18 months since I jumped: An update on healing

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I am able to recognize my blessings each day and be grateful for all I have and have hope for continued blessings in my future!

Greetings from a highly improved me!   It has been eighteen months since I jumped (abruptly discontinued) from taking Ativan 1mg daily after tapering from taking Ativan 3mg daily. I tapered over the duration of two years. My severe detox and withdrawals period was exacerbated by the fact that I had jumped off Oxycodone 10mg only two months prior to stopping the Ativan.  I had tapered off a daily dose of 45mg-90mg over a 2 year period.   What had started in 2010 as a prescription for Percocet 5/325 one every 6 hours as needed for pain, grew until it became a monster in my life that ate all the goodness up. It was just one of the numerous medications that I was prescribed over two and a half decades.

From my records dating 2010 until the fall of 2017 I had 19 pharmaceuticals prescribed to take on a daily basis. Many of them for longer than the recommendations written in those little tiny informational packets you get sometimes with a bottle of pills. Many of them were also prescribed for things other than what they were originally created to treat. Off label uses.  My PCP (Primary Care Providor) also had recommended numerous over the counter medications and supplements as well.

 

                                                                I can smile so much easier these days 
I had been quite aware of the perils of addiction as I have personally witnessed and experienced it in my life in many forms and throughout many experiences.  My own addiction (maladaptive coping mechanism for suffering) was gambling. I knew what it felt like to not only crave something, but would go to great lengths to have that need fulfilled.

That is NOT how the medications were for me. I was dependent upon them. I took them as prescribed. I was trying to check IN to life. I was trying to find a way around the pain (both physical and emotional) so that I could participate in life. Yet the conditions continued to mount until the amount of medications my PCP prescribed became toxic! They didn’t work anymore.  In fact, some of them created a paradoxical effect, causing the exact symptom they were meant to treat.

When I recognized that the use of all these chemicals was harming me more than they were helping, I knew it was time to make radical changes in how I was managing (or letting my PCP manage) my health. I took back the reigns and sought a different path
It wasn’t really a conscious choice, embarking on the journey through the hell I have been through.  It was simply the act of starting a forward movement towards change by doing just one thing differently. Then it grew to more things differently. Things like spending a lot more time outdoors. Activities such as interacting with animals and being creative with a camera. Making very conscious choices in what I put into my body. Eliminating as much negativity as I could. Yet, there were still struggles as I didn’t know all that I would face along this journey.

No one had warned me that there was a possibility that I could have psychotic episodes coming off these medications. No one had warned me that I could reach tolerance and have paradoxical effects like a severe case of insomnia that lasted for 20 years. Only now, after being off every single medication for 40 days, am I beginning to have occasional bouts of normal sleep. No one told me about excruciating bone pain that left me curled up and rocking and crying on my mattress. No one told me of the incessant need to move, the rocking and bouncing legs and full body restlessness that was exhausting and robbed me of any rest for my ravaged body and brain. No one prepared me for how shunned I would feel and how that would further the crippling agoraphobia and paranoia so that I could not tell who I could or could not trust. This further complicated the entire process.
No one else knew how bad this would be either. I know now that there was NO one in my life anywhere close to prepared for the wild and horrifying symptoms and behaviors this would create.  It was terrifying to go through and I can imagine it was scary as hell to watch! In fact, knowing many others who have endured the hell I have, some even worse, I know that very few people in the world have been prepared to be of any assistance for someone going through this type of severe and lengthy mental and physical anguish.
That first year was a doozy! Fraught with the loss of health and home and any stability I believed I had, pretty much everything was gone in my life! Friends, family, belongings, any sense of dignity was gone.  I was robbed of all hope by the Benzodiazepine demons that lived in my head. All I did was bounce where the winds took me, trying to protect myself from me, and from others who were ill-equipped to be of any help.

Unfortunately, sometimes due to their lack of understanding or skill, those I most hoped would help were only able to add to the pain and suffering by their responses and reactions to me.   Those that truly care would have done different if they had known how.  I believe this is true for all of us suffering from this.  Yet they are the ones who just mostly stood by and watched and felt helpless. They had nothing to offer except recognizing the pain was there.  Today I can feel bad for their experience in watching all of this hell.

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This last 6 months I have turned a corner. I can feel it internally and others have commented on it externally. I have been more focused on myself and finding healing and seeking the path to wellness than ever before in my entire life.  The tools and skills and interactions and experiences I have participated in have helped me have a sense of acceptance and peace.  I truly feel more equipped to deal with whatever life may bring to me from here on forward.   More than ever before in my life I have a sense of direction and purpose.
I still have much work to do. Both of my current therapists are recommending intensive treatment for Complex PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) including modalities such as ACT (Acceptance and Commitment therapy), CBT (cognitive behavior therapy), and EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). Both of them say it is imperative for me to do this work for complete healing and the ability to get past the things that haunt me regardless how much I try to not let them.
I personally have taken it upon myself to learn life skills that I have found are helping me tremendously. I have adopted the practice of meditation. I meditate at least once daily, but usually twice a day. MY meditation is very much connected to my spiritual practice and prayer time. I also do Conscious breathing, utilizing a timer to just stop and breath once an hour. These skills have reduced my anxiety tremendously and are excellent for staying in the moment which is so necessary for those with PTSD.  I eat at least an 80/20 whole foods diet, primarily organic in nature and from sources as local as possible.

Since the New Year I also have been working on having the habits of movement (exercise) and drinking more water daily. I have also begun light jogging. This I am doing still with living under the fact of pain is in my life. I have nerve pain in my feet that is non-stop 24/7. I also have pretty severe back and neck pain. Yet after a 10 week-long session at a pain clinic, I have learned some wonderful new ways of looking at pain and living with it. This is why I now am more encouraged and hopeful than I have been in an extremely long time. I feel very empowered.

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Yet I still need help. I am still homeless. I still have no vehicle.  I am still awaiting a determination on my most recent filing for Social Security Disability. I still have a couple of years ahead of me doing some really difficult personal therapies. I still have limited energy and endurance.
After careful consideration, counseling with others, and making efforts to find stability and a place to live and work both where I am and where I last came from, I have decided to go back to S. Oregon.  I have more work I can do there than I have been able to find here.  I ran an ad and I have already booked 3 house-sitting gigs. I also have a couple of clients that want me to do periodic light work around their properties (gardening and housekeeping type chores). I have a friend who has offered me the use of her trailer for 11 months, and I have a couple of possibility of places to put it in exchange for helping on a person’s property either with care taking or with farm type chores.  I am willing and able to do this. It won’t be enough to get ahead, but I will have a roof over my head and some security for at least that time period.

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I have been offered a trailer like this to use for about 11 months if I can get a secure place to park it! High living for a modest gal like me!

What I need more than anything right now is a vehicle and maybe the first 6 months of insurance paid.  Or even the first 3 months. Then I can get to the house sitting jobs and the clients who have other chores to do. Then I can earn a few pesos each month. My goal is $600, which is 30 hours a month. I will most likely have to do that many hours again where ever I end up parking the trailer in exchange for rent.  That works out to about fifteen hours weekly of being up and moving and doing some sort of physical activity.  15 hours a week is about all I can do without being where I can lie down and rest intermittently.
I know I will keep improving as I continue to do the habits I’ve created and use the tools I have obtained. I know my energy will increase as I continue to lower the stress of dealing with PTSD through the time invested in treatment and as my body continues to heal from the damages done by the medications I took for too long!


I also am involved with Vocational Rehabilitation.   They are going to help me pursue the reinstatement of my nursing license. It is my short-term goal to utilize my nursing license in creating a health and wellness mentor and coaching business. I believe I have a vast amount of knowledge and experience that can be used to help many others who live with physical and emotional pain. I believe my new-found enthusiasm and gratitude for a new opportunity can encourage and inspire others to pursue their truest selves! I have been a helper and have had a healing nature throughout my life. Now that my true self (not drugged by pharmaceuticals) is re-emerging stronger than ever, I trust that God and the Universe will allow my best self to help others possibly find their way out of suffering too!

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Participating in an online Health and Wellness coaching program. It is self directed and self paced. Perfect for me right now. As well as it is FREE!!!

I am so grateful I am still here on earth and alive. I am so grateful the benzodiazepine (and other pharmaceutical) demons did not completely destroy me. It felt like I was destroyed at times, yet here I am smiling and grateful and caring for myself….and others!

After such a dark and seemingly endless foray into the depths of psychological pain so deep I felt life wasn’t worth living, I now have hope!!!  I also am able to develop goals.  It is the first time in many years I have felt capable of even thinking of having a goal, let alone taking the necessary steps to get there.  One of my goals is to  jog/run in a 5K event the weekend of my 56th birthday.   My new walking habit inspired that goal.  I have never enjoyed running or jogging, even as a child.  Yet now, when pushing through the chronic pain, I find that I reach a point of some real clean current pain and it is a desirable experience.  Pushing past the pain to get going is worth it.  The daily steps I am taking are to keep me focused and to build my skill and strength level to reach that place of being able to complete the race.  After the race,  if I still feel it is something that is adding value to my health and life and wellness, I may try for a 10K.  It is a measurable success.  There are other goals as well so each day I purposefully do actions to bring me closer to the prize…..WELLNESS and HEALING!

I also have a great aspiration to help others like me!!! I have a big dream of someday creating a healing place (long term inpatient facility) for those like me who have suffered in their lives with DIS-ease of any kind.   People wanting to come off pharmaceuticals that have become toxic to them, especially opiates and benzodiazepines; those who suffer the consequences of addiction; those who have emotional pain that requires that they be loved on and guided and encouraged to health! I envision a place of many woods and streams and much beauty where people can rest their tired minds and bodies and take a few deep breaths for a period of time. I see gardens and animals, some of them providing companionship, others there for their food source to provide healthy nutritious meals. It will be a place where there is patience and tolerance and gentle trauma-informed guidance. People will have a time and place to explore their suffering and learn skills for finding peace and acceptance of what is.  I dream of it being a place they will also find a sense of purpose and the ability to create goals and plans for achieving them. It is a big dream. It will require a big tribe to create it. That will be a huge focus on the next portion of my journey. Creating a healing caring loving tribe that can share this vision! 🙂
oh….btw….it feels great to be able to write a bit! That is one skill that has suffered during this time and it is another sign of my healing!

Day 6 and the worst is over I hope!

Today, I spent some time trying to piece together the last 60 days. It’s hard. There are lots of big spaces of time I don’t remember much. That scares me. It’s evident whatever happened freaked out my loved ones in a big way. I was on the phone saying so many things that were not at all what I was wanting to say but my brain just was somewhat frying. It just was what it was.

Which of course adds to my shame and guilt.  I have not had that occur since I quit gambling. Yes, I’ve lost control of my emotions before, but I have had no “out of body” experiences like I experienced this time. I sure am glad I write tho, because I can go back and somewhat piece together the build-up, the blow, the loss of time, and then I went straight into detox for the Xanax withdrawal. Not the smartest idea in the book. But hey….who said I was thinking in any congruent way during this time?

Although extraordinarily fatigued with pain increased,  I think I’m doing pretty well. I am stronger than I remember sometimes. While I was feeling so weak, I had some idea of what I wanted. I have been on a journey to get off these pills for nearly 2 years. I wanted to get my overall health and strength a little better because I knew I was getting to a place I was ready to deal with some more of my “stuff”.

I did know I was having some PTSD triggers There were some encounters with people I cared about where I felt under attack so decided to disengage from those relationships. That is not something I do lightly. Yet, in retrospect it showed I was getting stronger because I was able to say to myself, “this is not healthy for me”.

In late February or early March was one  occasions and I handled myself with composure (maybe showing a slight displeasure but that is all) and then returned the next day to discuss the situation and stated what behaviors I could handle. That is a HUGE thing for me.

As time passed and other situations occurred I knew I needed to do some digging to see why I so easily get triggered by certain personalities. To be frank, I believe it’s because of my mother and our relationship and her behaviors. There are certain behaviors in women I just cannot tolerate at all. It gets my ruff up so bad and I have to just clench my teeth. Pointing, especially if someone pokes my chest, intimidation posturing, badgering, and overly aggressive. I have a tolerance and then it just is gone. It was like I was doing okay, handling each situation the best I could while trying to be professional in my role as “property manager”, and then it was over the edge.

I had told a few folks about my encounters and how they were affecting me. I had thought I had stated I was getting very stressed and overwhelmed, but again, I believe others hear it as “whining”. It was in late March that I picked up paperwork to get back into counseling. I didn’t get it turned in until mid-April after recovering from the flu. I didn’t get back in until  about the end of June for intake. Back in late March I knew I was over-stressed and had taken on more than I could handle.

In my perception a great deal of the stress came because what I perceived as agreed conversations on what was going on with the property and tenants wasn’t happening. I also had a situation with a friend and it was just the last straw.  I was so overwhelmed trying to get this property ready for renters. I had to help pack up a house that was full of many collections. Tapes(VCR and Cassette), books and mountains of electronics. The entire second story was just storage! I also had to get ready for an Estate Sale. I had never done one before and what a TON of work that is. I also had to help Mr. Chicago’s brother find an apartment and then I had to help him figure out how to make a home for himself in his new place. January was exhausting.

Then in February I was still doing okay after taking a little break, but that is when some of the encounters with PTSD triggers really started. After the first one I was shook up and tearful for a couple days. Then I tried to rectify things in an adult manner and carried on. Then there was another encounter in March. Again, I held my tongue, waited a day or two and then tried to rectify it. I also was telling my family and loved ones about the stress this was bringing me. Yet, no one is around me to actually see what those affects looked like. Often when you have PTSD triggers in my mind I feel like I sound like I am “complaining”. But what I’m trying to convey is I am getting over-stressed and I can’t make prudent choices and I need some help.

I had my trip to Chicago in late March and then came home and landed in the hospital for 4 days with the flu and pneumonia and when I came home and got well enough I had to stretch myself again. I was interviewing potential land renters. I had to run ads and make phone calls and then talk with these people at length regarding their needs and what we could provide for them. I am not a good salesperson. It makes me very uncomfortable, so I was stressing about that. More stress. I am feeling like I am falling behind here. There is so much work to be done and I am coming home after a nearly 2 week absence and it’s time to start the gardens and I still have things to haul to the dump and things to sale and continued encounters that were less than comfortable with some people.

Then came May. I did forget to mention that I had a very serious family issue that occurred in January that was an ongoing concern and stressor until early June. Those of you who follow my FB page remember, Mr. Chicago came out for my birthday in May. It was truly the BEST surprise I’ve ever had for my birthday. The BEST.   During the time he was here I was able to show him a little of what the issues were but by that point I was definitely at a point that any more encounters with triggers was going to set me off. But to him I’m sure they seemed small, each little instance.

That is not so for someone with PTSD. I’ve only had one occasion where it was a single incident that triggered me. Even at that time, I had been under a LOT of stress. Typically when I go into a meltdown mode (post gambling…completely different scenario) I have had a number of stressors on top of a number of triggers. I can only take so much. Which, is another reason I have been trying to get disability.

Having a disability like this doesn’t mean I can’t function or that I’m not smart or capable. It means I can’t take the daily struggles like a person who doesn’t have a  disability. Over the years I’ve tried to explain so much.  I can do a little physical and deal with the pain, but then my stress will get up and so I can’t deal with people or additional stress. Or, I can be medicated and take it gentle on my body and not do a bunch of hard things and my brain works. In fighting chronic pain as well as mental health issues life gets very overwhelming at times.

After Mr. Chicago went home, I thought we kind of had things under control. But that was not the case at all. There were still unresolved issues that came up and a number of incidents that made me uneasy around the 12th of June and that was when I started going over the edge.

After my first blow up, I had a few days where I just was telling everyone “I’m done”.   I am not able to make these decisions. I was trying so hard to take care of the area here and do a good job. I went up and down and up and down for a couple weeks and then settled down a bit. But by then, I was really struggling inside with a lot of things.

I didn’t feel safe anymore. Because I had “acted out” I was scared and embarrassed and pushed everyone away more. I didn’t want anyone to see me unhinged. The lonelier I got and the more I tried to figure out what I could have done different I just got more and more distressed.

I tried to “pull it together”, but I had forgotten that back in May I had purposefully come to the point that I wasn’t gong to refill the Oxycodone anymore.  That had been my goal and I reached it and was doing okay. I didn’t take into account how that my affect my mental health when I was already under stress. I continued to rage and then cry and then rage and then cry. I’ve said “I’m sorry” so many times in the last 2 months and then gone and done the same exact thing.

That is what happens when you have a PTSD breakdown. You feel okay for a few minutes and think you are okay to be around others and then Every Little Thing bugs the hell out of you. Drivers that are speeding and reckless caused me to be the same…trying to chase them down to tell them what crazy drivers they are. Ha ha ha….and who was the undone woman chasing them? Yes…that was me! Hence the limited driving these days.

So June ended and July rode in and yet another big stressor met me on the 5th. Something that made me think of bad things from long ago. I tried to explain to the other my feelings but was met with resistance. This made me feel even more unworthy and increased my angst.

So on 7/12 I had ran out of Xanax and decided not to go to town to pick up my prescription the next day. I had made a choice. Not wise, with my thinking at the time, but it was just me here and I was going for it. The first night I found out some information that truly just made my head burst. My head has been racing and my heart has been racing and I became obsessed with this information and it was rough that first day or two. I was not only going through Detox and PAWS, but I was in the midst of a mental health breakdown and kept getting news that left me feeling so alone and so WRONG for everything. Lots of thoughts of “why am I here?”.

That’s the mindset of a PTSD person. When I am in a PTSD head, I am in total fight/flight mode. I feel horrible. I think I am the worst person in the world. I want no one to see me. I don’t behave in ways that are typical for me. I get quite mean (to push people away) I’ve been told. I typically am NOT mean! I am a lover and a giver and a smiler. But under duress from a PTSD flare I can dish out some verbal bashing and be quite harsh.

I hate that. Which is a big reason for going back to counseling. I know I still have learning to do. I am hoping by completing my detoxification off the narcotics and benzodiazapines my head will be clearer for doing the work I have in front of me.

I know nothing about my future right now. Neither do you…if truth be told. I remember my counselor telling me that I learned early in life, it can all change overnight. In the meantime I am hunkering down and just trying to take care of myself. I deserve it. So do those who love me. I despise scaring them so. Evidently, as I was recently reminded, it’s been going on for some time.   When I get to my lowest I have very pronounced suicidal ideation. I forget about it for the most part when I’m well. I know how that feels as my mother suffered with the same. It is very hard for those around a person feeling like this.

Today has been the clearest my mind has been in a very long time. A very very long time. Even with the fatigue of not sleeping the last two nights (going on being awake for about 58 hours now) my brain is clear. I truly am grateful for being able to finally get off all that.

The cannabis is working. The dosing is not exact, yet. Just like me. I’m working on it. Thanks God for a gentler alternative that comes form the earth!

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Day 5 – I’m gonna live!

 

I do not think all medications are bad. There are situations where pharmacological medications are curative or the benefits outweigh the potential risks or side effects. At this time in my life, having been on a variety of pharmacological medications with less than optimal results, as evidenced by my struggles (breakdown) the last month, I am wanting to go a more holistic way. It started with medical cannabis and I now am more interested in what nature has to offer.

One of the main reasons for doing gardening and animal care when I am in such a challenging financial and physical and emotional situation is they give me purpose on days I struggle. I am so grateful that I started that.  Putting in a garden and attracting butterflies and hummingbirds gives me something pretty to watch and look for. Being out in nature and getting a little exercise is one of the BEST medicines there is. On many days when I am in pain or just overwhelmed, having those things I MUST get up for …makes me still have a life. Hey Sigmund has done a nice outline here of a more holistic approach for mental health strategies.

http://www.heysigmund.com/the-non-medication-ways-to-deal-with-depression-that-are-as-effective-as-medication/

I started off using the medical cannabis (MMJ) mostly for pain. I was on fairly high doses of Oxycodone and it wasn’t working. At least not enough.  This contributed to my IBS for certain, causing severe constipation.  MMJ has been a wonderful option for getting off opiates. It also has improved my mood greatly, until I get into a panic situation or PTSD gets triggered. I still having to do some learning on that. I have a couple strains that I have been given or bought (thank you to the growers) and it works. But the medication I need now needs a special license to process and so I can’t get it as easily. Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) was the BEST cannabis medication I have had to date that helped me the most.  I was calm and pain was much better controlled than with the opiates.

To get the strains that I need for anxiety and PTSD challenges I have to now go the dispensary. In one week I went through $100 worth of RSO and other types of MMJ products in addition to my usual use of the tinctures and butter and flower I have already at home. I can’t afford that. I sure hope they don’t take out the OMMP because of recreational. This is my medication now.

I had it suggested to me to try some skullcap when my belly settles a bit more. It’s a nervine. Nervines are an classification of herbal remedies for mental health conditions that have evidence of high anxiety. I was also told a student of herbology that nervines such as Skullcap can actually help in the healing of my brain after long term use of various medications. Hearthsidehealing in Portland, OR presented this article on nervines written by Jon Keys.

http://www.hearthsidehealing.com/nervine-herbs-for-deep-relief-from-anxiety-and-stress/

While the last few days have been incredibly difficult emotionally, I have no desire to take those pills again. I do not crave them at all, which is a bit strange based on dealing with my gambling disorder and the drive I had for that. I feel that with the medications I was more dependent on them, whereas the gambling for me is a true addiction. But in all honesty, I really had no idea I had an emotional attachment to the medications. They were prescribed by my NP for my various ailments over the course of the last 5 years. Some of them I had been on for nearly 20 years off and on.  When one has a number of medications like that there is always concern about them being discontinued, or brands changing (can be very difficult for some), or your doctor saying after a number of years prescribing, “no more, we have to stop this”. Or there is confusion about getting it refilled. It is really a painful experience to be taking 60-90mg of oxycodone a day and then not have it for 36 hours! Very painful.

I think this is the 5th night since my last dose and while life isn’t bubblegum and rainbows, it’s better than it was 24 hours ago. I even ate! That is one of the big side effects with my withdrawal is NO appetite. Additionally, I think I have only had about 6-7 hours of sleep in the last 3 days. For tonight I’ve made myself a nice hot cup of cannabis tea. I feel very tired. But not as despondent  and sick as I was off and on the last week. Yay God!

Only two sleeps and I will see the counselor that I have seen before.  As well as my NP was to be putting in a referral to a psychiatrist for me.

I really appreciate those who are following. I hope you share this all over the place! I really want people to know what detox from a benzodiazapine after on and off use for 20 years looks like. I want people to know it’s possible to improve from a dependency, an addiction, or a number of mental health ailments by making just a few lifestyle changes. And help me remember that the only person I really need to take care is me. 🙂 Peace!

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**This is no way an endorsement for taking yourself off medications.  I have discussed this with my Nurse Practitoner and it has been a slow taper over 18 months.  One medication at a time.

 

 

Nature is all I can do

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Well, life is pretty weird right now. I need to leave where I have been, I have no money or ability to earn some (have you tried working while going through detox and PAWS), no where to go and I’m detoxing off Xanax and already in PAWS for opiates. Life is just flipping dandy. Ya know that saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle…well that is just horseshit. I have had plenty in life that has made me be how I am. I give I give I give. Just because you are alive doesn’t equate to really living. Yeah, I’m still a living breathing being, but I am not able to live my life at all how I would like right now. Not even close.

So, I’m trying to act like I’m not totally off my rocker. I’m trying to find a place for my dog (she is definitely going to make a great companion for someone if I no longer can provide for her) as well as someone to trap and relocate Hazel Hideycat. I’m still watering all the plant life around here.

I’m not sure if anyone will keep up with the flowers and trees, or feeding the hummingbirds, but I can’t take care of it anymore. It’s obvious when you view the photos that I am not capable of keeping it all done. Just not enough knowledge, energy or money. But someone, if they want,  will be having some squash and some lettuce and cucumbers and beautiful flowers.

Not to mention the lovely medicine I’ve been growing. I have donated that to a friend. If I am able to manage being here now and then, we’ll share in the reaping of the harvest. If I am unable to come back when I leave…which is hopefully very soon…then they will be his. I really am quite proud of them. I’ve tended them for 3 months and 3 days. I’ve loved them and nurtured them and fed them and talked to them. I have no doubt if I would have been able to do what I thought I I was going to be able to do here, I would have been in good shape after harvest.

Evidently this is not the place for me.  Just like so many others places.   Me being here is a drain.  Me being anywhere that is not by myself is a drain.  I do not want that for my life.  If I can’t be self sufficient then there is not purpose.  Everyone here can contribute more than I can. I am no longer needed. I’ve served my purpose and now it’s time to move on.  People have homes, income and a place to do what they choose.  I made it great for quite a few folks.

So, for the time being I am working on getting the older little trailer in condition to put what I absolutely need to have to survive into. Really grateful for my son’s ability to build a new bed. I’ll just be moving my clothes and personal items over. Then I can clean out my 5th wheel and sell it as ready to live in with a mattress and dishes and everything. That will put a few pesos in my pocket for whatever is next in life.

The next 48 hours should be really interesting. I have not been without a Xanax at bedtime for over a few years. I was down to 1mg, but now I’m completely out and I am not going to get more. I also am going to do all I can to stay out of a detox center or a hospital. I would much rather hike into the wilderness and find my way there and let whatever happens, happen. I am tired of trying to live the way I have been. I would rather tie myself to a tree and cry and scream and rant and rave all alone than put that upon anyone else.

If I knew of a safe place to go, where they wouldn’t just put me back on meds, I would go there. If I knew of a place where I could be safe, where I could know some true security, I would go there. I’ve never known a place of safety and security at all in my life. Just when I think being safe is okay, sharing who I really am is okay….it ends up destroying me. Being alone is going to be the only way I can have some semblance of sanity. I have no trust in anyone or anything except for animals and plants. They never lie. They show how they are cared for. Humans show what they are about. It has nothing to do with me or anything I do. They just are how they are. So now…I take a leap into another place.

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Jumping from a bridge at Lake Billy Chinook at age 44

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Day 63 – Alone is best

Alone. By choice. I’ve decided to be alone. It’s easier for me to decide to be alone than to risk being discarded or abandoned yet again. The feelings of unworthiness and being tolerated by others only if I am that girl I used to be is more than I can tolerate.

You know…that girl! The one that never stopped. The one who was always there. The one that continually took care of others for years and years, but God forbid I can’t pull it together physically to take care of myself, let alone the shame of when I have mental disasters.

It’s really not surprising I have no self-esteem left. What an embarrassment I am. I’ve been homeless for 5 years. Yes, I have had a roof over my head, but no stability. I hop from one place to the other trying like hell to be worth at least enough to live on. Yet, for a variety of reasons, I can’t seem to manage. I can’t even manage to do what is required to keep my trailer somewhere and earn maybe $300 a month for my basics.

It seems I have a 6-7 month window. I go in doing my very very best trying to make a good impression, and then when I have a bad pain day (which is the primary reason I’m in this situation) or my depression flares up and they ask me to do something I can’t hardly do on a good day, they (whomever is my landlord) become disappointed and say things like, “well, it’s obvious you can’t manage the work here so you need to move along”.

Recently, where I have been parked for the last 9 months (a record), no one has said that, yet it’s been like a big billboard in my front window for a few months now. I really should have left back in April. Before I started the gardens. Before I felt vested in things I was doing on the property.  Before I got a cat, or started feeding the hummingbirds or planted flowers for all the other bugs.

I feel so dumb now. I should never have believed that I might truly have some security and stability. I never have had it so why should anything be different now? Especially since I can’t maintain the performance that the world requires of me in order to do more that just get by.

I have to laugh. I remember so many people saying if I would just stop gambling I could have the life I always wanted. Well guess what, I haven’t placed a bet in 6 years and 5 months (in 5 more days). I have worked my butt off recovering from a disease that nearly took my life. In the mean time, the person in charge of my medical care has done a great job of getting me dependent on pain pills and anti-anxiety meds and pills for my muscles and pills for my depression and pills for allergies and pills for diarrhea from my allergies and meds for constipation from the pain meds. That’s just the prescription things.

So, on my own I have weaned myself off everything except for the anti-depressant and one Xanax (anti-anxiety) at bedtime. I do still occasionally need my Lomotil (prescription anti-diarrheal) because I still sometimes try to eat at somewhere new and invariably it gets me or my nervous anxiety causes it. I have one Xanax left. So…that leaves just one medication daily and one for as needed.

Guess what? I’m not living the dream. It’s always just beyond my reach. It always has been and it isn’t going to change anytime soon. The big sign that continually flashes before my eyes says “That isn’t for you”. Stability and relationships that last and managing to live among others is out of my realm. It has been since I was less than double digits in age.

I can’t ever be what has been expected of  me.  So I’ll be alone, and try to figure out who I really am.

P.A.W.S.

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If you want to try out a really good time, give going through PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) a try.  After a nearly 20 year opiate use that grew and grew to the all time highest of 60-90mg of oxycodone daily about 2 years ago, I have completely detoxed myself off and have now had NONE since May 10.  Woohooo…..Yipppeeee….isn’t that awesome????

No.  It sucks.  It hurts. I hurt.  I hurt me and I hurt others.  I feel like my pain is the only real thing in my life.  Not physical pain but emotional.  Raw anger unlike any I’ve known in life.  It’s amazing what anger can do for physical pain.  The endorphins and all the chemicals that get released being in a constant state of flight or fight mode really make physical pain so reduced.  To the point that I can hurt myself pretty severely and not even hardly feel it when I get the anger to a heightened point.  That’s not fun.

What has me even more concerned is that I have one more highly addictive drug, Xanax, and I only have about 12 tablets left.  Which means this is going to probably get worse.  I have been on this anxiety medication since the early 1990’s when it was prescribed first for anxiety attacks then, for the last 4 years, it has been what has been given for sleep.  This is the best our health plan in Oregon can do.  Actual sleeping aids with less horrible addictive traits are not allowed on the formulary.

The only thing I have been using over the last 18 months to detox myself off all these toxic drugs the physicians kept giving me was medical marijuana, primarily RSO (Rick Simpson’s Oil).  Unfortunately I ran out of that and am trying to keep up with eating home made canna coconut oil and smoking (which I really would rather not smoke…it hurts my lungs).  But, without income and with it still being a Schedule 1 drug, there is no outside help to keep up with what helps the most.

You may wonder (or  not) what is happening in my brain from a scientific view?  Maybe I can explain in a basic way.   Essentially all the receptors that my brain has been creating for 20 years for the responses from taking a pain pill or two are not getting anything to keep them filled.  They are empty.  And they are FREAKING OUT!!!  From my recent readings on this, it could take months to years for my brain to get better, if it ever will completely.

When I detoxed from gambling, I was more a crumpled mess of pain and emotional lows.  My experiences thus far with PAWS after opiate addiction is much different.  While I do  have sleep interruption and at times physical pain, stomach upset, poor thinking, the worst of it all is the anger.  I am breaking my own heart from disappointment.

“Go to the hospital”, you say.  What will they do there?  What they did for the last 20 years.  Pump me full of meds and in a couple weeks let me out and say “you are healed”.  No thank you.  I will find a way to get OFF the rest of these meds and find what I can utilize to make me be okay without them.  The medical profession does not have my best interest at their forefront.  They have money making.  I won’t make them money if I won’t  subscribe to continuing their pills.

I don’t think all medications are bad.  I still am on an antidepressant and will most likely take it indefinately.  But chronic pain and anxiety drugs that make me feel  this bad when I can’t or don’t have them…no thank you.  I refuse to be reliant on anything someone can give or take at a whim.

I have made promises that I will LIVE through this.  I will.  It might not look pretty, but I’ll still be breathing on the other side.  I just am at a complete loss what the next months to year or longer might look like.  Always a journey, that’s my life.   In the mean time, I think seeing a few sights and allowing myself to only be concerned about me for awhile is going to be the best healing path.  Time to work through a few more bucket list items.

Meeting small goals

As rough as it’s been I am going to try to focus on something positive.  It’s really a challenge these days to view my gratitude list because it seems so  bereft of anything but necessaties.   I met my goals for the day~!

I had three goals.  A shower, eating something decent, and a meeting.  Of course, if I broke it down into actual steps, it would be more than three.  All of these required steps.  Gathering clothes and toothbrush and getting to the bathroom and undressed.  Oh, and making a cup of coffee and making the bed.  If I get out of it to get dressed, it’s getting made!!!  Drying off and combing hair about wore me out.  Then to gather my bag and keys and the dog and something to drink and head out the door.

Driving.  That is a task.  It requires concentration and mindfulness.  There are some days I just can’t do it or shouldn’t do it because I would be unsafe.  From lack of concentration.  From medication.  From fatigue.  But today I drove.

I sat in my meeting and listened to others and participated and shared my thoughts.  I can’t talk without crying right now…but I shared in spite of crying.  It is because of my group and the help they have shared with me over the years that I forced myself out of bed at 6:30 in the evening.

I also went to the store. To get something to eat.  I’d rather eat something from the store than the junk at a drive through.  As well, I don’t  have the money for a drive through but still have money on my EBT card.  Well, not money per se. I can’t get cash, it’s only for food.  I walked through produce first.  What are the prices, what is going to taste good, what is healthy, what do I want, what do I need?  Decisions, even the basic ones, are so difficult.  I grabbed a couple oranges and a couple apples and some sweet potatoes and a bag of salad.  That gave me a bunch of colors!  Colorful food is good.  Right?

I grabbed some organic TV type dinners from the frozen bin.  I think I’ve only cooked twice a week or so in the last 3 months.  I am not inspired or feel wanting to be in the kitchen at this house.  The counters and sinks are full of dishes (not mine, I do my own each time I fix something) and there are ants all over the place.  Let’s see…oh, and I got some sprouted bread and ice cream and 2 candy bars.  I was following my diet so well, but nothing has tasted good and I have no energy to make things and so some treats beckoned me.  Dear Lord, please help me not make food be something I use to deal with my feelings!  I am a pretty healthy eater most of the time, so I am going to cut myself some slack.

I got home and things put away and ate a salad and a piece of fruit and tried one of the dinners but by then I was full.  I undressed and climbed into bed.  3 hours and I am done!!!!  I met my goals.  I felt anxious and overwhelmed at times, to the point of tears while driving…but I did it.  I met my goals for the day.

If I go back and read all what I just wrote, it makes me almost wanna laugh!  When I think of how my days used to be utilized.  Up at dawn and cleaning and studying and getting ready and going to work.  And coming home and cooking  meals for a family.  And more studying.  Meeting with friends for social time.  Doing things with my kids.  Keeping the bills paid and the paperwork caught up and the car washed.

Today I took a shower, got some food and ate it and went to a meeting.  And I am grateful for that.  It’s way more than I did yesterday.