Last night I was having a whinge about my pain levels/ never ending fever/ fatigue, because quite frankly it is getting incredibly annoying. By my intense Google research I have narrowed down the reason for my general craptivity to:
1) a fairly normal recovery from an Autoimmune disease, or;
2) A very rare and potentially deadly form of Leukemia
Dr. Google is always incredibly comforting.
Anyway, so my Mum told me she had some “special mushrooms” that might be able to help me with my pain and fatigue.
This wasn’t exactly what I expected….
Because really…what DO you expect when someone offers you “Special Mushrooms”? Even if it is your mother. And a naturopath.
The truth is, aside from my mother, no one has ever offered me special mushrooms, or any other type of illicit substance. I never had my opportunity to “Just Say No”, and on the few and far between circumstances where in a young and fancy free (ok. manic) state I asked my *connected* friends for a hit of something, their response was somewhere along the lines of “absolutely no way.” Everything I know about drugs has been learned via a combination of my “Substance Abuse 101″ Psychology class and Breaking Bad.
Of course I drink alcohol, and I did smoke once (but that was a complete disaster which involved me taking a puff then collapsing in a coughing fit before shouting out “You do this for FUN?!”) I guess I was kind of a “good girl”. And lets face it, I don’t NEED drugs to get high or hallucinate. No, my bipolar brain can do that all by itself ;)
So how the hell am I an addict now?
I don’t smoke dope. I don’t shoot heroin. I don’t snort crack. I don’t even know if I am using the right vernacular and/or slang for these things. But I do medicate. Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life.
And I do know what Morphine withdrawal is like. And Benzo withdrawal. And SSRI withdrawal. The best two words to describe all of these experiences is: Fucking Awful. Skin crawling, vomiting, dizziness, aches, fevers, Christ. I didn’t even want to take these drugs, yet when the withdrawal started I was practically begging my nurses for an Oxycodeine or two to soothe the pain. God knows what it would be like if you had a psychological addiction as well as physiological.
My unintended morphine addiction was one of the most difficult to kick. Especially since I was still in high levels of pain. I cut down and cut down and finally ditched the drugs then immediately had major surgery and hooked up to morphine again. Fantastic!
Even now, although I’m off *most* of the highly addictive stuff, I still take a colourful concoction of pills each day. My pharmacist and I are on first name basis. He gives me drugs, I give him money, he’s practically my glorified dealer. I HATE that I’m physiologically addicted to a variety of substances. But I don’t have any choice. We’ve seen how me being unmedicated goes down.
Society approves the drugs I am on. Society PUSHES the drugs I am on. 1 in 4 of us take anti – depressants. My drugs are made in a lab in California instead of someones backyard. But they are psychoactive – which means MIND ALTERING. Is being on a mind altering substance for years that potentially has serious long term effects on your health at a time *really* any better than smoking a joint at a party? I don’t know.
I’m not glorifying recreational drugs, and I’m not trivialising addiction. “Real” hardcore addiction. In fact, the major thing I would like to point out here is that, although I am physiologically addicted to these medications, I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE THEM. I KNOW how difficult it is to withdraw from medication on a physiological level. Adding psychological addiction to the mix – I don’t know how I would cope.
But like it or not, I am still an unintentional addict to a mix of psychoactive drugs. Every blood test I have I wait for the news that my Lithium has screwed my Thyroid up and I will have to go on yet more medication. I panic if I run out of Lorazapam because I know I won’t sleep. There is no end date for my medication regime. Bipolar 1 doesn’t just get better. I know the nasty long term effects of my medication. But I take it anyway.
I never thought I would be chemically dependant. I never thought I would be an addict – even if it is unintentionally.
But, seriously, who does INTEND to be an addict? Do we sit down one day, and while contemplating the universe, suddenly proclaim “Gee… being an addict sounds all kinds of awesome. Now what will I become addicted to? Heroin? Coke? Food? Sex? SSRI’S?” Is that the way this works?
If so. Life achievement. Unlocked.