‘That wasn’t the deal’

‘I know’ he says. ‘But you’re doing so well on both. Some people just need the cocktail.’

I don’t want a cocktail. I want one drug that worked, preferably one that doesn’t have insidious side effects, and I want to get on with my life.

I stare at him for a full twenty seconds. He sighs.

‘Give the full-dose Lamictal a chance to work – say a month – then you can go off lithium—’

I smile, triumphant.

‘—and SEE how it goes. But if you start waking up, or pacing the floor at 2am, you are to get right back on it. I’d rather give you lithium than psychotropics.’

I nod.

‘And you’re to get a blood test.’

I nod again. Determined. Grateful.

After paying, I skip out of the surgery. It is only when the pharmacist stacks the two giant boxes of Quilonum on the counter – enough to sedate a large zoo animal – that I realise he had been humouring me.


On the night of the first full-dose, I dream that someone has removed all of the furniture in my house. Panicking, I hunt down the perpetrator, demanding that they put it all back. They do, but in wrong rooms, in the wrong order.

My second-last trimester is officially over. Internship, done. New job acquired. Future targets, shifted. I clear my desk, and prepare for the last sixteen weeks of my degree. Everything that means any kind of a damn to me lies on the other side of this chasm. This is where it all gets put into play. I am brimming with excitement and terror (mostly, about whether I’ve chosen the right project).

I’ve been lining up my wounds for introspection, arranging them neatly, ready to be aligned with theory. We were warned that changing our projects just before lift-off would be batshit crazy.


I am the queen of batshit crazy.

So. 18,000 words in three months. Then rewrites. And of course, when do I start back? In a month’s time.

What a great time to be testing the limits of my brain chemistry.