A Fallacy of Peace #3

July was a pretty hard month for me, so apologies for a delay in this portion. July was an emotional roller coaster for me.  Aside from personal issues, my family suffered a terrible loss with the murder of my cousin.  That being said, let’s get into part 3 of this story.  

April 28th, 2022 was the last day I took my Adderall prescription.  This is huge, because I never thought I would be strong enough to rid myself of this monotonous habit. I didn’t do it alone, because I would not have been able to do so successfully. Without my mothers help, will, and guidance I would have failed.  I would also like to thank my Step-Father Javier for having the patience and being by my mothers side throughout all the chaos.  Without them, I would have continued on my downward spiral until I gave up, or the medicine killed me. Now that I have the ability to look back at my life, I can see how close to death I really was.

As I had mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this story, I had been seeing a psychiatrist for over a decade.  For the first eight years, I had a therapist I had gained a strong rapport with.  I trusted this individual as they knew everything about me.  Around august of 2020, When making my quarterly appointment, I was told that my doctor had retired.  I was given the option of staying with this office and continuing with the only other psychiatrist there. Given the pandemic, nearly all other offices were not accepting new patients.  I had no choice but to continue with the psychiatrist they had available.  This new doctor did not care about me, and was just cashing in a paycheck.  All sessions went by phone only due to shutdowns.  They had a video call option, but wanted to charge more for the visit. The only relationship I had with my “Doctor” was that he was essentially my supplier.  Hell, he kept me on Ambien for nearly a year and blindly filled my Adderall prescription every month. In February of 2022, I Informed him I would like to stop taking my Adderall within the year and he fought me on it. A little over two months later, the office was unreachable.  I could not fill my prescription, and was forced to quit cold turkey.  I didn’t know it then, but it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. 

It’s been over three months since the last time I had any Adderall. Thinking about it now, and its absolutely insane how clear headed I feel. I actually feel alive and excited about the future. I still have my days where I do get down, the difference is I’m able to better pinpoint why I feel the way I do.  From there, I’m able to change why and how I feel by working through my feelings and emotions in the way that works best for me. Adderall would allow me to only work and focus on one thing at a time, blocking out everything else. Years of doing this set up my downfall, I just wasn’t aware.  I THOUGHT I was fine, I THOUGHT I had things under control, I THOUGHT I was better than I really was.  The truth was, It was all a façade. That’s the power of addiction, I was a zombie slowly eating away at my own brain. 

I’ll do another entry soon on what withdrawal was like and my experience so far. At this point in time, I have the ability to look back and what my life was like with a truly healthier perspective. I can now look inside the box I was trapped in, and rejoice in the feeling of my newly found freedom. I no longer have to plan my days around Adderall or fear running out and breaking down. I’m still recovering, and trying my best to be better involved with friends, family, and myself. I KNOW I’m doing better, because I’m truly optimistic on what comes next for me and the people I love.  

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A Fallacy of Peace #2

WARNING

This journal entry contains sensitive reading material that may not be suitable to all readers.  Topics include Drug use, Self-Harm, Suicide, and some foul language. This entry will be broken into three parts, as this is not the easiest for me to let out in the open.

– Part 2 of 3

 

That stomach dropping feeling, although present made itself known after reading that I in fact almost succeeded in ending it all. Extreme shame followed immediately, and I was terrified of who I called, what I said, how I said it, and what would happen next.  The logical thing would be to tell my psychiatrist, but I didnt for fear that I would be forcibly committed to a psych evaluation. With time, I was able to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal.  I had the mindset that I wouldn’t kill myself, but I would welcome death if it were to find me.  I went as far as putting a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) card in my wallet.  I just didn’t care what happened to me.  The only thing I really cared about was my adderall.  Without the adderall, my mind ran anyway it desired.  I had no control of the thoughts that would find a way to take precedent over anything I consciously had in mind.

 Although the adderall had lost most of its potency on me, I was still taking it out of habit.  It had convinced me I couldn’t function without it. Adderall was my safety net.  Adderall would take the bad thoughts away, not allowing me to grieve and process anything traumatic as they should. I was essentially a wall most of the day who would go through manic stages of euphoria to deepened states of depression all within minutes.  Adderall had allowed me to push back anything I didn’t want to deal with for over eleven years.  Unaware of the consequences that had been present, but was too blind to notice. The anguish of all that transpired not just on the 7th of January, but the past two years had built a foundation destined for failure.  I was no longer myself and everyone could see it, excluding me.

In my experience, I would typically begin adderall withdrawals anywhere from 3-4 days after last use. I would periodically try weaning myself off to limit my usage, and to eventually be free from it all together. I was never successful, and always found myself running short a few days before my next refill.  I had expressed interest to my psychiatrist that I would like to eventually stop taking the medicine as I didn’t like the control it had over me. The first time I had mentioned this to my Doctor was in early 2020.  I had gone through a pretty tough breakup a few months before, and I didnt like how the adderall would block out the feelings of grief. The grief and pain were only getting stronger the more I was pushing back. The doctor told me that she didn’t believe it would be best for me to stop taking it with so much change going on. I planned anything and everything I did around my adderall and thought this would never change. I personally didn’t have the will to stop.   

The mind is so complex and powerful. If something needs to get out, it will.  The trauma of life, work, and heartbreak was never able to properly run its course. Any cracks in the wall I had put up were getting bigger from the enormous amounts of pressure behind it. Anytime I had a drink, those feelings found a way to move towards the exit.  Creating an emotional avalanche that was nearly impossible to stop. I couldn’t enjoy social gathering, because I knew and felt I no longer had control of my emotions. Despite being aware of all this, I still continued to choose adderall over my quality of life.   

There is a bright side to this story, and I promise this whole entry isn’t all negative.  This story does have a happy conclusion. I wont say ending, but as cheesy and cliche as it does sound…my story is still being written.  Part 3 of 3 will be available on July 1st, 2022

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A Fallacy of Peace

WARNING:

 This journal entry contains sensitive reading material that may not be suitable to all readers.  Topics include Drug use, Self-Harm, Suicide, and some foul language. This entry will be broken into three parts, as this is not the easiest for me to let out in the open.  

– Part 1 of 3

On January 7th of this year (2022), I attempted to end my life. Fortunately for me and my family, I was unsuccessful. The series of events that resulted in me making an attempt on my life is rather complicated and fuzzy. Yet, I’ll try my best to be as open and candid as possible. I also want to state that this was my OWN experience, and in no way shape or form am I an expert regarding mental health. I’m a firm believer that simply talking about mental health will help those suffering in silence speak out and realize that you are NOT alone. I truly believe this all started with a little prescription pill named Adderall.

(Quick personal summary with ADD)

I was diagnosed with Inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) when I was 18 years old, and began taking medication at 19. ADD is defined as an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Adderall is one of the few medications available for those who are living with ADD. 

When I began taking Adderall as prescribed, for the first time in my life I felt as if I had finally gained control of my mind.  I was able to focus on one thought at a time without being easily distracted.  A metaphor I often used when describing my thought process off of adderall was “Imagine being in a dark room with 50 television screens on a wall.  Each screen is displaying a different story and the volume is maxed out on each one.  Now you’re tasked with paying attention to all the screens, while trying to process your own thoughts at the same time”. I finally had a sense of what a “Normal” thought process felt like. 

January 7th, 2022:

(11 years on Adderall)

The first time I made an actual attempt on my life began on the night prior to the 7th on January 6th, 2022.  My work was extremely stressful in a profession not popular with most of society, My health was rebounding after bouts with chemotherapy and radiation yet, was drowning in medical bills.  I had completely isolated myself from friends and family and was completely alone due to my stubbornness. I found a sense of comfort living and being completely alone. I put one a fake face and persona for others to prevent questions being asked.  When I was asked how I was doing, I simply responded with “I’m doing fine”.  I would occasionally find the courage to ask for help, but would at times stop myself for the fear of being stigmatized as weak or judged. The biggest scare for me was asking for help, and being ostracized.  I drove myself crazy going back and forth on what others would think.  I had friends, but I had lost all my close friends.  Years of suffering and my own thoughts seperated a decade of friendships.  I pushed out my family by keeping my life private, thinking I was doing them a service by not allowing them to suffer with me.  I had always taken pride in thinking I was in control, but I wasn’t. I was prescribed the highest dose: 30mg tablets twice daily for nearly 8 years at this point. I had terrible tremors, I had developed a severe compulsion of picking my thumbnails down to the cuticle on both thumbs.  My confidence was non-existent, and I went out of my way to avoid anyone and everyone when I wasn’t working. The odd thing about all this was I was not aware of these changes (as hard as it seems).  

Okay, back to the 6th of January… I was living in Downtown Tucson, hoping it would force me to be social and perhaps go out more.  A friend from high school had invited me to a dinner just down the street, so I accepted.  The night went great, and as much as I can remember I had a fun time.  

I woke up at approximately 8:00 PM on January 7th on the floor of my kitchen surrounded by half empty prescription bottles, pills on the floor, vomit, holes in the walls, doors ripped from the hinges, a bruised and bloody hand, and a nearly shattered phone.  Completely disoriented, I gathered myself and attempted to gain a sense of what had happened.  I plugged my phone in to charge and was sickened to realize I had called, text, and left angry voicemails to a majority of my contacts. I don’t know what I had said, who I spoke to. I had zero recollection and was full of shame.  I had multiple missed calls and text asking if I was okay, some threatening to call for a wellness check.  Embarrassed and still extremely foggy, I made the mistake of deleting every message and incoming/outgoing call thinking it would go away if I ignored it, and pretended it didn’t happen. I had taken a handful of sleeping pills, and other medicines according to a suicide note I found sticking to my fridge door…Part 2 is available now below.

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Treat your mind from time to time

Tired? Sad? Mind Racing? Anxious? These uncomfortable feelings can make daily tasks feel harder, or even next to impossible. But I want you to know that you’re not alone. More than one in four Americans deal with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental conditions. A mental illness is a real medical issue. And the good news is that most of these conditions can be treated as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

A healthy mind and positive outlook often goes hand in hand with a healthy body. While only a mental health professional can help you deal with the serious symptoms and causes of mental illness following these tips may help you feel better. Remember that most things do not happen over night, it takes work and patience to heal. You may have hear the phrase “Trust the process.”

  • Positivity is infectious, connect with others. Surround yourself with positive, caring people, and spend a lot of time with them. Remember, most times you’re a product of the company you keep. If you don’t have supportive people in your life, seek them out by joining a support group.
  • Treat yourself, save time for yourself. Make time each week to do something you enjoy; this can give life more meaning and purpose.
  • Change your perception. Train your brain. Stressful events are bound to happen in life and while you may not be able to change them, you can change how you react. Try keeping a better future in mind when dealing with a difficult moment.
  • Embrace change. Sometimes life throws changeups, curveballs, screwballs, etc… your way and what you had in mind may not be within reach anymore. Accepting when things can’t be changed can help you focus on those you may be able to control, like your attitude or your approach to dealing with them.
  • Speak to a friend or a Doctor. If you’re not feeling well, don’t assume that it’s no big deal or it’ll pass. Talk it out with someone you trust. Sometimes simply venting and expressing how you feel can alleviate some nerves. Your doctor can help you decide if your symptoms are due to a physical or mental health problem and help you develop a plan to feel better.
  • Pay attention to what you eat. A healthy, balanced diet fuels your body and keeps your blood sugar steady. This helps prevents mental highs and lows that can make depression and anxiety seem worse.
  • Manage your stress. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and don’t take on too much. It’s OK to say “No” to people or projects that place too many demands on you. Know your limits and only take on what you can handle.

Remember, you’re far from alone. As impossible as it may sound in whichever situation you find yourself in, call a friend, speak to family, a loved one, or talk to your doctor if you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately. Patience is key, trust the process.

The Power of “Can’t”.

Sooner or later, most of us who try to cope with depression feel so overwhelmed that all we can hold onto is: I just can’t do it. I can’t stop being depressed. I can’t stop it from coming back.

When “I can’t” comes rushing out, it feel like the response to an accusation. Sometimes, I feel the weight of other people’s expectations. “If you really wanted to get well, you could at least get up and get moving.” Sure, they don’t understand, they don’t get it. But I’m asking the same question of myself.

I’m answering my own accusation. “So why can’t you handle this? You’re a completely worthless weakling!” “But I just can’t!” is my only answer. I’ve internalized the stigma and prejudice and feebly try to respond. I don’t trust myself. What if I am faking this? What if I’m just afraid to face things? I know that isn’t true, but there’s the inner belief that I ought to be able to snap out of depression. But there’s nothing left to fight with. Everything deserts me: vitality, willpower, feelings, the ability to think clearly about getting well, to make choices, to take action. The inner drive to get well is replaced by the depressive drive to get worse or simply stagnate.

When I’m trying to cope in that condition, all I can do is to start where I am. Since I can’t do anything, just where would that starting point be? Depression gifts you with extraordinarily vivid, powerful, detailed memories of all your mistakes, failures, weaknesses, embarrassments. You have absolute clarity of mind for the negatives, and they build a case of shame and worthlessness. Severe depression, after all, really wants to destroy you, literally if possible. So it leaves you the mental and emotional equipment to undermine your life.

That’s what I’m obsessed with. At the same time, though, I’m aware that I’m tearing myself down. I see what I’m doing to myself, and another level of awareness opens up. I want to stop the depression. I really want to feel better. I may not be able to do much to end it, but I know I want to come alive again.