Sunday, October 11, 2009

Laughter is the best medicine...sometimes.

Yesterday, I was playing CoH. We were engaged in summoning the giant amoeba, Hamidon, and then destroying it. As time went on, I found myself...not having fun. I was getting irritated at little things, like bad and/or tasteless jokes. And it kept occurring to me, This is a game. It's supposed to be fun. If you're not having fun, why are you playing?

And then it came to me...I haven't been taking my psych meds of late. In fact, with the exception of a random dose or two since my arrival in KS, I've basically fallen off them.

It's simple, really. I'd been deceived by life. Ray and Cody are fun guys whom I can chat with for great lengths of time. There's been more laughter in the last couple of weeks than I've had in YEARS, and laughter, in case you didn't know, gets those endorphins pumping.

Endorphins stimulate healing and promote good feelings. Aside from my usual aches and pains, I was feeling so good mentally that I started forgetting more and more to take my psych meds. Well, there's a reason I'm on them. I'm chronically mentally ill. I may FEEL better, but am not ACTUALLY better. Since I awoke to this new issue, I have been taking my meds properly...which is really just a few days ago.

In a way, I almost wish forgetting my psych meds was like forgetting my insulin. When I fail to take the latter, the symptoms come along within a few hours. But psych meds take a long time to take affect, four to six weeks, and take days to wear off, sometimes up to a week. Even then, missed doses of the psych stuff don't have symptoms that I can pick up on immediately. Miss a dose on insulin, and my skin begins to burn...I start running to the rest room frequently...and in a matter of hours, I have labored breathing laced with the sweet and sour taste of acetone, called Kussmaul breathing. (It's a method of the body to release acid from the bloodstream.)

But my psych symptoms? I have to be on the lookout for them, and they can be very sneaky. I mean, I'm having fun in the new place. Lots to discuss. Lots of jokes to be made and laughed at. Lots of amusement to be had by housemates who like to find ways of scaring me. (I know you're reading this, you big meanie-heads!) But as you can see, I was relatively okay with these things, right up until the moment when I was playing my favorite MMO. It was then that I realized certain aspects of my mental illnesses could come out of nowhere to bite me on the existence.

Allow me to exemplify how this could be bad. Let's make the assumption that human beings will, at some point, argue. It happens with everyone, everywhere. The best of friends will argue about something, and I don't mean a fight. No, fighting is when people raise their voices, perhaps even fists, and feelings and bodies get hurt. An argument is one person standing his/her ground on one point, while another person dose the same on another point, and a "heated" discussion ensues. On my meds, this is not an issue. Off my meds...? Well, we can start with my logic, which tends to be off my a few millimeters, and then move on to my feelings becoming easily hurt. Once I blow that mental fuse, the thoughts that come to mind will have no restraints. They hate me. Everyone hates me. The world would be better off without me. And then I am usually overwhelmed by suicidal thoughts...and no one tends to know about it. I shed my tears only when I'm alone, and make an effort not to be heard, and the suicide plotting begins.

I can't risk that. I won't risk that. I made a point of making sure I had psych meds before I left AZ, so I have more than enough to get myself back on them...but it's staying on them that is also important. I can't allow myself to be deceived by good times. I can't rely solely on laughter, no matter how good a medicine it's believed to be.

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