Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Boat is Shrinking



I shared a bit about mental illness over on Middle Places earlier this week. It has been on my mind a lot lately for so many reasons. Some of those reasons were discussed in the previous post (writing mental illness authentically in fiction) and some aren't mine to share. But one of those reasons is myself and my medication. Knowing when a medication has stopped working, or is not working as well, can be difficult.

You mean it's not as simple as finding a med that works and then taking it everyday and TA DA! All better?

Right.

I think of my medication as a boat.

Depression, in my life, is a raging river. It will drown me if I let it. Most people have emotional rivers, and sometimes those rivers rage. Sometimes they are calm. My river is forever in the rapids.

A medication that works is a boat. It doesn't take me off the river, but it lets me live my life. I can still feel the rhythm of the water underneath me.

A good medication isn't a big boat. We aren't talking a cruise ship, where I sip margaritas and read and everything is rainbows and chocolates on my pillow. That isn't reality. I need a boat big enough to protect me but small enough that I am still connected to myself.

A medication that isn't working as well becomes a life raft. I'm not drowning, but I am a little too close to those rapids for my mental health to remain stable. I have to hold on tight and be alert.

If I act then... talk to my doctor, take care of myself, etc... I can climb back into the bigger boat. If I don't act... if I try to ignore my situation, I will find my life raft shrinking. Eventually, I am bobbing down the river in a life vest, trying to keep my head above water.

Lately, I've noticed my boat shrinking. It's not quite down to a life raft yet. I'm in a canoe maybe. I'm gripping my oar and trusting other people to paddle with me.

There are all sorts of boats. All sorts of treatments. The same options don't work for everyone and they don't work forever.

I was just thinking of all of this and thought I would share. I got such a positive response when I wrote about mental illness before. Who knows... maybe someone will read this and realize they are drowning.

If that is you, please ask for help. Reach out, friend. Let someone pull you into the boat.

1 comment:

  1. Another beautiful post.
    I think the only thing I would add is that treatment is multi-faceted. It's not just medication but a number of moving parts to help keep you afloat. Just as a boat is not just one part - you do need the oars, a motor, whatever. The loss of one can be lessened by another but sometimes it just keeps you out of the water - not from spinning out of control in the rapids.
    Big hugs to you and hopefully, this will pass and you'll find yourself on that cruise - for at least a day or two.

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