Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Making Sense of it All

My name is Nathan. I have been married to Jane for over 17 years. I have always known that my wife was unique. At times she could be creative, upbeat, and full of energy. She would always think outside the “proverbial box”. Then there were times when she would lose all her enthusiasm. She would struggle to get out of bed for weeks. These cycles were a normal occurrence for her. We were used to it and dealt with it year after year.

About the end of December of 2012, my wife made a goal to quit smoking for the upcoming New Year. She felt she was finally ready to give up cigarettes and her doctor gave her a prescription for Chantix. Sometime in mid-January, my wife woke me up in the middle of the night. She told me that the medication was messing with her head and that she needed to get off it. “It was taking her to dark places”. I immediately got out of bed and flushed them down the toilet. The drugs were expensive, but it did not matter. For several nights, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning searching the internet, looking for anything that talked about the side effects of Chantix. My first encounters led me to discussion boards about people who had loved ones that had bad experiences taking Chantix. There was a reoccurring theme that kept coming up on every discussion board I visited online. It kept talking about people with bipolar disorder and how the medication messed them up. Every time the subject would come up, I would move on to the next link because my wife was not bipolar. I knew she could be wild and crazy at times, but she was not “CRAZY”. I did not understand what bipolar disorder was and I dismissed the idea.

Chantix Sucks, n.d.
After quitting the medication, her thoughts continued to race and her ideas were way over the top. She acted like she was invincible and could do anything regardless of who she was hurting in the process. In all the time I had known Jane, I had never seen her act that way. She was completely irrational. Even though she was only on the medication for a few weeks, her behavior stayed that way for months. 

In March of 2013, I decided to see a psychologist due to all the stress at home. I needed to talk to someone. I gave the psychologist the run down. I explained that my wife was normally a nice, thoughtful person but I felt that she seemed to have changed into someone I did not know overnight. I told him that I loved her and that “she wasn’t normally like this”. When I asked him if her medication could be the cause of all the chaos, he assured me that “Chantix is a wonder drug” and that it would not do that. At the end of the appointment he asked me if I needed anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants because I was so stressed. I told him that medication was the last thing I needed. Eventually, I stopped seeing him.

I continued my search for answers online. While I struggled to figure things out, Jane decided she wanted to go back to school. She took an abnormal psychology course. While taking the class she learned about bipolar disorder and felt that she might have it. When we finally learned the facts about bipolar disorder, all my research made sense. We always knew my wife had her ups and downs, but didn’t know the cause. Now we know that Jane has a mental illness and we have discovered that there is a name for it. 

Image Cited

ChantixSurvivor. Chantix Sucks. Digital image. Word Press, n.d. Web. 15 Jun. 2014.
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