Between Meds and Madness

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Yesterday, I called my brother. I thought he was coming up this weekend so I just wanted to check up on him. Since I had him on the phone we got to talking and catching up.  It had been a while.

Phone conversations with my brother start with, “how are you?” And with the same, polite, gentle push (think Newton’s Theories) there is the reply, “oh, I’m good.”  We pause for a second to switch utensils, what was a first a feather then becomes a scalpel.  “Uh huh…tell me more about that,” he’ll say.  And shit. Inevitably, without fail, everything I’ve been holding onto comes out in a disturbing mess of words pouring, perhaps vomiting out in a congealed mass, then scatter as they hit the floor.

I told my brother how I wasn’t doing well, at the time. I was stricken with envy, frustrated at my lack of connection with people, and overall exhausted with putting energy into work, friends, or really anything. This came through clearly, but compounded with my brother’s memory of having this conversation over,

and over, and over, and over

Time and time again.

Something he said, that I have heard before from many people, was, “Elias, I just want you to be happy.”  He continued, “I know you’re an incredibly perceptive person, and you think really deep to the root of things, but…well, I guess what I mean is…I don’t know what your thoughts are right now on medications, but…”

As he tapered off, a sigh slipped between my sealed lips.  I didn’t freeze up, but I was perplexed, not at him, but at the matter.  I though, why does the suggestion of getting on meds keep coming back up to me? I almost started laughing, am I THAT bad of a monster in my manic and depressive states that people are recognizing some need?

I told him this,

“Paul, yeah, it’s hard a lot of the time for me to go through my day.  I feel a lot, as you mentioned, and with that comes a lot of highs and lows.  Pain, though, is valuable to me.  There is a reason pain is experienced. It tells me to avoid something, it lets me know my limits, it may tell me what’s wrong in my body, or help me to set a standard in which to achieve.

And anxiety, depression; those are also forms of pain. They are not conditions, like a disease or illness, that I live with, but symptoms that tell me to get out, reconsider, or overcome a habit or lifestyle.

Paul, I don’t want medication because I want to know and feel who I am. If I take meds I will numb that critical ability to know what does and does not work for me, in essence arbitrarily or maybe just pre-maturely drawing boundaries and creating a figure of my spirit.  That pain tells me yes or no and helps me refine what I need out of life at the moment.

Right now, what I lack is certainty, and what I have right now is a lifestyle that I give into all too often. I know there are parts of myself that I am well aware of and still tend to neglect or dismiss. I guess my problem is not a lack of awareness, but a lack of will.”

I recognize I have an artist’s mind. People tell me that, too, though I still don’t call myself an artist.  I know that when I close my eyes and there are thousands of colors that I could never see. Every moment, a melody runs through my soul and tapers my emotions. I know, that for a long time I thought that I could never really hold relationships with people because of my wild energy that reacts when housed, held, or caught. It’s terrifying sometimes knowing that at some point I will hurt my friends, or the people closest to me. But, I also have to hold on to the belief that this is not absolute.

It’s not to say there’s a world there for me to live in, but a way of life. I may not find it, but I believe I will develop it for myself. But how do I get there? Metamorphosis? Selling all my things? Cutting all ties?  At the moment, I still haven’t recognized my needs, but I feel a sense of boredom, depression, isolation, and suffocation living how I am currently.   I know is that I don’t need to change, no rather it’s time I grow into myself and start respecting my age.  Even still, I can say this, make this my intention, but I fear I will just come right back to where I started.


Only two weeks later after this conversation with my brother and I am right back to where I started.  Sleep, breath, exercise, quiet, all these things right now serve to balance me.  Tonight, I had a moment where I realized I was not isolated, no I am definitely not alone, but rather stuck and surrounded, and that has caused me to feel immobile.  For as long as I allow myself to go to far I will continue that pain.  At what point does it hurt so much that I am humbled from it and stop?  Possibly never.  Motivation is not found from the avoidance of suffering, it’s found in the road to believing.

So what am I doubting of myself that I don’t believe in myself?  Somewhere between meds and madness there is a truth to who I am.

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