Fair warning to anyone who has read my previous blog posts that this entry will not be filled with laughter and it covers a very serious topic. Brace yourself. Maybe you can relate or possibly this will help you understand the state of a loved one’s mental health, either way, I hope our society can continue discussing what can be considered a taboo topic.
The thought of swallowing bottles of various pills to end what I have come to terms with as a lifelong problem has crossed my mind more times than I can count. It is a blessing and a curse to not have the courage to execute my well thought out strategy. Although the most recent time, I had seriously contemplated killing myself there had been a knife clutched in my hand at the bottom of a running shower while I begged myself to find the courage to live. If I had not learned from practice how to talk myself out of suicide the ill prescribed medication doled out by an inadequate psychatrist, I would not be here today. I know I am not alone in this feeling. Anyone who suffers from chronic depression or has it as a symptom of their chemical and/or personality disorder can probably tell you the plan they have personally conjured if deciding to take their own life.
The irony of the way I have chosen is the latest depression I have slipped in to has lasted for months because I no longer could self-medicate to stop the pain. My personal nickname “The Pharmacist” was accurate. Acquiring any arrangement of pill bottles, all prescribed to me at one point, a few random pills here and there my friends gave me to try and see if it leveled out my stability. My medicine cabinet mimicked Valley of the Dolls. It was how I was taught to survive at a young age. For a while, it worked until it didn’t. The problem with pharmaceuticals is the tolerance the human system builds towards a substance. One Ativan in the morning no longer took the edge off, 10 mg of Adderall might have well been replaced with a weak cup of Folgers, a few glasses of wine did not keep my starved body inebriated for long.
But what else could I do other than take another handful of narcotics when it hurts to be alive?
Nothing but unbearable pain awaited me when I decided to conquer my disorder by increasing therapy and decreased the medication. To be honest, I still feel unbearable pain a lot of the time, during the rougher days since I am no longer heavily dosed and it becomes especially gruesome when I pretend I can live without my medication. One day I will hopefully be able to not rely on prescribed emotions but I have been told both by therapists and doctors it will be years before I can even dream of such a life. Between an untreated personality disorder, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and a high tolerance for many narcotics its amazing I am still alive. If I need a little help while I rebuild myself then that is okay. A person shows their true strength not by whether or not they can accomplish a task on their own but if they are humble enough to ask for help when its needed.
Behind a pretty smile, witty humor, and a small amount of effort into one’s physical appearance, it can be easy enough to fool the world…until you have no energy left after forcing yourself to live another day. A repetitive cycle I assumed was normal by the time I hit high school.
Before narcotics, I indulged in bulimia and cutting. This phase began at 15. I am now 27 and still struggle to fight these addictions even now.
Sometimes you just need the pain to stop.
No one explained to me that it would all get better, that it could get better. Even when I was in tears explaining to my father such intense emotions he blamed it on adolescent love and hormones. My mother did not understand there had been a real issue at hand until I took a blade to my arm at 16 and forced her to see the blood running down. Dropping from 130+ pounds down to 107 in the same summer, to the point the pediatrician threatened hospitalization if I dropped another pound did not seem to alarm anyone. As you can see my parents were not what some would call “involved.”
In those days suicide had been on my mind a lot. My actions had been a blatant cry for help. Hell, my physical out-cry for help should have been enough. It would take until my 18th birthday to be misdiagnosed as someone who was Bi-Polar. When the generic pill combination prescribed to most Manic-Depressives had run me to the closest edge of suicide I had ever been, the diagnosis would be erased. Later on, it would be corrected as Borderline Personality Disorder.
For those who are unaware it is not uncommon for the two to be mixed up when diagnosing one or the other. It’s the failure of medication, from my experience that gives the definitive answer. There is no cure or pill combination for those who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, but there is for Bi-Polar. Just therapy and for some people certain medications work to keep Borderline’s victims at bay.
Unfortunately, for me, my brain chemistry is not mapped out like others. Even when comparing results of street drugs I do not have the same reaction. Cocaine calms me down. MDMA makes me suicidal. Any form of any THC strain makes me wildly hallucinate. The couple occasions I tried crack at 19, it put me right to sleep. That is a taste of my unsettling brain chemistry. After sharing that information, I would hope it would not surprise you to hear majority mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, and anti-anxieties did the opposite of what they had been designed to do when I partook in them. I found the proper meds given to me by my PCP that soothed me and kept me sane, ones that the doctors are now hesitant to prescribe.
The medical community and Donald Trump’s administration has taken a stance on psychotropic drugs. Not a good one, might I add. The protestors insist such pills are addicting and should not be available to most. It is hard enough to live with a disorder that is not treatable but to take away options that make us feel sane does not make sense to me and I am probably not the only one who has this belief. The government would rather use the mentally ill’s suicide rate, climbing higher by the year as some horrific form of population control than to give the medication to those in need. And for what reason, may I ask?
After 5 years of being on the same medications prescribed by my PCP, a sudden new law “invoked by the Trump administration”, stated by my Nurse Practioner had forced me to find a psychiatrist, wait an entire month for an appointment to be hassled by a doctor who prescribed me a whole new set of narcotics that caused me to almost kill myself, all just to maintain the same prescriptions I had been on for half a decade. This is all while I was in therapy and was advised by my therapist not to change my medication regimen.
I promise this is not turning into a rant on the second amendment or the government, but it does need to be pointed out that our government does not give a fuck about our safety.
*Take a look on Chris Rock’s stand-up bit which connects the government’s concern with public safety and gun control*
It seems to be under Trump, the Republican Congress has looked the other way on gun control restrictions and replied to outrage over the nation’s deadliest mass shootings with empty apologies and tip toeing around a concrete answer on how the issue will be handled in a constructive way. If there is no specific stance or criteria to keep weapons out of the hands of those who use gun violence to play God on not just their own life but innocent bystanders, my question is, why can someone who is mentally unwell that has ownership of a gun be allowed to dictate whether I live or die but I do not have the right to continue the medication that not only keeps me from taking my own life but allows me to be a productive member of society? Someone who is considered a good person, that also volunteers, and works a corporate job five days a week.
I thank God every day for the life I have been blessed with, which includes having a job that affords me medical care to which I do have access to medication and therapy. Although the fear of my mental stability, if I am suddenly cut off completely, has pushed me to break a couple of times into panic attacks. Ironically the drugs designed to keep someone from feeling such urges or actually committing suicide is at great risk of being led straight to it when abruptly discontinuing its use because they no longer have access to what had been prescribed to them previously by a trained doctor.
For those who have not had to practice hiding the blades or locking oneself outside until the drive to end your own life has worn off, I fear they may not have the control to stop themselves. A fear that I share with my therapist, along with many of her collegues in the behavioral health field.
Unfortunately, a very real fear for those who are close to or have already been subjected to being kept from their medication.
For those who have not had to rely on medication to function do not understand is some people are not born whole, some are torn apart as they grow older, and some were not gifted in the same way “normal” people were. I dated someone for about a month, a “go-getter” kind of guy. Upbeat, athletic, beautiful but also has Aspergers. I found it odd that he would always question why I did not yet have a handle on my disorder when part of his is a lack of empathy. A trait he admitted to me. When he would roll his eyes or tell me things along the same line of BPD is just another form of weakness I wanted to fire back at him with the statement, “The day you learn to empathize will be the day I can control my emotions like an on and off switch”, which I did not. I do not defend myself by purposely hurting others.
Needless to say, we did not work out, nor could we ever.
Even my father, who had been my mentor on Self-Medicating does not understand depression or even truly believe there is such a disorder. It was not until he recently asked my sister who has her masters in Marriage and Family therapy about depression and anxiety because his fiance had been exhibiting signs of both in the past couple months since her unfortunate stroke. That, however, is a whole other topic.
My point is those who do not believe in clinically diagnosed disorders, such as my father, must suffer to a certain extent to resort to self-medicating with booze and drugs on a constant basis must understand feeling “off”, if a substance is necessary to feel completely straight on a bad day. If only they could bottle that emotion, induce the potency and pour that into their morning cup of coffee each day, then maybe the unnecessary judgment would come to an end allowing the ones crying out for help to finally be heard.
I pled for someone to believe my pain when I began realizing that it was not teenage angst encouraging me throw up dinner and slice my skin. It was a real sickness that took until I was in my 20’s to be told officially what had been wrong with me. It may sound insane to some, but I could not be more thankfully for finally be given a diagnosis.
Maybe you understand the feeling I am talking about. A sense of relief. Confirmation that the darkness living within was not imaginary. Finally, an answer to the question: Is it just me who feels this ungodly pain?
For those who have only found themselves contemplating suicide in their darkest hour or can snap themselves out of sadness by thinking happy thoughts, I envy you. Life must be lovely all the time when you are completely balanced. My advice to those people I just described who get all holier than thou to those of us who suffer from the many mental disorders out there, instead of getting mouthy on a topic you have not the slightest personal knowledge of, just thank your lucky fucking stars and save the lecture on “control”. If you continue to give input on subjects no one has asked you to nor wants you to disucss then someone should hit you with a car and when you are in the hospital crying because you need morphine for your broken leg I will happily refrain you from any form of pain reliever, even baby asprin until you understand that just because I cannot feel your pain does not give me the right to tell you whether it is exists or not. Mental illness is just as real and painful as any physical illness.
Pretending it does not hurt will not make it go away, will it? I am going to say no.
There is a lot to be said about mental health and even more work to be done in our country and around the world to help those with instability. This was just a rant I needed to write down to help with my own personal health. I am sure there will be more I have to say but for now that is all. Maybe you found reading this a waste of your time, gave you comfort or possibly gave you insight on what it is like for those who struggle daily with a disorder when you would never guess there was any sort of issue unless they had personally disclosed.
Either way, thank you for the time you have given my post today.