It Helps Her On Her Way, Gets Her Through Her Busy Day
I hate pills because my family loved them.
Tommy was the most arguable addict you could ever have; he had a chronic condition that wasn’t going away, and a constant pain that would have felled a water buffalo. Still, he did reach for the bottle a little quicker than either family or doctors were comfortable with, and burned through a lot of drugs. But what could you do?
My Dad believed firmly in the healing power of antidepressants, locked in a constant and ever-mutating battle of finding the right pill this week – he’d get to a good level, then his body would adjust and wham he’d fall in the pit again. So he’d find some other Prozac-style thing to patch him along, with the concomitant side effects of distraction and high blood pressure and lowered sex drive and sleepiness and insomnia and the thousand other lousy things that can happen to you when you’re trying to balance out your mood chemically. I listened to his litany of unwanted additions to his life and thought, no.
Even my Mom, who I thought was relatively free of issues, confided in me that during the 1970s, she was quick on the trigger when her doctor prescribed her Valium, and spent some effort coaxing that monkey off her back.
So I vowed: do not take the pill unless you absolutely have to. There’s no shame in taking them… but there is a cost, and you will have to pay it, so use it sparingly.
So Gini knows my habits: if I take an Advil for my headache, that means it’s splitting my skull. I avoid taking any optional medication when I can, because I have a very addictive personality (hello sex, hello booze, hello blogging) and I just don’t want to deal with anything. I have too many friends who can’t sleep without the pill, can’t have sex without the pill, can’t function without the pill, and while many of those are legitimate cases where they need the pill to get the body to work, I know some percentage of those issues come because people have relied on them like a crutch and their bodies have forgotten how to function without outside assistance.
When my doctor told me, “Ativan is addictive,” I immediately stopped. I don’t want an addiction. I love the way Ativan makes me feel. I love the floaty, itchy feeling of Vicodin. I love being wrapped in that feeling of artificial bliss, to the point where I find my hand drifting towards the bottle even when I’m not in any real pain, because this is just so damned good.
But for the past two nights, I’ve been up until 3:00. I’m exhausted and strung out and unable to function, sweaty in a bed, breathing shallow. And I can’t do this. Right now, as the wise Dr. Kaldon points out, I need sleep to heal, and for that I need this pill.
It feels like defeat. It fills me with the worry that I won’t be able to tail off when everything is done. It fills me with too much glee because inside is a little Gollum dancing with joy that I get the Ativan again, and God damn I want that little happy pill.
But I can’t. Not right now. And that just reminds me how far, how very far, I have to go.