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.

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The Clash of PTSD triggers and Opiate withdrawal….and the CRASH!!!

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As I look back over the years, so many hopes and dreams, always feeling like I was working hard, trying my best. Right now, it’s actually pretty amazing what I’ve done with the deal I got dealt. My life has handed me circumstances that not everyone goes through. The multiplicity of the stress of various circumstances have created changes in my brain. I do not see things the way you do. Add to that, the medical arena not knowing how to deal with my various symptoms and handing out prescriptions of mood stabilizers, SSRI’s, pain medications, sleep medications, Neurontin for foot pain, anti-inflammatories, anti-diarrheals, anti-constipation, anti-anxiety medications….among the top 10! It’s truly amazing that I am sitting here able to even be partially present in my day.

I have learned over the years what some of my triggers are. Certain smells like old medicine bottles, slamming of a cupboard door, yelling of any type. I can not tolerate perfumes. I notice them right away. The same can be said to the feel of clothing against my skin. It has to be soft cotton and loose and not too hot and able to be layered because I can’t regulate my temperature when my adrenal glands are on overdrive.

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So I’ve been trucking along working my recovery from gambling, slowly tapering off all those medications and got down to where I was hardly taking any oxycodone anymore. For instance, I might even have a day or two that I took none.Unfortunately, in late March on my trip to Chicago,  I got really sick with pneumonia and bronchitis, the flu and pleurisy. I was miserable. So, since I had them, of course I took the pain meds. I was in pain. Right?

Then, just a couple weeks after healing up from that and back down to just one dose a day or less, I have this incredible ride on a 1939 Ford F9 tractor down a hill with no brakes and out of gear which caused me to dislocate a rib, and so I had to take them again. I actually had a rib poking out (still under the skin), and shoved it back in. I awoke the next morning to the bruise from doing it. That was late April.

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In the interim period of time that I am kind of subconsciously getting myself off the meds (this has been a slow steady progression since 11/14) while huge amounts of stress  get added. Big stuff in January, then some big triggers in February. Based on my journaling and emails from February through March, I was trying to share that I was not feeling safe, or in a place of peace. Then after I got well from all my ailments, there were more triggers. I tried telling people. I wrote letters and tried to have conversations about how it felt to be triggered and how someone could help me. But if someone has not had to really feel what having a PTSD flare-up feels like, they can’t understand my language. In my mind, I think it must sound like “WAW WAH WAW WAH WAW: and they think I am just being a complainer.

So here is where I am going to say I gave everyone the best I could and I am really proud I hung on as long as I did without exploding in someone’s face. Well….that is, until I did. But I held on for a couple months under what felt like incredible stress with no one speaking the same language as me. I’m sure over the last couple of weeks not much of my language has made sense. I know my brain feels pretty fried.

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You see, without really thinking about it, I stopped taking the pain pills. I was feeling better. I was using medical marijuana with good success. I had stopped the muscle relaxers and the anti-anxiety medications quite some time ago….except for that night time dose of Xanax which is what the NP prescribes for my severe insomnia. Oregon Health Plan won’t pay for anything less addictive for chronic insomnia, so this was my option for a long time. I still have to wean myself off of it.

Unbeknownst to me, combining ongoing PTSD triggers and withdrawal from opioid’s is a horrible situation. Had I thought about it, I would not have done it, but now I’m 6 weeks or more into it and don’t want to have to go through all this again.

So….things you need to know if you have PTSD and you also are considering detoxing off opiates with medical marijuana!

  • Make sure you are in a really peaceful and caring place. For at least 6 months or up to year. No high stress. No high drama.
  • Do a slow taper.
  • I recommend RSO if you have been on high doses of opiates. A Sativa with high CBD for nighttime for certain. Stay low….stay easy. Ahhhhhh.(this is one place I went wrong. I didn’t have the right strains to help with the additional stress on my body).
  • Make sure you have some creature comforts, like air conditioning, a tub to soak in, someone to maybe lightly rub your back or feet while you breath through the rough moments.
  • Do NOT operate machinery. Especially when titrating medications. It’s not just a balance and clarity issue. The anger that can accompany opiate withdrawal makes driving a serious hazard. I learned the hard way.
  • Be good to yourself. Be kind. Remember it took years to get here. Keep in contact with a medical care provider if you can’t be certain you or others are safe while withdrawing. Realize it takes time.

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I am not having a good time with this and it isn’t looking ladylike when I rage and roar…but I am determined to find peace without handfuls of medications that do nothing in the long run. While all of this is not so great of a time and at times quite embarrassing, if one person reads this with chronic pain or PTSD and keeps from getting themselves from being addicted to prescription pain and anxiety meds then I have done a good thing.

I am sharing this because I want to help others. There are other options to all the pills our doctors so freely hand out. I hope if you are reading this…it’s before you have a 20 year habit that you don’t even recognize it is a bad habit. I was just following doctors orders.