Thursday, January 16, 2014

Medicated Masses

This is all anyone needs.
Here's a secret: I have some pretty heavy mental health issues. I'm in the process of switching medications, which means for the next week, I'm off mine.
You know what I've realized in this lull between pill popping?
My being medicated helps those around me much more than it actually helps me. The people who spend time with me don't see it this way, of course.
All they see is me sobbing uncontrollably over Burger King adding unwanted Buffalo sauce to my chicken strips and think it's because I'm off the meds. Or maybe they see me raising my voice just slightly when a child doesn't put her books away after being told for the eleventieth time in an hour, and think I've lost my damned mind and obviously that's a mental health issue and can't possibly be a mothering issue.
I can't ever just have a bad day. I can't possibly lose my schmidt because none of the eleventy kids around here ever listen to me the first time, or I didn't even want Burger King to begin with and definitely didn't want nasty Buffalo sauce making my strips all soggy. I can't ever just be PMSing.
The trouble with having diagnosed mental illnesses is that everyone thinks you're crazy all the time. Normal things that would make anyone annoyed or irrational are overlooked in favor of fixing a problem that always falls to the crazy person.
It's possible that sometimes I'm actually the rational one, except I have all of these fancy letters in my medical chart, like an alphabet soup of diagnoses that certify that can't be so.
News flash: Being on the medication didn't make me uncrazy (or, you know, sane) and it didn't even really help me manage the crazy. All it actually does is allow me to internalize the sobbing and self loathing and screams. So no one else ever has to know about it or deal with it or witness a meltdown.
And that is all most people care about. If they don't have to witness or deal with or be affected by it, they're happy, and since I'm not voicing my extreme disgust with any and everything, it must mean that it's all under control, right?
Eh. Not really. But I'll go back to popping the pills like a dutiful patient because even my doctor doesn't want to hear about what's really bothering me. He just wants to know the side effects I'm dealing with and offer me another pill to manage them.
What no one knows is that I'm a mess. Medicine or not, I have meltdowns and panic attacks and triggers and anxiety about things. Most things, actually. The medicine doesn't actually make me feel any better than I do now. It does, however, allow me to keep my mouth shut about it, giving everyone the impression I'm being helped.
Really, it's much more helpful to those around me than it is to me. But hey, who doesn't want a little unending lethargy, weight gain, lack of sex drive, hair loss, memory loss, random muscle spasms and hangnails if it provides comfort to others? That's all completely worth the illusion of normalcy, right?