take medication morning and night; chart my moods every day and talk to a psychiatrist on a regular basis to understand and deal with my moods and thoughts.

Then my mind goes back to how I feel when the pendulum swings.  When I go on spending sprees that I can’t afford and try to hide the results from my family. When I then feel so guilty about this behaviour that it triggers another bout of depression and I can feel the pit opening up beneath me again.

When that seductive voice tells me how bad and evil I am and to put an end to it; then I remember why I try to be compliant with my routine, and put up with the downside.

Then after a while – I realise again that I am doing the best thing for myself, first of all, and then my family and it seems that the black clouds start to fade away and that rainbow appears and life doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Welcome to my bipolar world – no pun intended!


Graham Brown

10 March 2005






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