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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Addition, Withdrawal and Gratitude

I posted “I am Not a Drug Addict” in response to something I read on HuffPost about the newest crackdown on people who use painkillers through no fault or their own.  One of my doctors called my use of these substances a “necessary evil” and his feelings about their use, regardless of the reasons, was clear.  He was not a pain doctor by the way.
It amazes me that the people who know the least about these substances and the reasons for their use voice the loudest opinions.  But that is true with everything I guess.  Keeping your mouth shut has never been more of a challenge then it is in this time of our (arrested) development.  Please read “Pharmacists and other Sorted Judges” to learn more.  It’s here somewhere….scroll down.
If someone or something waved a magic wand in my direction and I were to be suddenly pain free, I would turn all my painkillers in so fast it would make your head spin.  Well, after I went through a doctor’s supervised withdrawal that is.  These are dangerous drugs I take and they do horrific things to my body.  I am always amazed at the number of people who take them recreationally.  I mean, I smoked pot in the sixties and seventies and anyone in my age bracket who tells you they never tried it is either lying or one of the few who did not.  The very few.  I’m guessing here so don’t yell at me about it.  But this stuff?  What DO they get out of it?  When used for pain, they do NOT make you high, though I never drive when taking them.
At any rate, I do many other things to help with the pain, all with mixed results.  I use acupuncture, Reki, meditation, massage….nothing lasts, but with the pain levels I’m at, an hour’s worth of relief is something I cherish.
I know that it is impossible to expect people who love us to understand the level of discomfort (how’s that for a kind word?) we are in.  But respecting what we tell them is essential.  Because if you are like me, your brain starts to go ballistic, thinking everyone hates you and no one believes you.  It’s maddening.
Sometimes I want the life I never had.  When I hear friends and family describe trips they were on, nights out on the town, new this or that, it’s hard not to SOMETIMES feel envious.  But it’s rare now, because I’ve been in this state for so long, it just kind of slides off of me.  Still, when I think about all the experiences I have lived without, I have to be careful because I start to go down that abyss, and it’s dismal down there.  My concentration is getting worse so reading, one of my very favorite things to do, has become difficult.  I have no patience for television and my writing skills are sliding.  I’m bored out of my skull.  I want to contribute, but this lack of concentration makes it difficult to do so.  And my social skills have hit the skids as well.
Here are some tips you can share with those who love you:
1.    Most of the time, we just want an ear, not an answer.  Listening is key.
2.    When we go days without talking to our friends and loved ones, we feel more isolated and lonely.  So call once a week, at least.  Just to check in.  It is essential, especially if you are partially (or totally) disabled and live alone.  I keep a phone with me even when I go to the bathroom, but it still helps to hear a voice.
3.    We try not to complain because we know it drives people away…but the Catch-22 is that the less we hear from friends and family, the more likely we are to complain.  And the more we complain, the less we hear from you.  Sigh
4.    There is a tendency to have a “Don’t ask Don’t tell” policy that is unspoken, but there.  This isn’t really a good policy.  Offer something on occasion.   Having someone to pop in and take us to the grocery store (even if we can get there by ourselves) is a huge thing for us because it takes the burden of going out alone off of us and we get to socialize a little.
5.    We DO want to hear about what is going on with you and your own families, your work, etc.  I am very happy for those in my life who are doing well, AND I also want to hear about the challenges you have.  So often, people feel they can’t share the icky things that happen because they feel your situation is much worse.  Tell those who care about you not to compare.  It is NOT true that YOU have it worse then anyone else… there is always someone worse off and it does no good to compare so stop it (see post on it)
6.    This actually helps in reverse.  When you are feeling especially low, think about someone who has more challenges than you.
7.    Practice being grateful, and express that gratitude to your friends and loved ones.  Always.,

And the bottom line here is this:  This is YOUR life.  Yours.  No one elses. No one can take it away from you, even if you think you want them to.  You don't, trust me.  Learn from this life of yours because when you open yourself up to that journey, it's a hell of a ride.

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