Monday, July 21, 2014
An opiate addict on pain meds....
Very recently I was faced with the impossible decision of whether or not to take prescription narcotics for pain management following some pretty serious oral surgery. At first, it wasn't even an option in my mind. I couldn't take the risk. I wouldn't take the risk. (Actually, if I'm being 100% honest, my very first thought was "Omg I've got a free pass!"- but I was taught never to listen to that first thought because it's most likely fueled by my addiction, not my sensibility.) But as the date of the surgery crept closer and closer, I began to panic. This was a big deal. I wasn't facing a simple tooth extraction, it was serious work that would leave me in a considerable amount of pain....
I called my doctor-who just so happens to be the Head of Addiction Services at the Brattlboro Retreat (best person ever) and I told him I was considering taking the pain medication after all. I told him that I wasn't certain of my motives, but that I was certain I was scared and that my anxiety was getting the better of me and that it was starting to haunt me in the middle of the night. The truth is, I didn't want this decision on my shoulders. I wanted him to decide for me. I wanted him to tell me what I should do....but it wasn't his decision to make. It was mine, and only mine.
The pain meds won.
I took all the necessary steps to ensure that I would remain as safe as possible while on the medication. My mother would be holding (and dispensing) the pills, I had a cut off date (4 days tops), and I had a babysitter for the entire recovery process (annoying). I felt OK about all of that. What I didn't feel OK about was the fact that I was starting to get excited....
Little did I know, the entire experience was going to be nothing like what I was anticipating. Nothing.
When I was first introduced to opiates, my world cracked open. I had never felt so good, so strong, so capable....I had never felt like I was any good at 'life' until I found opiates. They offered me a solution to everything. I was "Super Raina!" I was the Raina I always wanted to be. I found my anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-fear and anti-anything bad solution, all in one tiny little pill!
Well, I didn't feel any of that this time. Instead, what I felt was terrified. I was terrified because it brought me right back to how I felt when I hit my bottom. I felt powerless again (worst feeling ever). I felt like I couldn't take care of myself or my children. I felt trapped. I felt enslaved and shitty and dirty. I wanted to climb out of my own skin. It was awful.
I immediately isolated myself. I immediately forgot how to talk to people, how to behave, how to "keep up". I ignored phone calls and shooed visitors away. I was on the verge of tears the entire time and I cried a lot. I mean, this experience really took me back. I'm talking a legit flashback experience that scared the shit out of me.
I could feel the trauma in my bones.
The worst of it only lasted about a week and a half. It was a long-ass week and a half but I eventually began to feel like my bad-ass self again. That experience gave me a renewed sense of gratitude for....well....everything. I am so, so grateful for my health today. I am so grateful for my beautiful children and for the ability to love and parent them in the way that I want (and they deserve). I'm grateful to have a healthy, dysfunctional, and unique relationship with each member of my family and I'm grateful that they have faith and trust in me today (and I in them). I'm also feeling especially grateful for my best friend. Because through it all, through all the loss I've experienced at the hand of my addiction, and the heartache that won't go away because of it, I still have a friend who takes me as I am and I dare say-even likes me this way too. Character defects and all.