Here's a recipe for an interesting night:
2) Forget to take meds;
3) ...yeah, that's pretty much all it takes.
Optional: give moral scrupulosity free rein; replay creepiest scenes from The Empty Child on a loop inside your head; start hallucinating just a bit around the corners of your vision so you can't quite be totally sure it really is missed-meds-induced hallucination and not that frelling kid in the gas mask finally coming to destroy you.
Fear. The racing heart, the tensed muscles, the asthmatic sense of impending suffocation. It's so irrational, so purposeless and senseless. Something happens that makes your brain decide, usually unnecessarily, that death or physical injury of some kind is imminent; your brain sends the message on to your body, which enthusiastically agrees; and you're left to try and pick up the pieces, to wrestle your lungs and heart and nerves back like so many energetic dragons on a leash, till they quiet enough to be controlled, to lay off with the fire and smoke show, and to send their new message back to the brain: it's all right, you're not dying this time.
Sometimes it's a breathing exercise that focuses my body and calms me down. Sometimes it's a song--The Last Rose of Summer is like a lifeline to me. Sometimes a tuna sandwich is enough, or an episode of Farscape, or a hug from someone I love. Sometimes it's prayer.
Often it takes (prescribed, legitimate) drugs to get past the hurricane in my head, and I am not ashamed of my reliance on them.
Fear is, quite literally, the scariest thing out there.
And the way I see it, if you live with fear--if you have to rein in the dragons five or six or twenty times a day because they're that headstrong, and huge, and hyperactive; if your good days are the days when you sit on the doorstep of terror rather than in its claustrophobic living room; and if you don't give up even though you know you're probably going to have to fight the same stupid, senseless, irrational fight every day of your life--
Then you are brave.
And you deserve every break you can get.
Meds aren't a band-aid. They're your frelling sword.