The one that got me on this bloody cocktail in the first place. The man I loved and now sometimes hate for drugging me up so bad. I’ve spoken of him in angry tones talking about the blind betrayal he wrought upon me by having only one solution–more and more pills. His loyal, belief in me that only belied his ignorance when he encouraged medical school and later having children (while on my cocktail of birth defect causing drugs–no they really weren’t that dangerous–a child only had a rare chance of deformation or defect.)
Well today I’m feeling strangely generous toward him. I remember my fondness of him. How we would joke and laugh together. How I would look so forward to seeing him because he made me feel good. He did treat me with respect even if his drugging of me was disrespectful. He really didn’t know. He had complete faith in his potions. I know this. For some reason today I am not angry even while thinking about a completely inane and dangerous thing he did.
He was not a controlling asshole. No. He was just a persuasive believer in psych meds. He empathized when I talked about side-effects–usually adding a med to try to relieve whatever ugly effect I was suffering with. He didn’t want me to hurt. He wanted me comfortable.
So when seven years ago on just about my full cocktail that I am now successfully withdrawing from several years later, when I told him I wanted off the Risperdal and Klonopin, I was sick and tired of dragging myself about and feeling dangerous behind the wheel, he did not hesitate to “cooperate” in my stopping them. Like I said he was not controlling. To his credit he agreed to see if I could do without. To his great discredit his instructions as to how to go about doing it were dangerous and a prescription for disaster.
At that time I was on 9 mg of Risperdal (2 mg shy of what I would later end up on) and 3 mg of Klonopin. His suggestion was that I come off 1 mg of Risperdal a day and then one mg of Klonopin a day. The entire “withdrawal” process would be 12 days. One day for each milligram of each said poison. I was to remain, for the time being on the Lamictal and my anti-depressant.
So I started the process which I now know simply amounted to a dangerous cold-turkey withdrawal. One day at a time I dropped a milligram of each drug. I actually made it off all of the proposed 12 milligrams combined. I did it so quickly that the withdrawal symptoms didn’t have time to catch up with me until day twelve exactly–though I had certainly had a bit of restless sleep before that. On day 12 I lay in bed for the next two days in the fetal position in the worst agony I had ever lived through. (my hats off to all of you who have actually managed a cold-turkey withdrawal–though I would never recommend one to any of you out there considering withdrawal–it is dangerous as I now know–it can lead to a reactive psychosis, having nothing to do with relapse and only indicative of withdrawal done too quickly.)
The second night off all the drugs was sheer agony. There are no words and only those of you who have done the cold-turkey can know what I was feeling. I couldn’t take it. About 3 in the morning I took everything I had ever been on. I didn’t think about just taking some of it and resuming a more humane, slower approach. It didn’t dawn on me that that was possible. I simply felt an excruciating regret, grief and disappointment that I had failed and I wanted my pain to stop. I was indeed permanently flawed. I could not live without the drugs. It did not cross my mind that there was another way.
My doctor simply congratulated me on trying and then upped my dose of Risperdal when I didn’t recover right away from the shock I had put my body through.
I don’t know why, but I don’t feel angry at him today, just sad. He was so misguided. Perhaps I’ve made some progress towards forgiveness towards my gentle but moronic doctor. This feels better. Forgive him for he knows not what he does. And so he didn’t. I mourn for all the innocents he continues to hurt, but I am not angry today.
To highlight the difference in my approach now, I have come off of 9 3/4 mg of Risperdal. I have yet another 1 1/4 mg. I have come off of Zoloft and 50 mg of Seroquel–completely eliminating those drugs. I have come off 175 mg of Lamictal, down to 225 mg. I have done this in three years not 12 days. I am not suffering for it as far as their being any indication that I need them. Yes I’m having withdrawal symptoms, but it doesn’t feel like I’m going to go crazy or lose it–I am not suffering symptoms of my “disease.” I do not lie in agony in the fetal position at night. I am just exhausted and sensitive to stimuli which is, like I said only withdrawal symptoms, a sign of the poisoning of my system and the need to heal from that damage.
I have changed my diet and take nourishing, healing supplements. I support my brain and body. I use neurofeedback. This is not a reckless undertaking–which is all that can be said for what my old psychiatrist recommended. It is a calculated, slow and well-researched process–no thanks to any doctor. I’ve learned all I know from the internet and those people who have gone before me who have made it their purpose to share the hope of living drug free.
And today I am optimistic. The last two posts had me work through how I feel now as a result of withdrawal. All of your comments helped me work through my anger and confusion and crystallize my experience. And I saw I was not alone. Through your encouraging comments and emails I’ve gained some perspective on my particular kind of suffering now. All your outpouring of empathy and identification. You (and you know who you are) have all been here, where I am now and several of you recovered completely or to a large degree. Thank you for sharing!)
Yesterday I had a very active day. The kind of day that wastes me beyond belief. (yesterday it was a quiet lunch at a friends house just 1 1/2 hours, then my 1/2 hour of neurofeedback and one short errand, just a single stop at a quiet store and finally a one hour round trip drive–four hours out) Usually I come home after a day like this and repeatedly say with disbelief, “I don’t know why I’m so tired–god I’m just so wasted,” never accepting my condition as normal for what I am going through. Yesterday I knew I was normal. I’m okay. This is par for the course. I accepted my condition and realized I need to push myself less and not feel guilty for saying, “no, I can’t do that today.” To not feel guilty for not making commitments and for not seeing my friends on a regular basis. There is nothing to feel guilty about. I need to take care of myself and I need to honor my healing process no matter how long it takes. So thank you again all of you for making me feel like I’m okay and that I’ll get through this. It’s amazing how much easier this has gotten now that I have supporters through my readership. And that includes everyone, not just those of you who leave comments or send emails. You all make a difference.