I have spent hundreds of pages, over the past ten years, reading and writing, talking about what it’s like to be sick. Before that I had also spend years keeping my mouth tightly shut in privacy. I’ve talked about side effect hells and horrible doctors and an illness that tries to drag you, kicking and screaming, into endless darkness on a daily basis.
But when things aren’t worse than you can possibly imagine, when the knives are down and the tissue box is full, what, exactly is that like? What does it feel like when the psych meds work? What is it like when the voices are silent? The shadows no longer move? The irrational thoughts are clearer? The financial decisions make sense?
For those of you who know what it is when psych meds work, it is like being freed from sleep paralysis. To put it lightly, it’s like waking in the middle in the of the night with a fierce demon sitting on your chest sucking the very breath from your lungs.
For years, ever so often I would awake in the middle in the night paralyzed in my body. Unable to move. Unable to scream while you dream seeing this thing, this demon sitting your chest with its full weight constricting your chest. Imagine waking fully conscious while your entire body remains paralyzed as if still asleep while at the same time part of the brain remains asleep. The part that dreams. Your organs are still slowed such as your lungs and heart.
There’s no kicking or swinging your arms. No rolling. Just a suffocating feeling. Until finally you are able to muster up the ability to moan and moan some more until you can moan even louder in until you can get your spouse’s attention to wake you up. The only way to wake you is to give you a hard shake. A jolt and a loud scream.
Finally you are awake. You grasp for air and can breath and the demon is gone. His face has gone away. The weight is lifted off your chest. You have been given back full control and functions of your limbs. They are yours and belong to you again. Your heart and lungs function at full capacity. The fear of imminent of death is no long at the grasp of your hands. You are free and function on your own.
When my meds are not working it feels like my sleep paralysis. When they are, I feel free.