When we head out of town, I always dread the packing part of the trip. The whole proactively choosing outfits in advance makes me panic. What if I pick out the peace sign shirt with dark denim jean shorts to wear, and come Saturday I want to wear the flowered shirt instead? Once packed, I start pondering, “Did I forget something?” My travel is not often to third world countries where there is not a Target store filled to the brim with everything my heart desires, and will aid me in finding what I have forgotten (in the case of our most recent trip, bathing suits, pajamas and paper towels).
One thing that I cannot easily get on vacation would be my prescriptions. If I am traveling and I do forget my medication, in most cases, I am shit out of luck. I HAVE been on a trip, HAVE forgotten medication and HAVE been in horrible pain as a result. Now days, one of the first things I pack is my handy dandy bag-o-pills. It’s a whole routine…double counting pills, making sure I have each pill for each condition, for each day, in the right bottle, that goes into the bag and then I check it twice… much like Santa checking his list, checking it twice, finding out who’s naughty and who’s nice. And then I go into the emergency prepared mode… this consists of getting the medication I need in case an episode of depression creeps in, and let us not forget the medication I need in case mania shoots me high like the fourth of July. Sleep is the golden ticket to my trip to the Chocolate Factory, and that’s why I bring my five-pound tempur-pedic pillow. And I can’t go anywhere without my Darth Vader machine, aka my CPAP machine. I know that it helps me sleep, but let’s not pretend that the real reason I have the contraption is that it helps my partner sleep by keeping e from snoring, not sure how, but that’s why it is the magical little black box.
I often think that it would just be easier to stay home, no hassle that way. Everything I need is right where I am used to having it, no need to put medication in new bottles, or fold clothes away in a small suitcase. There’s no risk associated with what stressors I may encounter while away from home (like no electricity in your hotel room, a child that gets stung by a sting ray, second degree sun burns because you forgot to put sunblock on the tops of your feet, you know those kinds of things). If I stay home it’s more likely that everything will stay balanced.
But then I look myself in the mirror and I tell myself that I cannot be afraid. That, no matter what happens, I will be fine. That yes, there’s a chance that I could go manic, that I could forget something, that an issue may come up and I may not know what to do. But, I will figure it out and I’ll be ok.
When you have a mental illness, you live your life differently, but you get to live. If that means that you spend extra time packing medication and sleep devices, that’s what you do. We cannot allow a mental illness to keep us from experiencing life and going on adventures. It’s possible to have a mental illness and be well, to have happiness, and to live a well-balanced life. We just need to make the decision to do it.
#bipolar #depression #anxiety #traveling #prescription #mania #sleepapnea #Target #mentalillness #chronicillness #happiness #balance #adventure