So I think this might be the best, most visual way to explain this.
My illness, ultradian or ultra ultra rapid cycling bipolar disorder type 1, is something I was most likely born with. One flavor or another of bipolar can be traced in at least one of my parents’ genetics, if not actual, confirmed diagnoses. It is the main reason I chose to remain childfree. My illness is a living, vibrant thing.
I look at it as a plant, aged and strong, rooted deep, entwined. Resilient. It consumes resources, sometimes more than I have available, leaving me in deficit, leaving me empty.
There is no brain; it is not sentient. There is no arguing with it, no reasoning. It lives, and breathes, and consumes.
Imagine you had such a plant, a green, growing thing. You were told it needed water every day.
So you water it, every day.
Your plant drinks the water, consumes it. Grows.
But one day, the soil is dry, even though you watered your plant that morning.
You add more water, hoping to not drown the poor thing.
It perks up, her leaves shiny. You relax.
The next day, your plant has collapsed, as if dead.
(she was fine the night before)
You water her, and watch, and wait.
Your plant seems to not be dead after all.
More water, but the soil is dry again. More water.
Your plant rallies, for a minute; an hour. More water.
(d r y)
You are exhausted from keeping watch over this wee thing
(how can she be so thirsty?)
and yet watch over her you must if she is to live(if
you are to live).
how is it that she consumes everything you are giving her? all your aid,
all your care.
All the tools you have seem useless (and yet you know they are working)
You understand that the only way to save her is to drown her
keep drenching her with water until she is overfloating
and then floating,
f i n a l l y
water as medicine, filling her veins, finally darkening the soil
as cannabis smoke fills my lungs, my bloodstream, finally lightening my mood.
Some days there isn’t enough water to slake her thirst.
Her soil dries, her leaves wilt; she droops.
Cannabis sativa is the only medicine I have ever taken
where I am comfortable controlling my dosage.
Where I know that no matter how much I need, that I will be safe.
That I don’t have to wait out some interminable half-life
to take another dose.
That self-medicating is no longer a dirty word.