The Greys and Army Greens

Why does reading about someone who has bipolar give me a start? Why does hearing about someone who committed suicide make me feel just a little bit jealous? It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person and it doesn’t mean I’m crazy, that’s just the nature of triggers I guess. I’m reading a book that mentions someone’s family member who had bipolar (by the way I’m careful to say “has” bipolar as opposed to the more commonly used “is” bipolar because our conditions do not define us) and refused to take medications because they didn’t want to be “dulled.”

The person ultimately killed themselves, and it sounds like they had a lot of struggles in life. I can relate very much to not wanting to be dulled. Taking the relatively large number of medications, in addition to making me fat, turn my brain into fog. My feelings are dull and I don’t get as much enjoyment out of things I normally enjoy, but when I feel sad I feel it too strongly. The thought of getting off my medications just so I can feel something again is very appealing. But the consequence of doing that is that I will probably end up either hurting everyone I love, putting myself on the streets, or dead. At least I would feel life again, though!

I’m not going to go off my meds, but it will never stop sounding appealing. I think of the days when I wasn’t on medications or wasn’t taking my meds like I was supposed to, and though I had huge mood swings on a daily basis, I felt love like fire, I felt joy doing the things I loved, even the lows that I felt so strongly made me feel alive. I was connected to life. Sure, I wasn’t sleeping or eating much, and I would have days at a time where I would cry in bed barely getting up to pee much less function like a human. But that’s part of what made me feel alive.

Now I’m taking all the handfuls of meds like I’m supposed to, but I feel a muted sense of being alive. There are many things that make me happy: my boyfriend, my dog, my friends whom I cherish. The love for those things runs deep. But everything feels muted. I still have the mood swings, but they’re not as extreme. The “even keel,” the “baseline” doctors want me to stay on feels Okay. I am Okay. Life doesn’t have the reds and blues and purples and lively yellows anymore, just greys and army greens. My memory is shot, focus is a challenge, I often feel like my personality has gone into hiding, my hands shake, my energy is in short supply and I’m often too tired to function, but I am Okay.

Not fantastic let’s-get-up-and-go-I-don’t-care-where. Not terrible, hopeless, I’d be better off dead. Just okay. I am so lucky to have people who care about me and are always there to help me through the days, even the days when the high/low extremes come back and I’m not Okay anymore. In the meantime I’m living in the fog and reminiscing about the times when I felt like I was living in brighter colors.

5 thoughts on “The Greys and Army Greens

  1. I think you can compare it to a roller coaster vs the kiddie rides. You don’t get the thrill but you are also a lot safer. Better? Meh. Maybe. Better for the people around you. Probably. I get it. It sucks. I’m having an off day so just go ahead and enter something positive and inspiring here to make it sound like everything is going to be ok. I’ll be more inspiring tomorrow, maybe.

    1. I like the roller coaster analogy, it’s spot on. Don’t let me enter my own positive inspiration, I get too creative sometimes. There will be a lot of cuss words.

  2. I know exactly what you feel like. I too have to take medication to keep my bipolar under control and it just greys everything. I feel numb from emotions and life at times. It feels like something is missing.

    However, at the same time, I have tried living without medication and I can’t do it at the moment. I stopped taking my meds and yes the colour came back but I ended up unwell and in hospital. I wish there was an easy answer to being able to live med-free but stable.

    1. Yep, I’ve been on both parts of the roller coaster too. It’s so hard to accept that we have to trade one for the other.

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