I was coming down off the last painkiller left in my dresser drawer after Autumn tossed my stash. In that moment I was so groggy and happy I would have accepted a date with Oscar the Grouch - and planned to do some serious feeling up on the green furry beast too. Yeah, stooping to pharmaceutical-inspired sex fantasies about garbage can Sesame Street characters - that had to be the best Just Say No drug lecture a girl in a leg cast could ever receive to make her go cold turkey off the meds.
I've been accustomed to mysteries, holy and otherwise, since I was a child. Some of us care for orphans, amass fortunes, raise protests or Nielsen ratings; some of us take communion or whiskey or poison. Some of us take lithium and antidepressants, and most everyone believes these pills are fundamentally wrong, a crutch, a sign of moral weakness, the surrender of art and individuality. Bullshit. Such thinking guarantees tradgedy for the bipolar. Without medicine, 20 percent of us, one in five, will commit suicide. Six-gun Russian roulette gives better odds. Denouncing these medicines makes as much sense as denouncing the immorality of motor oil. Without them, sooner or later the bipolar brain will go bang. I know plenty of potheads who sermonize against the pharmaceutical companies; I know plenty of born-again yoga instructors, plenty of missionaries who tell me I'm wrong about lithium. They don't have a clue.