I retrieved my new medications from the pharmacy last night. They have changed several times in the last 2 weeks and I feel uncontrollably depressed. I’m coming up and going down at the same time, yet I feel ‘stable’, for what that’s worth. I woke up this morning very fuzzy but ready to start this part of my new treatment plan, and began filling my pill holder with the new ones and removed the old ones. I soon realized that I might not have enough space in each compartment for my daily regimen, this is the first time its been so full. There was enough room left to close the lid however, but I will have to dump the entire days worth of pills out each time I retrieve them, I can no longer simply root around in there and easily identify each capsule. I counted my pill bottles. 6 different medications laid on the bed in front of me. This kind of alerted me. An anti psychotic, an anxiety medication, one for PTSD, a stimulant to manage my ADHD, and two types of anti depressants. It seemed excessive. When the pill holder was full, I decided to dump out a days worth and count them. 14 pills. It takes 14 pills to make me a functional and productive member of society. This almost triggered a panic attack. Let me explain why.
Both of my step fathers were addicts, one to alcohol and the other to crack cocaine. I’ve been exposed to plenty others throughout my life. I will be honest with you here, I have experienced varying levels of dependency and addiction in my life, I have always had negative coping methods and still struggle to this day. I no longer abuse drugs, but I have my vices that I must address to move forward in my recovery. The thought of becoming addicted to things has become a trigger of my anxiety, and I try my hardest to avoid habit forming medications but at times it is unavoidable. Stimulants and benzoids are frequently part of my treatment plan, regardless of how I feel about it.
As a teen I partied a lot. I was neglected and left to my own devices, so I did what I could to receive attention, even if it was negative. I began doing drugs at about the age of 15. I experimented with almost everything, but my drug of choice was speed. I loved the way it made me feel. I loved the energy it gave me. I was a fiend for several weeks. I made bad choices and ended up in a situation resulting in 3 months of jail time at the age of 17. I was arrested initially for assault and participation in organized crime. I was held in contempt as the district attorney insisted I had information about an event, though I did not. My charges were eventually dropped in the interest of justice and I enlisted in the US Army. I am thankful for my jail time, because it forcibly broke me of my drug addiction.
During my time in the Army, I injured myself twice, fracturing my hip and doing damage to my lower back. The first time I simply slipped on the wet ground during a morning run and landed hard on my side on the concrete sidewalk. The second time I lost my footing and I fell down a small hill during an endurance march, smashing the metal frame of my rucksack in to my left sacroiliac junction (the dimple in my lower back), contusing it and shifting several of my vertebrate. I should have had a kidney pack to prevent this exact scenario, but that’s a story for another day. The fall also made the tiny cracks in my hip bigger and I would later find out the discs in my neck were compacted, either from the falls or from years of poor posture, or a combination of the both. I began to suffer from severe migraines. My injuries never had time to heal as I was forced to continue training. I was given strong medication to function, but eventually would be heavily sedated to cope with the pain and would begin to miss class. I completed my educational training but was on medical hold because I was considered non deployable as I could not complete a physical fitness test. I would eventually be honorably medically discharged.
Dealing with the Veterans Administration for medical care was more of the same, they would over medicate me to the point where I could barely function. I would develop a slight dependency on my medication. This went on for years. I almost lost a job during this time because I appeared to be strung out at my desk when my Dr hastily put me on blood pressure medication, thinking it would help my migraines. My blood pressure was so low I bottomed out. Luckily I got a note from the VA and my boss was unable to fire me. I decided it was time to make a change and developed other ways to manage my pain. I lost weight and did physical therapy and had my vertebrae adjusted by a chiropractor. I gave myself time to heal. I would find other coping methods, controversially better than the pharmaceutical route, but I would ween myself off of pain medication all together.
I’ve always had a weight issue. Every Dr I’ve seen told me I was over weight, claiming I should weigh no more than 135lbs. I strived my entire life to meet that goal. I would starve myself, binge and purge, and abuse diet pills. I took diet pills every single day for almost a decade. I felt like I couldn’t function without them. They were expensive and, along with the forced vomiting, ruining my insides. But I needed them, they were necessary to my existence. The irony of this situation is, when I finally reached 135lbs, I my friends and co-workers would make fun of me for looking emaciated. I was told verbatim on more than one occasion I was no longer attractive. I saw a photo of me in a truckers cap from this time, and I looked like a baseball bobble head. I eventually broke my addiction, but I still consume caffeine to excess.
Due to these experiences, my current situation concerns me. None of my medications are habit forming, but the sheer amount of them reminds me of dark days. Am I over medicated? Or am I being liberated from my symptoms? I’m highly functional on my psych meds, unlike the time I spent on pain pills and amphetamines. I see the difference but I can’t help but feel bad about it. I spoke to a close friend and my husband about this and they both told me to not get myself worked up… that they are needed and I should accept it as part of my life. Besides, it could be worse, right? I just don’t know what to think. If you have any experience with being medicated for any reason, please give your thoughts in the comments.