Psychotel Revisited

9:34 PM Edit This 16 Comments »
Pinkie is in the psychotel. She's been sober for over 20 years. And it scares me. She decided about two weeks ago that her anti-depressant medication made her "numb." So she made the oh-so-on-the-spur-of-the-moment-I-can't-do-this-anymore decision that she should stop taking it. Last Sunday when I saw her, she was not good. Not good at all. She was demonstrating all the horrible symptoms of psychiatry-is-the-devil and she scared me. I have only been in recovery for two and a half years. I made the executive decision when I got sober to let my psychiatrist run the show of my medications. It was a hard sell. I wanted to believe that if I stopped drinking, everything would be butterflies and sunshine, but my doctor knew better. I was sick long before I started drinking and he told me in no uncertain terms that I was not in charge of decisions when it came to my medication and my mental health.

I was bitter. Oh, so bitter. But I accepted it. My psychiatrist kept me alive when all I wanted to do was die during my drinking days. He knew I was drinking, but he didn't know how much. He knew it was a problem, but he also knew that I wouldn't do anything about it until I made the decision to stop. I could have very easily died under his watch, but I didn't. And when I showed up sober for an appointment and confessed to reality, he took notice. And read me my not-so-rights. And I agreed. Because I was so deluded and sick for so long, there was no going back and pretending.

I know today that I no longer belong in the category of mentally ill. I clung to it for years, hoping against hope that therapy and drugs would cure me of my addiction, but when it came down to causes and conditions, quitting drinking was the only way I was ever going to make progress.

So it frightens me that someone I look up to and respect ends up inpatient in the crazy hospital at twenty years sober. All because she decided to take matters into her own hands. She was nuts when I spoke to her. I told her how hard it was for me to even decrease my anti-depressants, how I panicked so much that I couldn't be at work and that I had to have someone come sit with me for hours at a time just so I could stay in my own skin. And that it was PLANNED. That the people who knew and loved me were aware of what I was trying to do and supported me and walked me through the withdrawl of a medication that helped me stay alive, but was slowly killing my soul. I knew I had to do it, but it was hard. Oh, it was hard. I wish I never would have started taking anti-depressants, but I did. And going off of them was worse than quitting drinking. But I did. And I had the support of everyone who loved me.

But she made the decision on her own. Without medical advice. And without consulting those who loved her. And she went nuts. And when I tried talking to her about my experience, all I got was a brick wall. She wanted to believe she was unique. That her experience was so difficult to overcome that she'd rather die. And I shut down and stopped talking. I SO wish that was not my pattern. But I couldn't help her and she ended up at the psychotel. A place that I'm not willing to subject myself to as a visitor. I can't be helpful to someone who isn't capable of listening. I want to be. And it makes me sad, but I just can't.

I don't even want to consider the idea that 20 years from now, I might snap and end up back at square one. I know I don't have to, but this experience has taught me that I might not ever escape the demons that I lived with for so long. And that is not a pleasant thought.

16 comments:

Jules said...

That IS scary but, as you said, you're in control of your experience and hopefully you can take this as a cautionary tale and take care of yourself better than she has lately.

BrianAlt said...

This only proves how much you can help.

But, as you know, as you said, you can only help those that will accept your help.

Do not blame yourself.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Those demons never leave, but you do learn to live with them, and to live with the fear of them resurfacing. And in learning to live with them, you put yourself in control of them, instead of the other way around.

19 years, 1 week, 6 days for me. Still sober. Still in control.

It's up to you.

Kate, you have much more self-awareness than I did at your stage. Your self-awareness is your weapon against them. Use it well.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I think something Pinkie said is right. She is unique. Her circumstances are unique. How she approaches her illness is unique. And just because there may be similarities in your journeys, even they are unique. Focus on what you can control, which is your own life. And, for now, let Pinkie's medical team focus on hers.

Sara said...

Just remember what you saw when you visited Pinkie, and you'll be fine 20 years from now.

Lemmonex said...

It is scary as hell. As someone who has struggled and had backslides with mental illness, I know there are ups and down. You will have them too, but you are in control of your own decisions.

BrianAlt said...

Oh, also, sorry about your friend.

Twinkie said...

I'm with you as far as how hard it is to know the answer is at the tip of your tongue but the person just wants you to swallow it and keep it to yourself. But you know if only ... they would.... listen....

You can't control that, unfortunately. And it sucks.

rudecactus said...

Stay strong. This is the precise thing that scares me about addiction, that caused me not to drink for 15 years even though I didn't have a problem - the fact that you could spin out of control so easily and even though you could put distance between your problem and yourself, you could so easily snap. My grandmother - now 96 - is an alcoholic. She got sober in 1965. And then, for some strange reason fueled by dementia, she hit the bottle again three years ago. It was surreal.

Anyway, stay strong. Just because others fall doesn't mean you will.

buffalodick said...

Sooner or later, everyone we believe in shows the human's ability to screw up. Everyone gets a battle, but we all seem to get a different fight...

carrster said...

You are a very strong woman and this post I think illustrates how hard you've worked to keep all your ducks in a row. Keep trusting your friends, your 'rocks,' your medical professionals and you'll be fine. Every day is precious and you're doing so awesomely. ((((((((you!))))))))

melissalion said...

You are not this other person. You are you. I start thinking other people's problems are catching. They aren't. Just stay on your path.

Daisee579 said...

I was going to post something positive and supportive, but Jeff really said it best. You are strong and your self-awareness is so strong at this early stage that it will be your sword to slay the crazy dragons. I don't even know you, but you are an inspiration! Here are some positive thoughts and vibes heading your way from the South :)

GreenCanary said...

Oy fuckin' vey. This is one of my biggest fears... I've sometimes thought about quitting my meds cold turkey, but the reality of what it would do to me keeps me from it. If I miss a single dose I go all sick and nutty. I can't imagine what sort of chaos I'd create in my body if I stopped the Seratonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor Train. Yowzers.

LiLu said...

I hear you, hon, and yeah, it's a scary thought... but it sounds like your head is much more on your shoulders about the whole thing, honestly. You'll be fine, babe.

stoogepie said...

I'm sorry to hear about Pinkie.

I'm positive that if you stay as strong and focused as you are now -- and as humble -- you will stay on the right path twenty years from now just as you do today.