SHE: Well, hello! It’s good to see you. It’s been a while. How are you?
HE: Good. Yeah, I’m doing pretty well. Thanks.
SHE: Great. That’s super. I’m glad. Come in, come in. Have a seat. So, let’s see…, your labs look good. Kidney’s fine. Liver’s fine. Your sugar was up a bit. Did you fast before or no?
HE: No, I didn’t. It was midday, though, and I hadn’t eaten for a few hours.
SHE: That’s fine. It’s not a big deal. Things look good. So, how are you feeling otherwise?
HE: Good. I still have moments, you know. I still have times when I can feel myself going one way or the other, and I can feel how I push the outer edges of things, you know?
SHE: Ok. How do you mean?
HE: Well, I can feel myself slipping into a manic place and it almost feels like I’m changing in some way; literally changing into somebody else. I’m making choices that I don’t want to make, and I don’t even know why.
But, then I think I can work it out. I can see that I’m headed down a dark tunnel, so to speak, and things aren’t going to be ending well, and I pull back. Sometimes it’s the opposite, though. Sometimes I see myself falling down. I’m drowning in all of the potential misery, all of the possibilities of all of the things that could go wrong– my wife dying, my kids getting sick, you know, all the worst stuff.
So I step back, go for a run or something, and try to regroup. So far, so good, I guess. I haven’t tried to run myself off of the road in a while, you know?
SHE: I think those are some good insights, don’t you?
HE: Yeah. I guess so. Yeah.
SHE: You talked before about being afraid that your creativity would be stifled with the Lithium. Do you still feel that way? You’ve been on it for a while now. Definitely long enough to know.
HE: I don’t like how I feel when I’m on it. I feel emotionally castrated. The truth is, I stopped taking it. I haven’t been on it for quite some time. I just took it for about a week before I went in for those labs.
SHE: I see. Do you think that’s wise?
HE: Probably not. I know you called it a…what did you call it?…a “mood stabilizer,” but I feel like it keeps me from places I need to go emotionally. On the other hand, there are some places I don’t want to go to emotionally ever again, in my real life, anyway. You know what I mean?
SHE: I can understand that.
HE: Can you?
SHE: I think so.
SHE: Have you been drinking at all?
HE: Sometimes I do.
SHE: To self medicate? Escape?
HE: Sometimes, yes.
SHE: Does it help?
HE: No. It makes it worse.
SHE: What do you think about that?
HE: I think it might be time to stop.
SHE: That probably would be best. (a brief silence)
It’s been a while since we talked about what happened. Would you like to talk about that today?
SHE: Okay, then. Can we talk about you taking your medication again?
HE: I guess so.
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