#681: HERE'S TO HOPING

It can be very nice, and in fact crazy good, to start taking a medication that seems to do all the tricks you wanted it to do, except, of course, for the annoyance of extra sweating.

It can be life-saving to find relief from claustrophobia, agoraphobia, anxiety, depression, and paranoia.

Sometimes that drug you find can make you feel so good and so whole for awhile that you remember you had forgotten what it was like to want to walk out into the day.

But then, and this will happen, because it should happen if you are a whole person who feels and thinks all up and down the scale: one day after all those good days you might feel very trapped again, and maybe it will last for two or three days, which will terrify you, because that is precisely the feeling you were using the medication to leave behind.

I suppose that it should be alright to go off the rails occasionally, even when it is what you least expected, because you had convinced yourself that you had it covered.

You might wonder if the drug is still working or if you need a higher dose or if you've been taking it incorrectly, which you think is likely the case, because it's not the drug, no, it can't be, because it is the perfect drug, the right drug; it is, because it's the only one that hasn't turn your urine green or given you headaches or made you sleep all day or given you spontaneous ideas to throw yourself in front of taxis or slit your wrists in the warm dishwater.

You hope that this is a short-term thing, that it is a natural reaction to normal life stress and the fact that you forgot to take it last Wednesday, because even non-crazy people feel bad sometimes, so this could be normal.

Normal.

After thirty-two years of this, you don't know how non-crazy people feel when they feel bad, though, so you worry that because this bad feels a lot like the old bad that made you skip meetings and stay home sick and eat nothing but tortilla chips with salsa and become completely dysmorphic, you should not have let your hopes rise on this one pharmaceutical bubble.

You not only blame yourself for what is hopefully only a few days during which the medication is just. not. doing. enough., but you are now blaming yourself for being fool enough to hope at all.

You think maybe that hoping is for suckers or people who don't need medication to leave the house.

You chastise yourself for thinking that hope is a fool's urge, because you really believe, or at least you need to believe, that from now on to the end of time despair can be seen as a temporary thing, like influenza or plantar warts.

It should be alright to go off the rails occasionally, and you know that you should give yourself the permission you are withholding to be a person with a vivid emotional life that is not wholly unfounded in personal experience.

You secretly sometimes want a perfect emotional life in which your emotions can always be deemed appropriate, but this kind of perfection is robotic, which you do not desire; in the end, perfect looks distasteful, like a cool flatline of pretty good.

The skin you're in demands more, and you know that, so let this ugly spell be.

It needs no further teasing out; breathe.