Reasons to be cheerful
I took the Lithium because my G.P said I needed to, I took it because my
family said I needed to, I took it because I felt life was so shit I
couldn't think of an alternative. The people in my head thought I was
stupid to take it and they took the piss out of me, but eventually they
stopped nagging me and I took it. The drug turned me into a perfect
Stepford wife, except I was really, really fat, I could do the shopping
and I could feed the kids and I never got angry or sad or happy, or
anything at all, I just got fatter and fatter wrapped up in my cloud of
grey, surrounded by a huge wall I knew I was the other side of, I just
couldn't get to me anymore. So after a year in this chemical prison I
started to reduce the dosage, I don't know or care if I spoke to the
Doctor, it was my body and my choice. With the reduction I found myself
again, it was heavenly. I started to lose weight, I had more energy and
I cared about everything again. And I started to argue with my husband,
I felt the restrictions of family life tightening around me and I
couldn't bear it.
So on May 1st I left. I lived in a van and I hung out with the homeless
and the alcoholics and the recreational drug users, but I only ever
drank, because I fucking hate drugs. And my mate said, 'a little bit of
this will help', as she passed me the vodka at 9 in the morning, and I
trusted her. And it did help for a while.
But then I realised I was not like these people and I retreated to my
van, parking in lay-by's, and missing my children, but glad of the
freedom to be me, as I sank lower and lower into suicidal visions and
compulsions. By now I had stopped the medication and the alcohol, I was
clean and alive, and dreadfully depressed.
I became a Goddess, the Universe was a gift and I wanted to share this
beauty so I went to Cornwall, to see the sea, to see my family. And
there, amongst the fairies and demons and love and terror, I was sectioned.
I spat out their drugs, even when they gave me dissolving
anti-psychotics and kept me talking, I still rushed to the loo and spit
out as much of the fizzy yellow poison as I could. I recited mantra's to
survive, like 'we are all one', and 'that which does not destroy me
makes me stronger', and 'if they can't destroy me in the bin then I will
Less than a month later I was back to my home town and a homeless
hostel, and a handful of anti-psychotics and threats of Lithium and I
told the Psychiatrist I was taking them, even though I wasn't. He asked
what the Community Mental Health team could do for me and I told him I
wanted a community art centre and a space full of love and light and
optimism, and someone to cook for me. He said 'we cannot provide that'
and I said 'but it's what I need to recover', and he said, 'you are
doing my head in' and he discharged me.
I was non-compliant, I was homeless and I was off the planet, but I was
The visions and voices still invaded my life, I couldn't sleep or eat
and eventually in November I took a homeopathic remedy. The harassment
in my head ceased over the next couple of days and I started to rebuild
my life. I spent my time in the hostel eating well; first I ate in
cafes because I couldn't cook, then I began to make salads, full of
healthy ingredients. I walked miles for exercise. I believed I was
important, I wrote and I sewed and I joined an art course at the college
and my G.P listened to me talk and occasionally prescribed me
homeopathic remedies which worked like magic. And I stayed away from my
old acquaintances. And I always believed the Universe provided whatever
we need to learn and grow, and I learned how to be good and I learned
how to be well. And I went to the MDF (Manic Depression Fellowship)
support group and I was supported and I supported others. I saw my
children and I got a flat, I got a divorce, it was all very amicable,
and two years later I got a heavenly house and I share the children with
their father and we are all happy and free.
It is now almost four years since I started to reduce the medication and
not for one day do I regret my choice, the journey here was hard at
times, but good things don't come easy. The only way I can keep the
monsters away from me, and the paranoia and the terrors is to live a
good life. So now I am a very reluctant Buddhist kind of a person, and
as long as I never do anything wrong I only have the funny and good
people living in my head. And that's my journey of coming off the
I still see a shaman, who is brilliant and I still use homeopathy. And I
still believe in the Universal energy, because it is bigger than
everything and it is me, and you, and all of us and we are all one. And
that is all I wanted to tell people and that is delusions of grandeur
and needs forcibly medicating out of you.
Non-compliance is the first step to recovery.