I’m starting to believe that there are no psychiatric medications that can make me feel like myself again. Sure, they open neural pathways and manipulate chemicals allowing for significantly improved brain function. And I’m not complaining at all about that. In fact, that is pretty much the only reason I have been gainfully employed for the past 15 years. No matter which chemicals these medications target, however, there is another intangible part of me that is muted.
I started taking medication when I was 19, then I spent two years after that arguing that they don’t do shit. The I realized that they do do shit (heh) but they also made me feel like shit, so I railed against them again. Then I gave them another chance, albeit begrudgingly and was able to go to work consistently, keep a job for a long period of time, and even move up the work chain. I thought I was fixed, so I stopped taking the meds consistently.
After another in a series of terrible decisions (otherwise known as my twenties), I realized that I had a decision to make. I stick with the meds, keep my brain clear enough to keep working so I can have medical insurance so I can keep myself alive. That choice comes with a blurred sense of self and rounded edges, obscuring the scope of my emotions. My other choice was declining to take the meds, allowing for extreme mood swings, inconsistent performance at work, probably moving from job to job, and increased speed of self destruction. On the other hand I would know that I am purely myself, harried mess that I am. I would feel everything deeply. I’d enjoy sex again. Life would be colorful again.
I chose the former. I have worked hard and achieved a lot. I am able to be in a long term relationship, I have meaningful relationships with my friends. I have built a life with a future. But the colors are gone. I’m starting to miss the colors. I feel like there’s a piece of myself that doesn’t get to live.
I’m not saying I made the wrong choice, and I’m not saying that I regret any of the experiences I’ve had along the way. I chose productivity and I am proud of my achievements. But I miss the colors.