The summer. A lovely time of rest for those of us on the academic calendar, where rest is defined as hardcore work or research if you’re past your Bachelors.

Or something like that. It’s also been a weird little thing in that it’s been my time to most directly spend in management of my mental illness. Taking time off to actually rest, working ahead on things i know will come up in the year, trying new medicines, looking for a therapist, getting in to a workout schedule…all the things great and small that make a difference in how i function day to day.

This summer is going to be a little different. I’m going to be taking more medicine, and finding a doctor.

The drug in question is my lovely and patient friend, Xanax. While i’ve had a script for it for some time, and used it during some particularly bad attacks…I’ve been quite stingy with my use. Partly because no doctor that sees me less than once a year is going to hand out a large script for it, and partly due to my fears of addiction.

The doctor in question isn’t going to be doing a whole lot more (as far as i know) than writing said perscription. Ze will be most useful in writing documentation that i will be submitting to Yale as record of a disability.

So yes, a little different. My point is this. I need to reject my internalization of the idea that it’s better to suffer through this, or to “be strong” about my condition. One bad night can quickly turn in to one bad week in to one bad month. It’s about time that i start catching my episodes in the bud, instead of stoicly waiting for the Big One to take my pills. Yes, they can be habit forming, and i will be watching myself carefully. But i know now that i can handle subtances with addictive potential, espeically with the support and guidance of friends and family. I refuse to be scared of my medication anymore. In fact, despite being an opiate, i’m more comfortable with Xanax than any of the SSRIs or neurochemical reuptake inhibitors. It forms an adjunct to my natural coping mechanisms of relaxation and sleep.

The documentation is going to be there for me next year, and I want to be working with the knowledge that I don’t just have the ability to get extensions or adjustments (based on the good will of faculty or our infamously helpful Associate Dean of Students) but on my legal right to do so under the ADA. I’ve heard my last self-rationalization as to why I haven’t filed formal paperwork before, and have told myself that it has ceased to be professional to avoid recognition of the legitimate demands that I make for accomodation.

I realized I hadn’t done a post on mental illness in a while, and I wanted to make sure I kept up with that part of my blogging. I might do a short run on this, as there have been some good prompts in the media lately. My premise is that a society that is accepting and affirming of people with disabilities will be aware of the fact that social requirements are constructed and may not reflect the goals or abilities of all members of the community. Flexible and humane revisioning of these requirements will be a value to all persons, especially those who have been marginalized by dominant discourses. This isn’t just about mental health.

-sly

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