Going off medication is like riding a bike.
The doctor holds tight to my handlebars and lowers my dosage. The training wheels are off, and oh hey, look at me go! It's like flying but not, and I'm doing so well but then there's a horrible accident and I'm somehow upside down at the bottom of the sea with both wheels still spinning.
"Help," I say, and my doctor pats my head, puts a band-aid on my knee, and writes a note on my chart.
I've balanced by myself for months at a time, but I always end up hitting a fucking tree or falling off a cliff or something equally catastrophic because I am a catastrophic person. Except that is an exaggeration. I am an exaggeration.
I like to compare mental illnesses to mundane physical activities. Also you should know that I am sick but trying to get better.
Sometimes I relapse and then write poems about it.
It's not even the kind of sick where people bring you soup in bed and soothe your fevered brow. It's the kind of sick where I'm late to work because I have to unplug every appliance, double check that they are unplugged, and then push against the locked door twenty-one times while the cat next door gives me the side eye. It's the kind of sick that doesn't go away after some orange juice and ibuprofen.
Mostly it's the kind of sick where my brain is drunk and high and lost a fight at some bar and is maybe suicidal and likes to count things.
Okay, see, the other day I cut off my car and then restarted it for three minutes and thirteen seconds. Some man walked past and craned his neck to see what I was doing, and I waved my hand at him like hello, don't mind me, this is perfectly normal except for the part where it isn't normal at all, and I'm very sorry, also please don't crane your neck like that because it looks very uncomfortable.
So then I waited until he was out of sight and restarted my car again for good measure, because fuck everything.
It's not that I am forgetful. I know I locked the door. I know I put the car in park. I know my house won't catch fire and burn down if I leave my laptop on the bed. So why do I always feel like I am going to throw up if I don't check and count, count and check?
Secretly I wish I were a tree, because trees can't get obsessive compulsive disorder.
The other day I was babysitting (again) because I relate to children better than I do people my own age. I drew a picture of a tree for the little girl. Then she showed me her picture, which was a page full of neon scribbles.
"Can you tell me about your drawing?" I asked. She looked me in the eye and said that she was pretending that she had a mental disorder when she drew it, which is why it looked crazy.
"Having a mental disorder doesn't necessarily mean you're crazy," I said.
"Yes it does," she said. "Also could you please not use up my blue marker?"
After we finished drawing she asked if we could ride bikes, and I said no because I was writing these words in my head and couldn't tell if I was going crazy or not, like maybe my life had just become one giant joke. We baked muffins instead, and even after she fell asleep I kept going into the kitchen to make sure that I really had cut the oven off.
I had, I knew I had. It didn't matter, though.
I think it's time to go back on medication, because even though they say that once you learn to ride a bike you'll never forget, I've forgotten. Or maybe I never learned in the first place, because I was too busy locking and unlocking my door and drawing pictures of trees.
I just feel like I should be able to ride the bike by now.