22 Jul 7 weeks and medicating
“My mommy is a drug user and my daddy drank himself to death.” How’s that for an opening statement? I should stop typing and call Dr. Phil now, because this is daytime Emmy material. It’s my opinion that they’re textbook examples of people who day after day, choice after choice, medicated the feelings right out of their lives. I could write for days on those two and fill the pages with all the material they’ve given me over the years, but since I don’t find them all that interesting or helpful, I’ll spare you the boring read. I’ll stick to writing about me, and my journey. That may also turn out to be a boring read, no guarantees.
I watched a video today called “Lessons from the Mental Hospital: Glennon Doyle Melton at TEDxTraverseCity” – you can find it on YouTube. I was struck by this powerful piece of advice, “Be brave enough to tell your own story, and kind enough not to tell anyone else’s.” She also said “Sitting with the pain and joy of being a human being, while refusing to run for the exit, is the only way to become a real human being.” Amazing. As I limped through one of my most difficult days yet, I carefully considered these words. I want to be brave enough to tell my own story. I want to be kind enough to not tell anyone else’s. I want to be a real human being, and I share her perspective on the necessity of actually feeling our way through life.
So here’s a little about me…
I’m anti-medication. I think I’ve seen too many people numb themselves to prevent pain, avoid accountability, dodge feelings, and develop addictions over the years. When I have a headache, I just have a headache. I don’t run for the medicine cabinet. When I am sad, I cry. When I am angry, I rant. When I’m blue, or feeling down, I sleep. I don’t chew Xanax like Chiclets, and I don’t put Grey Goose in my Dasani bottles. I have memories of my mother offering valium during times of stress and sadness, rather than a hug. I’ve said many times, “It is okay to feel. We were created with emotions for a reason. I will feel this, and I will overcome this.” Some people get me, others don’t. I’m thankful for the ones who do.
I should also note that I am a pharmaceutical sales rep, and my job is to promote the use of certain medications ‘for the appropriate patient.’ I love that tag line… it appears everywhere in our training materials, and it truly is a core belief and a part of our corporate culture. It wasn’t always, but it is now. My job isn’t to sling drugs at anyone and everyone, it is to discuss specific treatment options for patients whose medical condition might benefit from the unique capabilities of the medications my company offers. Not to brag, but I work for the only pharma company that doesn’t bonus its employees for drug sales. How about that for being patient focused??? Yep! We are paid for our scientific knowledge, business acumen, and ability to engage customers. Why am I explaining this? I think it’s important to have a clear picture of the drug rep who doesn’t believe in using drugs.
Meds have their place, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a weirdo. I’ve tried Latisse, helllloooo! That is a miracle drug. I’ve had botox, helllloooooo again! Start that ninja-med young, is my advice. I also got my kid vaccinated, pumped him full of antihistamines in spring, and allowed him to take advil on occasion, so don’t call me a whackadoodle, just yet. I guess I shouldn’t describe myself as anti-medication. Rather, I am anti-abuse and anti-overuse. That’s a little different, yes? Okay, so I’m a drug rep who believes in using medications, appropriately and with extreme caution. That’s better.
So why did I ask four people if they could find me some cocaine, just last week? I am telling the truth. If you don’t want to read it, stop now.
Let me remind you that my gorgeous, intelligent, happy, hilarious, and amazing son ended his own life in a moment of panic, on impulse, in the middle of a day of extreme highs and lows. He was 14 years old, and king of the world. He was everyone’s friend and confidante, he was a leader, and he was not depressed. I am left wondering what to do now. I’m Jackie O climbing over the back of the car, trying to pick up pieces of brain matter and put my loved one back together again. I’m all the king’s horses and all the king’s men. I’m the dreamer whose teeth are falling out, and I keep trying to put them back in but they won’t stay. I’m the woman they call an amazing mother, but I no longer have a child.
So here I am, Miss Anti-abuse and Anti-overuse asking not one, but FOUR people to get me cocaine. I told them I had a bucket list and wanted to check off a few items. Cocaine is just one of my bucket list items, no biggy, right? I’m not a mother anymore. I’m not a youth leader. It’s just me, and I can do whatever I want, right? One friend cautiously asked, “What else is on that list?” (I am laughing out loud at the memory… brave little friend of mine!) Thankfully, I have some pretty amazing friends, none of whom know how to score coke. So they said. To those four people I’d like to send out a quick hug & kiss, and say thank you for NOT helping me.
P.S. I don’t have a bucket list. Never have. I’ve always just done whatever it occurred to me to do, and even if I did have a bucket list, cocaine isn’t really on it. You can exhale now. You’re probably thinking, “Is she ON SOMETHING while writing this? I don’t follow…” Don’t worry I do have a point.
Here it is: sometimes we get hit with something so big, so unexpected, so painful, so traumatic, that we are ill-equipped to handle the impact. I feel like that is where I am right now. I am sitting smack dab in the middle of the most horrific event I will ever face, and I have no idea how to get through it. I don’t have just one emotion to deal with, I have them all. I am bingeing on guilt, purging self-esteem, gagging on grief, and choking on huge quantities of bewilderment. I’m injecting pain, and snorting confusion, and washing it all down with a double shot of despair. I have no light at the end of my tunnel, and I wish my mom was here with a big bottle of her special hugs.
THAT is my truth.
7 weeks today, and it gets more and more difficult as the days pass. Last week I was asking for cocaine, for pete’s sake! What do I know about drugs like that??!?! My friends must have thought I had lost my ever-loving mind. It’s actually quite funny… now. It wasn’t funny last week. I thought last week was hard then I met this week. Today was one of my most difficult days … but I’m still here. I’m still trying. I am still the girl who doesn’t believe numbing myself is the answer. I am not feeling better, but I am feeling. I don’t want to always write about pain and struggle and despair. Those who know me know that is not my style. I am full of joy. I am hardwired for faith. I am an overcomer.
“It will get better” is one of the most useless pieces of advice I’ve ever received, but I know it is also the truest. It will get better.
Self-harm isn’t the answer, and neither is a big bump of cocaine.