I Am A Drug Addict

Let’s face it: I am a drug addict.  Every night, I take five kinds of drugs to put me to sleep and to keep me from having manic attacks the next day.  In the morning I take another pile of drugs in order to make it through the day without dying of suicide or the high blood pressure that results from rage or from the pure insanity that results from hormonal imbalances.

I crave these drugs, like any addict does.  I crave my night-time meds because, well, they put me to sleep, blotto, giving me respite from the continuous crashing pain.  And the daytime drugs: I take them to keep the ogre of depression away, and to deal with my “co-morbid conditions”: arthritis, high blood pressure, menopause, low Vitamin D, low Folic Acid.

I fear what would happen to me if I did not have these drugs.  This leads me to hoard stashes of the “important” ones: the ones that would certainly result in seizures if I didn’t take them: Lamectil, lorazepam, clonazepam, maybe Lithium.  And the others…Oh, the others could “merely” result in mood changes that could put me into the suicidal ultradian cycling that has wreaked such havoc in my life before.

Yes, I crave these drugs.  Especially at night, when I look forward to the forced oblivion of quasi-sleep the drugs provide.  And in the morning, even though I need twelve hours of sleep to sleep off the night drugs, I sometimes forget to take my morning drugs.  After a day or two, though, I start getting withdrawal symptoms: a kind of hollow feeling, a feeling of unreality, and of course depression, that mostly clears when I take my doses.

Freud craved cocaine.  I do too.  I’m told that an addict never really gets over the craving: you just learn to deal with it.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with this pile of drugs I’m addicted to now.  Each one has its role and responsibility for keeping some symptom in check.  Oh, if I could just have a continuous IV drip of cocaine, or even an unending pile of coca leaves and lime, how happy my brain would be, eh?

Rainy, with a chance of tornadoes

I always get a bit twitchy when the weather is like this. A little while ago the wind was pounding so hard against the windows that I thought they were going to blow right in.  So, thinks I, if this is an incipient tornado, we ought to go in the basement.  We being my dog Noga and I.  But to get to the basement you have to go outside.  And I’m not going outside in THIS.  I would simply blow away, tornado or no tornado.  Once, in Chicago, I was picked up by an errant cross wind and blown into a building.  I was glad for the building: the next thing over was Lake Michigan.  Same thing happened to me in Boston, right opposite the John Hancock Building.  I will never forget it.

At any rate, I picked up Noga, who was furiously barking at the birdhouse which was banging against the kitchen window (note to self: take down birdhouse in a.m.) and carried her into the bathroom, which is the most interior room that we have.  Actually, it is the ONLY room we have that has four walls and a door that closes.  So we sat there for a while comforting each other until the horrible noises outside stopped.  Since then there have been a few squalls, but nothing like the fury of the first torment.

Tornadoes are a theme in my life.  I’ve been in one-a big one-when I was nine or so.  It jumped over our house and totally destroyed the rest of the town.  Another time I was walking in the woods with my ex-husband and infant son, and watched a funnel cloud develop right over our heads.  We jumped in a ditch, and it roared by and tore up a handy farm house.  Did you ever notice that tornadoes have a propensity to destroy farm houses, trailers, and schools, followed closely by strip shopping malls?

Small wonder that tornadoes should figure large in my dreams.  They are an icon that represents chaotic feelings, unsettledness, out-of-controll-ness.  I have been expecting a tornado dream any time now, as I surf on this seemingly endless wave of uncertainty.  I have not felt so completely dispossessed since I was a homeless teenager.

In the good news department, my depression is lifting, thank G-d, but we all know what THAT means.  Any time now.  The other direction.  At least my life is not dull!

My shrink, bless him, knows my neurology thoroughly.  He knows what sort of works, and what disastrously fails, which are the two categories meds fall into, for me.  After all, he has been shrinking my head since 1999. 
So when I texted him re: my depression lasting more than two weeks (he likes texts), he texted me back, “more Lamectil.”  OK, I know this drill.  Increase Lamectil in 25 to 50mg increments until depression lifts.  Then deal with the horrible mixed state that almost always follows,  by dousing it with Seroquel.  Then enjoy the relatively peaceful few days, or if lucky, weeks, until the next tornado shows up.  This sure as hell ain’t Kansas, Toto.

What goes around

I’ve been on a real down swing the past few days.  I want to blame it on the fact that my shrink insisted that the Lamectil was responsible for certain very unpleasant sensations that accompanied my last “mixed state” decompensation.  He maintains that the Lamectil was “feeding” the high side, causing my usual state of insomnia to become drug-resistant and all the rest of the unpleasantness to become worse.

Well, I don’t know if I agree with him on that one or not.  But my state of un-comfortability being what it was, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and try decreasing the Lamectil.  It seemed to help, I think; yet, given the alphabet soup of drugs that I have been taking in order to quell the screams of my tortured nervous system, I can’t vouch that THAT particular tweak was “the one.”

Anyway.  The point is that I have been in a depressed state for the last few days, which accounts for the sparsity of blog posts.  My diet has spiralled down to ice cream and potato chips, which are really the only things my mouth vaguely desires.  I suppose if someone else were to prepare me a delicious AND kosher meal I would eat it; but I can’t guarantee that I would be able to tell you what it tasted like, because when I’m depressed my taste buds go on vacation, along with all the rest of my senses.  If it wasn’t such an unpleasant feeling, I might go, “Oh, just what I needed, a little vacation.”

Luckily I have kept on doing this for such a long time, I’ve come to understand that if I just keep on keepin’ on for long enough, I WILL feel better.  I hope. Or at the very least, I’ll feel DIFFERENT.  Which is in itself a kind of relief.  And I have started taking more Lamectil.

The main thing is to keep. On. Breathing.  One breath at a time.  Because, you know, sometimes “one day at a time” is way, way too much to bear.

Now there’s something I want to say that just doesn’t seem to want to come out just the way I want it.  So I’ll start this way:  to those of you who have sent me heartbreakingly beautiful emails, sharing their responses to things I have written here, I want to tell you that your words have lifted me up and given my heart the will to keep on taking its one breath at a time, one heartbeat at a time.  I could never have dreamed that anything I would say would affect anyone so deeply.  I am awed and yes, frightened by the prospect that anyone would take my words to heart, or that my own experiences would resonate so profoundly.

Yet, in reading your emails, both posted here and sent privately, I have found myself also deeply moved, sitting here pouring tears, resonating with your experiences as you did with mine.

So I think there might be something to this sharing thing.  We can lift each other up on the wings of eagles.  I bless you all.