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This week’s photo challenge is hands. Most of my shots of hands involve holding something, usually wild berries. But this week, instead of picking a photo from my archives, I made a new image.

The focus of this blog is mental health, and I write about my life with bipolar disorder and ADD. For me, as for many others with mental illnesses, taking my mental health into my own hands means taking a handful of medications and supplements.

Swallowing a handful of sanity each day keeps the crazy away.

My morning cocktail currently consists of high doses of fish oil, Vitamin B Complex, Folic acid, Vitamin D-3, and Biotin. The prescriptions include Wellbutrin XL (bupropion), Lamictal (lamotrigine), and Adderall XR (amphetamine salts).

Both bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder are chronic conditions. To stay stable and prevent cognitive decline, I will have to swallow a handful of pills every day for the rest of my life. If I neglect to take my meds, I just can’t function. I am so easily distracted that I can’t work, my anxiety levels are disabling, and I have wild mood swings that can include severe depression, excessive irritability, explosive anger, and euphoric highs.

Once these pills make their way into my system, I’m a fairly normal human being. I’m a functional, contributing member of society and very good at what I do, just like many other people with mental illnesses. You would never guess that anything is remotely wrong.