I Love Lithium. You Might Too.

I love Lithium. Finally, my brain and my thoughts are running at the same speed. I can listen and follow a conversation and answer back. Without Lithium, my mind analyzes what is said and I’m lost in my thoughts. I also have a hard time memorizing. If I can figure out how something works, I’m good.

It was so frustrating. Everyone thought I was smart, but I couldn’t read. I seemed to try but I lost focus. I wasn’t following the conversation. It was like a learning disability.

Well, let me tell you, first you say something interesting and it made me think of something else. As I think of something else, I think of yet something even more interesting. Within a minute, I have totally analyzed your problem and have a solution. You have gone on and made your point. I am very embarrassed that I missed what you were saying.

Here is the kicker. The quick thinking has an ugly name in the medical community. It is called psychotic thinking. You jump from one thought to the next. I was diagnosed bipolar or manic-depressive after a PTSD incident. So, being super smart means I am mentally ill. Go figure.

I was a “normal” person until I had my incident. I was sleep deprived with a little daughter. I had stress at work and my family hated my husband. At work, I was given a job that needed to be completed by Friday. I worked day and night and tried to sleep under my desk. My husband and daughter were mad because I wasn’t coming home. By Friday morning, I had to leave work. They called a morning meeting for me to tell them how to proceed. I was so exhausted I broke down crying. I don’t know how I got home.

The stage was set. I couldn’t get my sleep back. My blood pressure was 160/100 which kept me from being able to sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking. I was getting maybe two hours of sleep a night. A month of that and I finally snapped. Mikel started to look like his father to me. The manager who caused the crisis was a family friend , which made Mikel hostile towards the man. He was very mean to me.

In the hospital, I was despondent for days. I remember having a non-verbal conversation with a guy using hand gestures and single word comments. It made me feel that God was in control and I’d be okay. They gave me Haldol and Lithium and I slowly snapped out of it. Since Lithium worked to restore my mind, I was downgraded from schizophrenic to bipolar.

However, my life as I knew it was over.

  • This happened when I was 33 in the 1990s.
  • I was damaged goods and not allowed to take care of my precious daughter.
  • My condition was a family secret.
  • I lost all my jobs.
  • Life as I knew it was over.
  • Stigma won the day and poisoned my husband’s mind.

I am medicated to this day. I have also taken Seroquel for twenty years. I used to crash every three years. The body sometimes gets used to a med or it causes a side effect. I am fortunate to recently be put back on Lithium for the third time. I’ve been taken off due to hypothyroidism or high creatine level affecting my kidneys.

I am extremely sensitive to sleeplessness. Doctors say two days with little sleep is enough to make the mind become psychotic with rambling unfocused thoughts. This happens to everyone, but for me, it’s a warning sign to get sleep immediately.

I ask you, if everyone who is sleep deprived becomes psychotic, does that make everyone bipolar?

I think everyone should take Li on a preventive basis. It can clear up your thinking. Take some Li instead of having a cigarette and enjoy your cup of coffee. Let’s stop labelling people as mentally ill because they did not get a good night’s sleep or they’re smarter than you are.

Thanks to Lithium, my thoughts stay in line with the outside world. I love Lithium. You Might Too. There is a town west of Fort Worth, where this story takes place, with higher levels of Lithium in the water. There is less incidence of mental illness there.

When I was six, I tested off the charts in intelligence. My brain works very fast and I make connections most people don’t see. Being bipolar is a unique gift. Being dragged to the bottom and finding God there makes me humble, understanding, and optimistic because I see the possibilities.. Bipolar is a bless and I am an engineer.

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Linda Iggy Dean

Writer, Armenian, bipolar, Engineer, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), Ayurveda follower, MBA graduate of Walsh College in Troy Michigan in 2014. Mother/stepmother of five. Iggy The Writer is a collection of speeches, opinions and history.

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