My Mind is Fine, It’s My Brain That’s Insane.
I walk into the kitchen to begin what has become the inevitable process of eating. Stare at the shelves, grit my teeth, open the fridge. Shut the fridge, open the pantry. Lower my standards, stare at the shelves, open the fridge. Settle for a glass of water.
As I watch the glass fill, my girlfriend asks me again: “Did you take your meds?” I ignore the spike of irritable anger that flows through my heavily medicated mind. The meds that make eating so difficult? Those? “Not yet,” I answer through my still clenched teeth. The jaw muscles I’ve formed over the last year would put Arnold Schwarzenegger to shame.
The weekly routine exchange begins: “You have to take them. You should have already taken them. Why won’t you just take them?” The irritable anger begins to heat to boiling rage. I despise that phrasing: just take them. Instead of my usual response of a dejected, submissive I know, I opt instead to pull the soap box out from under the sink.
To someone on the other side, the rage might sound like an overreaction, or even an invalid response. But out of those like me, a few will breathe a sigh of relief that the feeling is common.
The rage is not a response to the person specifically. The rage is a response that the person could think that I might absentmindedly forget to take three white pills, one pink, two blue three times a day, and the yellow ones every four hours. Again. Again. Again. The rage is the response of a mind who doesn’t have a voice, thanks to the societal stigma on mental illness.
The mind is the aspect of a mentally ill patient that has taken the most abuse from the brain. What most people don’t understand is that when the brain is a dysfunctional waste of matter, the mind has to sit back and watch the wreckage happen, while being utterly powerless. The mind is the most cursed, the one who has to try and shout over the drone of the brain sending incorrect messages.
It is in the passenger seat of the car the brain is driving, and can do little more than fasten a seat belt as the speedometer reaches 300, sometimes 500, straight into a brick wall, or off the bridge.
The mind is the personality that gets crushed and discolored when those questions are asked that have no answers. It is the ears of the heart that must sit patiently as others explain how the brain hurt them, list the mistakes relentlessly, and worst of all, the mind is the one who gets slapped with the label of mentally ill.
The mind is the one that has to tell the arm to raise the handful of pills to the mouth and swallow. Again. Again. Again. The mind has to do this, in order to keep the brain out of the driver’s seat. So the pain might not happen again, it hopes. Unfortunately, the mind is charged with the judgment of the rational arguments the brain and the heart are continuously having.
The mind is the caretaker of the body, which, when dependent on medications, is a full-time job. The mind has to deny the rational arguments the brain puts forth of Stop it, you’re hurting me and the body. Again. Again. Again. It has to tell the heart that it will be okay, it will only have to sprint for another half hour before it will be calm again. Thank you, Ritalin.
The mind has to tell the body that there is no option of staying in bed and that it must make it to class and to work despite the 1,000 pound lead body suit. Thank you, Seraquil. The mind has to tell the brain to stop whispering thoughts of suicide because the heart is just about to give in. Did I take the Zoloft?
The mind is the one who has to constantly remind the body to fill the glass of water at all costs, to keep breathing between the heaves of dry vomiting, to heat up the hot pack again in order for the hatchet to be pulled from the forehead. Again. Again. Again. What the softhearted friends and lovers who raise the question Did you take your meds? know, is why people like me know damn well that we need to take them.
Everyone knows why we need to take them. Refer to the threat to society modifier. What most people don’t know is why we also hate taking them. Again. Again. Again.
You see, these medications that keep us sane, and as productive members of society, come with these little fuckers called side effects. The kind people out there who are pushing the argument of: You don’t need to be drugged up by those pharmaceuticals looking for a pay check. Smoke some natural weed, or drink this special herb tea and do some Yoga. You just need to practice emotional management, I have one thing to say: Fuck You.
If some stretching and tea could fix my last three-month blackout, don’t you think I would know that? Don’t you think that in my years of denying that I needed medication or help, and trying every possible management routine to fix myself, that I would have caught on if tea and Yoga did the trick?
I want to give a shout-out to my fellow medication-dependents. The alternative is worse, we know this. But this is a fight of mind versus brain, and we can win it. Take care of your mind, and find what you need for it to be strong and fulfilled, so that it can keep the brain in check. We can do this.
R B is a recent college graduate from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. She enjoys writing for the local independent paper, and hopes to forge a career out of writing. Her primary interest is success stories from those who, like her, are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, survivors of broken homes, and suffer from mental illness. She believes hope is a gift and gratitude makes all things possible. She currently lives in Annapolis, MD and is working to broaden her creative horizons.