I'm a drug addict. Who isn't these days?
Going by the definition of the phrase as someone who habitually takes and is dependent on drugs, that ends up including a fairly large amount of the country. It's a scary thought to realize you are addicted. It's even scarier to think about how many other people are.
Of course, I'm not talking about anything illegal, and not even anything used for pleasure. But still, there it is. I'm a drug addict.
I have two prescriptions: one for sleep, and one to make me normal. As someone who grew up in a household where there was no such as a mental disorder, until dementia hit my family, I was raised to believe people that cried out that they were depressed or psychotic were really just lazy or crazy. There was no such thing as mental illness. And while I never really believed that, to this day, I'm still a bit hesitant to take anything.
I take Ambien to help me sleep. I've had it for a while, and used it irregularly until a few months ago. I never really liked it. For one, it's never really seemed to give me a good night's sleep. Yes, I feel a bit rested in the morning, but never completely. No, it's the side effects that I don't like. I take my little pill, and I have no idea what happens. There have been so many times I've woken up the next day to find inane Facebook ramblings or dozens of texts sent. In fact, only a week ago, I set up a blog for the first time in five years. And here we are. It embarrasses me to no end. Which is odd, because if these were incidents done through alcohol, I would just laugh it off. There's something about the idea of it being a side effect of a chemical that makes it embarrassing to me. It also scares me. I wake up with no memory of ever lying down. I can remember only vague snippets of me nights, although I can always tell when I've gotten up in the night.
And it's not like I haven't tried natural sleep. I've tried everything I can think of. I've used Tylenol PM, Melatonin, warm milk; I even had a doctor recommend a shot of whiskey before bed. None of them worked. I was told my body would eventually force itself to rest when I became tired enough, but I have a job and a daughter, and after four days of little sleep, I realized I couldn't keep going. I refuse to take it on a nightly basis though. I don't trust myself to take them when I have my daughter. That's my biggest issue. But when I don't take them, I feel off, like I've tried to go a morning without my coffee. I know there are reasons for my lack of sleep. Just nothing I've been able to fix yet.
After a bad break up, I just wasn't able to sleep anymore. Call it a psychological issue if you want, but that still doesn't help me function the next morning.
My other prescription is for Lexapro, which I take daily for anxiety. This was also supposed to help with my sleeping, but I've been on it since 2004 and have noticed no changes in my sleeping patterns due to it. My anxiety is worse than my lack of sleep. Before the Lexapro, I had problems getting out of bed each day, problems leaving the house. One summer I went off the meds and I barely left my own apartment for three months. I think that's what terrifies me the most; that this is going to be a life-long addiction, because I simply can't function normally in society without it.
And I've tried, believe me I've tried. Like I said, I was raised to believe that there is no pill to cure a mental disorder that doesn't exist. So I've tried. Healthy eating, healthy living, I used to do karate, I currently do yoga, I walk, I read daily, I write, I try to spend time with friends and family whenever I can, therapy, I try to exercise my mind and body daily, I look in the mirror and tell myself I can do anything. But I can't. And I have yet to find an explanation as to why.
So when you eliminate all other possibilities, what remains, no matter how implausible, must be the explanation. I just have something in my brain chemistry that causes these reactions. Now, I'm forced to deal with addictions for the rest of my life, using the same excuse that a thousand junkies have used, that I'm just doing it to feel normal. I'd give up my chemical dependency at the drop of a hat if I could. Besides the feelings born out of my upbringing that I've had to constantly fight against, there's the financial side to it. I'd much rather be spending my money on something I'd actively enjoy than to spend it on little pills I need to get me through each day.
But this is who I am now, and who we are as a nation. Pill-popping junkies just trying to survive. In this case, I've still got most of a lifetime of addiction to look forward to.