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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Why do I push people away?

To explain in its most simple form from my perspective requires only two words: Defense Mechanism. What I’ve discovered is vulnerability takes a lot of courage and resolve, and adding to the anxiety is the reaction of an outside party and if the effort was worth it.  In life, we live and learn from our experiences.  Despite this, and due to previous cases of having my trust broken or my vulnerability of being taken advantage of leads to the activation of my defense mechanism. In turn, I naturally push people away.

t’s not uncommon to prefer your own company over that of others, regardless if you’re an introvert or extrovert. While there is nothing wrong with some downtime and relaxation, it’s the extreme that becomes a difficult issue to handle. The mistake I unknowingly find myself constantly making is my self imposed isolation.  Instead of allowing my mind to relax, I end up exposing my fragile state of mind to overthinking.

Stuck.  Stuck is where I’m at. I’ve become emotionally unavailable to those who love me because I feel like I don’t deserve love.  I do not love myself, therefore how can I love fairly? I don’t handle what should be a positive experience well, and the negative I’ve grown accustomed to.  This attitude has become second nature to me, and is essentially a part of my being. I view any and all relationships from a detached perspective and refrain from building stronger bonds, and I don’t want to be stuck with this mindset.  I find myself withdrawing from social interaction thinking I’m protecting my mental health, but the truth is all I’m doing is further damaging myself. 

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There is never a single solution to problems that involve your mental health and being isolated.  While communication and openness can be one approach, the other approach is to withdraw entirely and avoid any contact with anyone who might have the potential to cause hurt or stress.  Both approaches help in reducing the stress of the situation but only one is productive while the other is nothing but avoidant coping mechanisms.  Avoidant coping or defense mechanism is by its very own definition a maladaptive coping method.  Rather than confronting the situation and finding an active solution via participation and acceptance, avoidance coping refrains from taking any active action. 

Some examples of this are:

  1. Not answering or returning calls or messages
  2. Sending few or no messages to anyone asking to meet or catch up
  3. Backing out of premade plans constantly
  4. Avoiding getting interested in other people’s lives or emotional state
  5. Replying with short, clipped, or blunt responses.

 We all need someone who understands our feelings, acknowledges our fears, and hears our thoughts without judgment.  It should come as no surprise that scientific research consistently shows that humans need one another in their lives to feel a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Retreating within yourself with some subconscious resolve of never exposing that emotional capacity is a road I’m so eagerly waiting to exit.