Remember when you’re in a particular mood, everything you see and hear reinforces that mood? I’m in an extended version of that. I take five medications to keep myself even keel. For two years as the number of pills rose and fell, I groused that I had to take even one. Eventually, as the number crept up, I became resigned to the idea of ingesting medication cocktails, something which horrified me since my job dealt with mainly failed therapeutic and pharmaceutical attempts to gain “normalcy.” I referred sarcastically to them as my “Happy Pills” because they weren’t actually making me happy. The idea of being upbeat and happy was as alien and weird as my perky friend chirped when my backpack was stolen in London: “well, we’ve never been to a British police station before!” (No, I didn’t smack her). However as the depression receded, I realized that the little compressed rolls of chemicals really were my happy pills. Now I’m horrified not at the number but at the niggling fear that I might have forgotten to take them. (That’s usually just a momentary fear of relapse).
This has been the lock screen on my iPhone. I found the smiley faces in an app program and edited the words. The old me would have found the picture corny and nauseating overkill; adding the words would have been inconceivable. Now both the picture and words have meaning. Each pill says that I need and must not forget them; if they fail, then there will be other pills to take their place. They aren’t a cure or a panacea; only a means by which I can live life fully. The words remind me to live that life and appreciate it, no matter how small the activity. So each morning when I wake feeling contented and exhilarated, I revel that feeling. If my new sheets feels especially soft, I roll around in them. When I opened the blinds finally and washed the bedroom windows after three years, I felt pride in the accomplishment instead of fixating on the dirt and the cobweb. (Yikes!) When completing a task, I congratulate myself. When speaking to a neighbor, I smile. When petting Patty, cheer that she’s happy, healthy and groomed. I concentrate on the positive side of things. So I understand my friend a little better now. While I might not bounce to the police station, I do stay “GOOD morning” to people and mean it. ***
*** Don’t worry. I’ve got a gallon of Snarky Pills on the side too. I’ll take one tomorrow. SHHHH!