the end of a 9.5 year era (my life as a psychiatric medication addict)

To be honest, I thought that I was going to officially unofficially end this blog. I only have so many stories to tell, and rants to go on before people get fed up with my uncreative story telling and word usage, and to be perfectly honest, there’s some stuff about my mental health that I’m actually not okay with writing about on the internet. I know this is supposed to be completely uncensored, no bs, etc. etc., but some things are just best left to my own devices (one of them not being a computer). That’s why people have friends.

But there are still things, okay a lot of things. For example, why haven’t I posted jack squat in the past month or so? There are many answers to that question, but the main one being this: I’m officially on the klonopin wagon (I had to google “on the wagon” vs. “off the wagon” because I could have sworn that being “off the wagon” meant that you weren’t doing the addictive thing, but it’s the opposite and now I’m really confused about this phrase. Cause being “on the wagon” sounds like you’re back on the drug of choice, which totally makes more sense and not “yeah I’m on the wagon, I decided to stop drinking.” When you’re off a drug, you should be “off the wagon,” right?)

About a month and a half ago, after being fed up with psychiatrists telling me that I shouldn’t be taking Klonopin long term, that it leads to dementia and Alzheimers and it’s addicting and terrible for you, I finally went to my primary care doc and had him taper me off of it. I noticed my short-term memory going a bit. My anxiety wasn’t really under control anymore and unless I got a stronger dosage or switched to another medication that probably wouldn’t help, it was looking like I was going to be taking psychiatric medication for the rest of my life and eventually develop more brain damage than I’ve already inflicted upon myself and has been inflicted on me by medication.

I still remember when I first started taking Klonopin. It worked almost instantly and suddenly the things that normally scared me were just whatever everyday things. I lost a lot of weight because I was constantly nauseous and didn’t eat more than 500 calories a day and was still exercising daily. And for a while, I felt really great. My self-esteem soared because I finally had the mind and body I had been wanting for years. The nausea went away, but I still kept losing weight, which was okay with me. And I still felt better in general. I wasn’t scared to be around people or go out in public. After a while, I adjusted to it, but I just kept taking it because it was just a part of my daily routine and I didn’t think twice about it besides that it was still helping. And then I decided it was time to take away the safety blanket. No doctor could convince me to stop taking it, I made this decision myself.

After a month and a half of misery, days where I couldn’t walk straight, days I sat in my car before work having a panic attack, days where I couldn’t be around more than 1 person at a time, days where I’d stay in bed all day because my blood pressure dropped down to a borderline hypotension level of 90/58 and I thought I was dying..

I’m now happy to say I’m on my last week of tapering. For this last week of being a pill popper, I’m down to 1/4mg of Klonopin once a day, and then next week, I’ll be pill free. For 4.5 years, I’ve taken 1mg twice a day of Klonopin, always relying on it to keep me calm, cure my hangovers, blame anything that happened that day on the fact that I “forgot to take my meds.” For 9.5 years, I’ve exhausted the list of anti-anxiety, anti-depression, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, ADHD medications, benzos, and some others that I’m not entirely sure what category they fall into besides the “I feel like a sociopath” category. 9.5 years of side effects and reliance. 1 seizure, 1 overdose, several medication-induced manic episodes, days of withdrawal if I really did forget to take my morning Klonopin, weeks of not eating anything, my weight fluctuating between 100 and 135 lbs, nights fighting with my Dad because I legitimately forgot to take my meds, nights fighting with my mom because medications would make me a mess, days I had to be pulled out of school because I would start crying for no reason, 9.5 years of constant fluctuation of who I thought I was, what was wrong with me, going from on top of the world to begging the universe to let me die while I sleep.

I’ve haven’t been just me in 9.5 years.

And now it’s almost done. I’ve spent years jumping from medication to medication trying to find my cure, but really, I was just trying to find a band-aid. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that medications will not cure you, they will not fix you, and ultimately, they will not help unless you are actively trying to help yourself.

It’s liberating, really. While medications are convenient, they also get in the way of everything. Way too many trips to the pharmacy, too many phone calls to get refills, time wasted in doctor’s offices every month, needles stuck in my arm to get monthly blood testing. And now I can say I never have to do this again.

So that is basically why I haven’t written in a month. I’ve been re-learning how to be human, how to feel emotions somewhat appropriately, and looking all my fears and suppressed memories in the face and saying to them,

“I’m over you. Congratulations.”

*Special thanks to D for sticking with me through this hurricane. And to my few Foco friends who I have put off seeing because I’ve been a mess and I really will try harder to hang.

 

 

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that time I ended my blog hiatus and stopped trusting medical doctors

Hey what’s up guys? I know I went on a bender and decided that I wasn’t going to blog anymore and never gave a reason. But let me explain. Have I lost everyone?

Long story short: I’m sick. About a month ago I started feeling unusually tired to the point that I was taking naps every day and getting 10 hours of sleep and still feeling tired. I attributed this to a medication I had recently increased the dose of so I stopped taking it. But it kept going.. and going.. I was sleeping my life away it felt like. And then other things started happening. I started getting weird slight vertigo, light headedness and overall muscle fatigue. My visual perception was off. I felt like I was in wonderland because everything looked so far away or too close or too small or too big than it should. I looked drunk most of the time because I was getting so clumsy (or more than usual). I felt so useless and started feeling depressed constantly. I was crying every day because I just felt like I couldn’t do anything anymore. I could barely keep my food down. Of course I asked Blob what it sounded like (yay for knowing nutritionists on a personal level) and he had no idea. I had no idea either. About 3 weeks into this, I finally decided to go to my doctor to get my blood tested because I figured that maybe I was anemic, or lacking some nutrient in my body. I was at the point where getting through my work shift was excruciatingly exhausting. Well here’s how the doctor visit went

Doc: what are you major symptoms?
Me: Well, I’ve been a lot more tired than usual, I can’t keep my food down and I feel weak and lightheaded. Can I get my blood tested? I think my vitamin D levels are low or I’m anemic or something.
Doc: Sounds like allergies. I’ve had a lot of patients have these kinds of symptoms for allergies. Drink more water and here’s a prescription for vertigo.
Me: Um… I don’t have allergies.
Doc: Then what do you think it is?
Me: (did you not just hear what I said?) I think I’m deficient in something. Can I please just get my blood tested????
Doc: …fine. But your insurance won’t cover it probably.

Did I mention that she didn’t even ask me about my diet (vegan), alcohol consumption, drug use, exercise, anything like that? Well I ended up getting my blood tested and guess who was right?

I don’t even need WebMD to figure these things out. My Vitamin D levels came back as low, and my white blood cell count abnormally high which “may indicate a viral infection.” BUT WHAT KIND OF VIRAL INFECTION WAY TO BE SPECIFIC. So here I still am with some kind of viral infection in my system and taking Vitamin D supplements which have helped a little, and now that the sun has decided to be a thing again I’ve at least managed to crawl out of my depression hole a little bit. Moral of the story? Don’t trust doctors. Go with your gut. But not mine because it’ll reject anything you put into it. Except bananas. I can eat an absurd amount of bananas without feeling sick. At least bananas are cheap so I can buy 5 pounds of them and not spend over $10 on my food for the week. Well thank god for that. By the way, did you know that bananas are actually a seed and not a fruit? Mind. Blown.

I don’t even really get depressed that much. Not depressed to the point where I wake up crying for no reason and shaking and throwing up almost daily. It’s been really great. Whatever this virus is, if you could kindly escort yourself out of my body… that’d be great. Depression for me usually last maybe a day and then the next day I’ll feel more than amazing. But this was persistent. Persistent, choking depression and anxiety that was taking over my life. Honestly, I blame the weather. I thought I lived in Maryland, not Seattle. ITS MAY WHY HAS IT BEEN RAINING AND COLD FOR THE PAST 3 WEEKS. But it’s sunny and WARM today. I’m enjoying my moment of just going outside and finally feeling the warmth of the sun hit my face.

I’m on my road to recovery, eventually. I’ve been able to play with my hula hoops a little more lately without tiring out within 30 minutes, some foods (besides bananas) don’t make me physically hurt and drain my energy, and that heavy depression cloud is starting to lift.

Some days are better than others. I’ll make it through with my unknown viral sickness. Thanks, Doc.