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Wrong way on a one way track

Can you help me remember how to smile, make it somehow all seem worthwhile?

How on earth did I get so jaded?

Depression is a cruel, cruel illness. It robs you of the ability to give a damn.

I find it incredibly difficult to write about depression with hindsight. It’s far easier to force myself to open the laptop when I’m feeling utterly sunk in misery and numbness, and explain it in real time. Otherwise… I can’t begin to describe how it feels to be trapped so far within myself that the outside world is just a whisper in the background.

For weeks – months – I have slept during the day and lain awake at night until the sun rises. Attempts at righting my sleeping habits have been pointless; the pain dictates what I do, and when I do it.

sleeping in black and white

So, am I free? Almost. Today, I managed to wash the dishes, tidy the bedroom, water the plants and do two loads of washing. That’s that most useful I’ve been in months. Strangely, I haven’t needed a single painkiller today up until thirty minutes ago. Last night, my foot was swollen to the point where the outline of the damaged tendon was clearly showing, so I don’t know why I’ve been granted a small respite today. All I can assume is that my plan of keeping my foot off the floor as often as possible (I’ve invested in crutches) is working. True, I hate having to stay on the sofa, and it’s horrible knowing spring is somewhat here but I can’t go for a walk or even down to the garden (too many holes in the pathway), but perhaps it’s paying off. It has to be better than last month’s buckets of ice water and boiling hot towels.

I’m trying everything. Which is… a good sign, I think. Over the past week I’ve started thinking about the future, and that’s something I didn’t think I’d feel happy feeling. I’d given up entirely, and I almost felt safe there. Does that make sense? Failure is… easier, somehow.

On Saturday, I had an MRI at Liverpool Hospital. The week before I had ultrasounds at the same hospital. In nine weeks, I see the rheumatologist again. Until then, my GP is giving me regular codeine prescriptions and, if I need them, I can ask for morphine patches. I’m wary of doing so; I don’t want to leave myself with no options. I get used to opiates far too easily.

codeine

So… the codeine. It’s going okay, actually. There have been a few days where I’ve taken more than the recommended dose, but that was purely through pain. So while I’m still not entirely responsible… I’m learning. I’ve learned a lot of lessons recently, and one of those is that painkillers are important. When you’re in so much pain that you could rip your own face off, the last thing you care about is abusing painkillers to escape the fear. You just want to escape the pain, and let them do the job they were designed for.

Oh, it’s not easy. I’m constantly on my guard, and I know it’s something I’m nowhere near over. Addiction is… well, it’s an addiction. It’s come back far too many times for me to ever say I’m over it.

They’re not perfect. Tramadol was much more effective, but I couldn’t be doing with the apathy and constant nausea. So I still have pain, it just becomes easier to ignore. That’s why opiates are so perfect. They don’t remove the pain, just stop you caring.

Like depression.

One day, perhaps this will stop happening. I’ll stop losing it, and life can run more smoothly.

 

 
14 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Every day life

 

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And so, to hospital

I hate hospitals.

Really, really hate them.

Since childhood, I’ve been paraded around them for various reasons; hooked up to so many machines I hear the beep in my dreams. I’ve been sick on so many hospital floors, and each and every single hospital visit – be it a planned appointment or a trip to A&E – has left me a nervous wreck.

I’m not ashamed to admit this: I just can’t cope with it. The smell. The horrible lights. The feeling of vulnerability and the worry you’ll never sleep properly again. The strange faces and unpredictable noises… and the memories of the times I’ve been really, really ill. Vomiting up black stuff all over the polished A&E floor, tripping on morphine and hooked up to every piece of machinery in the world. Happily floating on a cloud of prescribed IV opiates, not giving the slightest damn about anything but going to sleep and not waking up again.

So yes.

I really hate hospitals.

hanging-iv-bag

But I also hate being sick. Admitting to a phobia of vomiting sounds weak somehow; it’s hardly the worst thing to happen to a person, but it utterly terrifies me. I suspect it stems from years of bulimia; controlled vomiting is entirely different to actual sickness, and it’s the lack of control I can’t cope with. Vomiting for days on end and being unable to take my meds, wash, dress myself, eat, drink, or even sleep in the same bed as S… it all took its toll, and I ended up in A&E this morning, wired up to a drip and covered in heart monitor pads.

I admit, it wasn’t the plan.

I had an appointment with my GP this morning – to check up on my medications, which need to be raised or changed, how the pain is going… I didn’t make it, because I was busy concentrating on not vomiting in the taxi on the way to hospital.

If you’ve never been scared of being sick, you can’t imagine just how terrifying it is. Every movement, every sound, every thought even… if you feel nauseous, anything can and will set you off, and it’s utterly horrible when it happens. I’ve never vomited as an adult and not had a panic attack during. It’s not a pretty situation.

So I lay there. Sat up. Lay down again. Went to the toilet a million times. Couldn’t get comfy. The only time I’ve been on my own in A&E before is when I took an overdose – the latest in a line of them in my later teens – and my mother flat-out refused to accompany me. I resented her at the time, but I understand why now. I tried to quell the panic by browsing the internet on my phone, reading boring BBC news stories about absolutely nothing, trying to pretend everything’s okay.

18a_Cannula

Also, there was an added fear. One I haven’t mentioned to anyone, not even the doctor; I figured anything abnormal would show in the blood and heart tests. A few days ago I was in so much pain – agonising, screaming pain – that I caved, and begged everyone I know to find me some ‘proper’ painkillers. Z turned up with some 30mg co-codamol and, later, a strip of tramocet. Now, I’ve spoken about my little opiate problem before, but recently it’s been pretty dormant. I haven’t felt the need to self-medicate or block things out with tiny white pills.

However, fever doesn’t work well when you’re trying to be sensible. I accidentally took far too many painkillers; I don’t know how or why I did it, just that I took more than three times the recommended dose. It was in no way a suicide attempt, because I wasn’t truly aware of what I was doing. I just wanted the pain to stop, so I could finally get some sleep.

Then, days and nights of vomiting. Sweating; that horrible chemical-tinged sweat you get with opiates. Hallucinations and awful nightmares.

So that’s how I found myself curled up on a hard bed in A&E, trying to explain my ridiculous medical history, clutching an emesis basin and hating everything hospitals are.

I just can’t cope with them.

They scare me.

 

____________________

 
22 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Every day life

 

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After the storm

hind·sight

   [hahynd-sahyt]

noun

recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence.
A life-lesson I could have done with learning years ago is that there is no such thing as Superwoman. At least, not in the everyday hero sense. Even if I wore hotpants and a conical bra, I’d still be pretty damn ordinary, and trying to be somebody I’m not has been the downfall to my many attempts at recovery. I know that now.
I’m not proud of my actions last night. Knowing that so many people saw me fall (albeit online) has been a massive reality check. Because I promised myself when I started this blog that every mistake, every slip, every attempt at destroying myself… had to be published. As uncomfortable as it may feel, I can’t hide my emotions and actions away just because I don’t want to be judged.
Sleeping was nigh-on impossible after purging. I confessed to Z, after she became worried about me after a status I left on Facebook. I don’t usually get too personal when it comes to social networking, but I was struggling and needed some sort of outlet other than hurting myself in some way. She said she loved me, and that I could stay at hers if I needed to. I thought she’d be angry with me; that’s how people have always reacted to purging in the past. I’ve come to associate admitting weakness with being shouted at, so to have somebody answer me gently and with compassion… it meant a lot, along with the comments I received on here. I’m fairly sure that they stopped me going further. At one point I was considering breaking apart a razor and continuing the cycle of self-destruction, but after reading the comments and support, I couldn’t. I wouldn’t just be letting myself down, but everyone around me, and that’s sometimes easier to focus on.
After lying awake in the dark for a few hours, tossing and turning and getting more frustrated than ever, I decided to take two 500mg Naproxen tablets. I reasoned that they’re not codeine, and not addictive in the opiate sense, so I haven’t failed in my attempt to give up the opiates. I took a Lanzoprazole alongside, and even though the last lot of Naproxen gave me a stomach ulcer, even a larger than normal dose seemed to sit happily in my stomach for once. I was aching and sore from the stress of throwing up, and I knew that without sleep I’d only sink even further into the massive hole I’d dug for myself. Eventually, nature took over and I fell into a restless sleep filled with bizarre dreams about O and his girlfriend, and about the people I went to school with. They’re pretty common dreams for me to have, but the painkillers must have amplified something because I could remember every detail when I woke up.
Woke to a text off S. I haven’t told him about the purge, and I’m still debating whether it’d be the right thing to do. On one hand, I don’t like keeping things from him. On the other, if it’s just a one-off, a small slip in recovery, is it really a good idea to stress him? S understands better than anyone how I feel sometimes, but I know if he told me he’d made himself sick, I’d be heartbroken. I’m not sure it’s fair to do that to him if it’s just a one-time thing.
Today, I made an effort to give myself a challenge; something to distract myself. I decided to knit a scarf in a day, using four skeins of wool and huge needles. A couple of hours later, here’s the result:
I don’t need another scarf; I’ve knitted loads. Still, it gave me something to do. A purpose.
 
27 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Every day life

 

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10 Day You Challenge – ten secrets

1. I will always find women more attractive than men, but I find men easier and more rewarding to love. I’m am still unsure of my sexuality.

2. I smoke in bed. My sheets are covered in tobacco and smudges of ash. I stay awake at night to smoke pot.

3. I suspect I have had more sex than most women my age. I have slept with much older men, I have had one-night stands. I had sex with a woman in the toilets of a club when I was seventeen. The sexual side of my relationship with my ex-fiance often involved BDSM, consensual violence and blood play. I’ve used sex to justify my existence. I have sex on the first date.

4. Sometimes I lie, without even knowing it.

5. I stash empty crisp packets and food wrappers down the side of my bed, so nobody knows I binge eat.

6. It’s not a secret, but I take a lot of medication I don’t need. I go to different pharmacies to buy co-codamol so nobody suspects I have a constant craving for opiates. I take antihistamines for the drowsy side-effects. I scour labels on cough medicine to find the ones with sedatives in. I enjoy the feeling of being under a chemical cosh, I find life without opiates too fast and confusing. I never wanted to be someone who never took drugs; I want to experience everything once.

7. I find it impossible to keep friendships. I start off meaning well, but I inevitably become introverted and nervous, and stop contacting them. I come across as cold, but I just can’t bring myself to fully trust a friend, and eventually it seems better to let the friendship go. I’m scared of friendship.

8. I often wish I lived in my dreams. The world I dream about is so much brighter and more beautiful than this one. Magical things happen. I have recurring, lucid dreams, and over the years I’ve built towns and cities in my head, places I visit every night. I could draw a map of them, they’re so real to me. I think it’s partly the medication and partly the pot which fuels these dreams. I’d feel lost without them; I’ve been visiting those places for so, so long.

9. I cannot play any instrument. Not a single one. Nor can I sing.

10. Sometimes I feel like I’m behind a glass wall. I don’t feel part of anything; almost like I’m out of my body and watching the world pass by without any real involvement. I have constant deja-vu, in places I’ve never been before. Some places elict such strong emotions in me that I want to cry, Yet I’ve never been there. It’s like I’m always out of step.

 

 

tendayyou

 
 

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They Say That Danger’s Gone Away

Suddenly, I find it difficult to respond to comments, especially on my poems. Somehow I don’t feel worthy; it’s not that I’m receiving massive amounts of praise, just that suddenly my private life is out there for anyone to see, and I’m not sure how that makes me feel. Only two people know who I am (as far as I’m aware) and both of those are internet friends. To have strangers poking around in places I’ve previously only kept inside… it’s strange. It’s what I wanted, so I can’t complain, but I’m not sure how I should react to it.

I suppose I thought I’d have given up writing by now. I’ve certainly been putting it off lately.

It’s been a strange few weeks, emotion-wise. Romantically, it’s been amazing; I really can’t begin to describe how happy I am with S. We spent this weekend lazing in bed, drinking vodka, watching Citizen Kane and playing Black Ops. We’re in our late twenties and perhaps we should grow up a bit and stop acting like teenagers, but it feels like the welcome break I always needed; no pressure, no pretending. I lay on the bed and read the whole of Tortilla Flat while S worked on programming, and it felt so blissfully comfortable. Tonight, he held me while I waited for a taxi to take me home, and I told him how happy he makes me. I know saying such things leaves me open and vulnerable, but I figure it’s time to grab with both hands and allow myself a bit of bare honesty.

The strange thing is, confessing my feelings to S no longer scares me. It’s like all the fear of rejection and humiliation has left me. I never imagined that would be possible.

My declaration to stop abusing my body with painkillers hasn’t really worked. True, I’m not swallowing codeine by the minutes, but I’m craving it. In fact, I’m currently craving everything; opiates, cannabis (having a horrible time trying to get hold of any – M will have some in a couple of weeks, but that feels like forever), food, alcohol, exercise, company, solitude… my life is one big craving at the moment. I’m chain-smoking, eating like a pig, worrying, drinking into the early hours of the morning. I have no real reason for it, I’m happy, I shouldn’t be falling on addictions.

Yet I am.

Being in constant pain from sciatica doesn’t help. I don’t cope well with pain anymore, so  reach straight for the co-codamol. I’m on Naproxen, which helps but doesn’t have the same calming effect opiates do. The Naproxen makes me feel sick and gives me stomach pains, so that gets me down. When the painkillers wear off, I’m reminded how feeble I am; few thoughts are more depressing than knowing that my body simply doesn’t work properly. When the sciatica gets better, I know I’ll still have pain from a thousand places in  my ineffectual body. It sometimes feels hopeless.

I’m becoming more depressed and affected by the constant pain and lethargy. I know that tomorrow I’ll be good for nothing, all because I spent the weekend with S. I wouldn’t change the weekends for anything, but it’s hard knowing that it takes me days to recover from simply sitting around with the man I love.

So it’s been a happysad couple of weeks. Better than just sad, I suppose.

 

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Every day life

 

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Fibro flare, antibiotics and a blue sick-bucket.

  I am tired.

It’s a combination of tiredness. Fibromyalgia tiredness is undoubtedly one of them, as my shoulder blade has started aching again and my right foot is crunching every time I move it; a sure sign that I’m flaring. Activity-tiredness as well; although I haven’t done much, S came to visit me, and even though we only talked as I lay in bed, it sometimes wears me out just making the effort to speak. Add illness-tiredness to that list (I’ve been on antibiotics over the past few days, vomiting and nursing a killer migraine), and so I can’t pinpoint exactly what is making me feel so lethargic.

I suppose it doesn’t matter, to most people. It does to me though… after being so out of control when it comes to my health, I feel like I need to have a concrete reason for everything.

So even though I had planned to do a lot of writing today, the temptation to go to bed is much stronger. I know I won’t fall asleep; anxiety over a lack of knock-out pills (confession time; I found two packets of 30mg codeine in my mum’s bedroom. I’ve taken all but two of them over the past few days, losing myself in a sleepy, confused, comfortable haze) will keep me awake for a while. Somehow, low-fat Ovaltine and chain-smoking is nowhere near a suitable substitute for opiates.

Still, I’m not unhappy. Being visited by S has made my week. I managed to convince myself (again) he would leave me because I’m always ill, but he cycled miles through the hottest day of the year, just to sit on my bed and hold my hand. So no. I’m not unhappy.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Every day life

 

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Day Three Falls at the First Hurdle

I was woken at 9am by a rhythmic thumping. At first, I thought it was the bin men making an ungodly racket, but it’s not bin pick-up day. It sounded like the world was ending; as though Tripods had finally hit Earth and were stomping around a usually quiet suburban street in Northern England. Eventually, I worked out it was a tree chopper across the road and not an alien invasion.

I drifted in and out of sleep, wishing for peace. I didn’t sleep well last night; four hours at best, and what sleep I did manage was broken and filled with bizarre dreams. Fibromyalgia hit me badly last night, and I ended up leaning on my V-shaped pillow, watching Lost and knitting to distract myself. By 3am, it was obvious that I was going to need some help with the aches in my shoulders and thighs, so I caved in and took two co-codamol tablets. Half an hour later, they were working but I was still wide awake so I took another two, just to send me to sleep. I was hoping not to get back into that habit, it’s one of my worst; but what can I do? I can’t take anti-imflammatories due to having IBS, I can’t have any more sleeping tablets because I get addicted, and opiates are the next best thing. I’ve done this twice recently, which I’m not happy about.

S and I were supposed to be going to a philosophy group tonight, but I have a horrible feeling I won’t make it. I’m so, so tired; exhausted even. The idea of getting in the shower, washing and drying my hair, getting dressed, applying makeup, travelling, then sitting in a pub… I just don’t know if I can face it. I’m feeling panicky and anxious for no real reason (and I’ve taken my meds, so that can’t be blamed), I’m feeling guilty over eating at lunchtime, my stomach hurts because of the effects of codeine, and I’m just so lethargic. I’m trying to push myself, because I really want to join in. The idea of a philosophy group appeals to me, and I know I’ll get a kick out of being one of the youngest there, and of course I want to see S. I just don’t know if I can force myself this time.

I don’t want to sit around feeling depressed because I backed out. I don’t want to be disappointed in myself because I, yet again, let people down. I especially don’t want to worry that S will soon tire of having a girlfriend with fibromyalgia. He’s so supportive of me, but no man is a superhero and it must be frustrating for him. I can think of a million reasons why I wouldn’t want to put up with me, so surely he will develop the same reasoning one day. I’ve become so attached to him;  and not just in the romantic sense. I genuinely enjoy the time we spend together, and losing him would be horrible. I don’t know why I’m thinking like this, it can’t be good for my anxiety.

I did manage to complete a few more rows of knitting, and I made a body scrub with olive oil, sea salt and fresh lavender:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t quite see me using it for some time, though. Even the idea of lifting my arms above my head or standing up for any length of time sounds like a nightmare right now. Positive, eh?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Every day life

 

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