Friday, June 20, 2014

First steps again

I remember this feeling from the first time. The shuffling of the brain, the sense of things ordering, a small space of quiet in my head. The ideas continue to bloom as they always do, but the edge has come off of the obsessions. I have a sense to get this moment down, as I can't be sure of the memories I hold of the last time. The last time I started ADHD meds.

It's called Strattera. It's an norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Classy right? The last time I took it, it seemed a miracle to me. I worry that this memory is too stained by the circumstances around it. That I have made it better in my memory than it actually was. I was in a horrible place. Alone and adrift surrounded by people and places that meant nothing to me and I meant little to them. I had pushed myself, berated myself so hard into getting to this place I thought I wanted. And then it all crumbled. I had clawed my way up to the top of a hill but it took all I had. I know now that I had to be stripped of all these things to finally face myself and ask for help. I had to accept that my being weird wasn't simply a state of mind but a mere side effect of a brain that was fundamentally different. I was broken and torn into all my small pieces. So I laid down and asked for help. I asked for better living through pharmaceuticals. I was ready to try anything, do anything to escape from the prison that was my own mind.

Then there she was, sitting so calm and peaceful, my angel of psychiatry. She opened a door, illuminated my whole life and all I've struggled with. Four letters made my entire existence make sense; A.D.H.D. I wasn't just lazy and I wasn't a loser. I was a victim of a silent inner war. I was really strong and brave and a fighter.

Then there it was, that little pill, so small and dainty in my hand. What could I lose? It certainly couldn't get worse. At that point, I would have traded the rest of my life for a week of peace. I wish I could say that I was exaggerating, that I could downplay how desperate I was to live a different life, be a different person. And it worked. I could meditate. I could study. I could get out of bed. I could have just a little ice cream and not the whole gallon. I saw a person I could be. I saw a future.

Then there I was, mercifully graduated. I didn't have any money. I didn't have a job. I didn't have insurance. My mind slipped back into the fog. Having seen what I could be, I weeped when I saw where I had lived my whole life. How had I gotten through life so far? How did I ever stand this mental nightmare?

Now life has steadily gotten better. I got a full time job. I got back into my beloved opera chorus. I got a church job. I knew it was time to take the biggest step. It took me over a year but I finally went. I faced all my irrational fear and procrastination. And here I am, on day 4 and I feel the medicine start to work in my brain.

I am scared again. Of what? There will be no excuses left. I will be able to make my own choices and go for my own destiny. Will I be strong enough? Will I be enough? We'll see. But first I feel my brain knitting itself together. Time will tell it's tale.