Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Dare You

I HATE people who dismiss mental illness as "craziness" or medical treatments as "quackery." I, of all people. am sceptical of the western-paradigm of medicine. For example, the name brand of the medicine prescribed to me costs $565. The generic is $120. Not all that accesible for many suffering from mental illness... Here's the thing - mental illness is a THING. It's not something you can get over or think yourself out of or be better or stronger than. I have been raised to "push yourself 110% and then ten steps further." I got all A's in school and if I didn't I was sad. I graduated Phi Betta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. I am NOT a slacker and I am NOT a loser. I am NOT a beggar eating out of trash cans. But I could be. This last week, my COBRA reimbursement hadn't come through. And a job offer was put on hold. Balanced, I could have dealt with this as unfortunately but a reason to just pull together my resources and Git Er Done. Unfortunately, I couldn't affort my meds until today. And yesterday, I found myself crying, scared and in bed. I didn't shower. I didn't put in my contacts. It wasn't a day I was proud of. But there wasn't much else I could do. Today, I managed to get up, get showered, and get to my doctors' appointments. I was "off" but I knew I needed help. And help I got. My doctor offered me some samples until I could afford my prescription. And then, in the parking lot, I took my meds. Not five hours later, I've sent in four applications for part time jobs, envision a cover letter for a position that could be truly awesome and come to the realization that the original offer might not be off the table but just not a priority right now. In short, I am functioning on a rational and clear level. I would love to say it's because I read a chapter of Thich Nat Han during lunch and took a yoga class after. But I know it's because the stuff that makes up my brain is being helped out by some chemical help. Mental issues - mental illness - isn't a made up thing. It's not an excuse. I am strong and intelligent and driven and ambitious. But I also have a brain that needs crutches when I get a mental shin splint. Tonight, I will go to sleep and know that I will wake up tomorrow - maybe a bit tired - but defintitely ready to get up and get out of bed.