October 19th was the one month mark on lithium, and I actually feel human again. All of my worries about lithium not working appear to have been worries for nothing. And, the blood work checking for toxicity or organ damage literally could have not come back cleaner. I am relieved, for now.
For twenty hellish months, the mania escalated and escalated but never broke. I experienced psychosis, mixed states that threatened my life, a severe lack of sleep, hypercreativity, nearly everything but a full delusional break with reality.
I thought it was rad in the hypomanic stages. I thought it was a superpower to not sleep and to be as productive as I was. As such, I resisted treatment for almost a full year, not realizing what the cost on my soul would be. I didn’t realize that hypomania prolonged for that long would eventually lead to full-blown capital ‘M’ mania. And by the point I did realize, it was too late for all other pharmaceuticals even at max FDA-allowed dosages to work. I thought for sure I was fucked.
However, lithium did rein me in and now I’m close or at baseline for the first time in almost two years. Triggers are having a hard time breaking baseline, which is also a very good thing. There was a very scary system shock between days two and three of lithium, where my psychiatric state was in full revolt and I did almost bite it, but with the help of friends, I powered through and then reached stability, much to the relief of said friends and myself.
As awful as it appeared to the outside world, my manic hell was infinitely worse than any could have possibly imagined. I do truly hope that my friends forgive me (I know they do) and that they have even the slightest understanding of how appreciative I am for their resolve and compassion in helping me stay alive.
I cannot be more grateful for lithium. It has saved my life. Yeah, the world is a hellscape that is quickly going off the rails, but I’m much better poised to roll with it than succumb to it now. I encourage anyone with medicine-resistant Bipolar Disorder not to write off lithium. Yes, it’s non-optimal, but it also can save lives. I know for a fact that it saved mine.