This story is over 5 years old.

The Mentally Ill Issue

My Meds

I'm 26, bipolar, and manic. I'm on four different medications.
Κείμενο Brian Spencer

Photo by Tim Barber

I'm 26, bipolar, and manic. I'm on four different medications. Clozaril is an anti-depressant. I take both 50- and 100- mg pills of it. I used to take Prozac, but it only worked for a little bit and then it plateaued. Then I tried Paxil, and it was the same thing. My mom reads up on all the medications, like she clips newspaper articles. She has The Pill Book and she's always looking stuff up in it. I have a copy of it, too, but I keep it in the trunk of my car. I can barely go to work when I'm down. I'll just throw up my hands and stop going. I did that when I was in college. Then I hit this massive rut of depression, like "Oh, I'm not good enough." Now I'm holding down a job at UPS, and I'm living on my own. It's a success story, and the medication was completely necessary to it. Without these meds, I get so impulsive. I'll have five bucks in my pocket and know I need it for gas, but it's like, "Damn it, I need a coffee." Then I do it, and I'm screwed. This yellow one is Topamax. It's an antipsych. The antipsych is for my mania. When it was really bad, I was doing extreme things. You know those colored sand bottles you get at craft fairs? Once I sat down and dumped out the sand of one of those jars, and I sat down with a nail file and started separating the grains of sand by color. That's how psychotic I was. My mom came in and saw me doing that and flipped out. It got to the point where—and I am not happy to admit this—I threatened her life, both verbally and physically. The police got involved. That's how bad I was. With this medicine in me, I would never think of doing such a thing. The oblong one is Zoloft. It's another antidepressant. The weird thing is, I've been on meds for four years and I can't remember what does what. Before I went on meds, I was a wreck. I was really into drugs. I did all the recreational stuff, all the way up to heroin. I didn't care about very much. I didn't have many friends and I could never hold a relationship or a job. Now when I don't take my medication, I feel sick to my stomach, weak, and dizzy. I won't feel obligated to do anything. That's when I'm like, "I gotta take my meds." Oh, the little white oval one is Lipitor. That's just for cholesterol. BRIAN SPENCER