ANOREXIA AND PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION ABUSE: KID IN A BRAIN CANDY STORE
I was chilling on the couch Sunday ready to watch the Grammy’s when I heard that Whitney Houston had died. It was like a little punch in the gut, as it brought me back to the day where I used to bop around in pegged acid-wash jeans and bangle bracelets belting out “how will I know if he really loves me?” to MTV. Although saddened by the news, I wasn’t shocked, because I figured right away it was probably from drug related causes. Just like Michael Jackson, and Amy Winehouse, as well as Heath Ledger, she was unfortunately another candle whose flame went out far too early due to substance abuse. She was found in her bathtub, and although it’s not final, they are assuming that the numerous amounts of prescription pills she had in her hotel room had something to do with it. They found her underneath the water unconscious.
This sent shivers up and down my spine, because I know just how easy it is to pass out in the bathtub, especially after taking medication.
Everybody knows I suffered very seriously from Anorexia and Bulimia, but very few people know I suffered from a drug addiction as well. I have never done cocaine, I have never shot up heroin, or even dropped one ounce of acid.
See, all of my drugs were very neat and nice and came in a little orange bottle.
My drug dealer was any doctor or psychiatrist I was seeing at the time, and my pick-up place was my local pharmacy.
Perhaps this is why for so long I was able to use and abuse little white, purple, red, and green, round, oblong, rectangular, and oval little pieces of brain candy.
It honestly wasn’t until I was officially diagnosed with Anorexia and Bulimia that the idea of drugs was even presented to me. At first it was your standard slew of Anti-depressants, which back then consisted of mainly Prozac and a newly introduced Zoloft. People were very shy about saying they were on anti-depressants at that time. It was kind of a taboo, and people didn’t really want to go around announcing they had mental or emotional issues. Today you go to dinner and the conversation usually revolves around what you are on,what your dog is currently taking, and what you are thinking of trying next. Pills to help you feel better, to sleep through the night, to pee, to have better sex, the list goes on.
I never really found that any of them were helping me, but maybe that’s perhaps because I wasn’t eating.
I’ll never forget that I was given a .5 milligram of Ativan, and that ten minutes later I could barely stand up.
After that I remember wanting another one right away. I loved anything that could take me away from the inner pain I was feeling from my eating disorder, and this little baby sure did the trick. It also made me very calm, and I think I saw a couple purple bunny rabbits rollerskating in my room as well.
When I left the hospital, I had a whole little orange bottle of them, and it was like having 60 little nuggets of gold in my possession.
What I didn’t realize is that pretty soon those 60 little nuggets of gold weren’t going to be enough.
Over the years one or two didn’t do the job and I found myself finally taking up to 20 a day. My poison primarily consisted of Clonazepam aka Klonopin, a drug that is a close relative of Ativan. I also enjoyed other family members and friends such as Xanax, Percisan, Valium, Morphine, and Oxycontin.
Taking so many would make my prescription run out, so I found myself seeing several doctors at a time to get more scripts. Back then it was easier then today where there are a lot stricter precautions and regulations making sure patients cannot do that.When those ran out I got very desperate, sometimes looking in dark places for my fix.
One time I knew a friend who was also on it, and I stole her whole bottle of 120 out of her medicine cabinet, and then of course never called or saw her again.
After that, I started to get very risky by taking several amounts of OTC drugs with them such as Tylenol P.M., Benadryl, Dramamine, and NyQuil.
I would pass out for hours, but sometimes it could be for the whole day.
I wasn’t eating and weighed as much as a small child, so you can imagine what an effect all these drugs where having on me.
One time I took so many Klonopin and Benadryl that my heart started to beat 90 miles a minute. I was alone in my apartment and I remember thinking “I am going to die right now”. I could literally see my heart beating out of my chest, and I could barely breathe. The next thing I remember, I was shaking, going into a seizure, blacking out, and waking up on the floor.
There were other times where I would wake up in the bathtub, or the time where I never made it to the bathtub that was running and woke up 12 hours later with a completely flooded apartment.
One time I woke up sweating bullets, and realized I had left one of the burners on my stove on high heat for 8 hours. Apparently I was going to cook something but passed out before I started.
I would also wake up and see things that had occurred but I don’t remember doing. Strange things like furniture moved around, or all my shoes outside on my yard, or things that were broken or smashed. I’d pass out while talking to people on the phone, leaving them on the other line to assume the worst.
Most of the people I knew were scared every single day that I was going to die from my eating disorder, but quite honestly I am surprised I didn’t actually die from all of my pill abuse.
The amounts I were taking were way over the limit, and I self-medicated all the time to zone out all of the hell I was in everyday with my ED. I was no different than any drug addict, constantly ”tweaking” and looking for any way I could to get my fix.
Prescription meds are tricky. As much as they help with anxiety, depression, and insomnia, they can also for somebody who has an addictive personality or just likes to numb away pain be extremely dangerous.
In a hospital setting, where they are controlled by educated medical professionals, they can be managed. When you leave however being on them and left to be your own doctor is where is can get scary.
Luckily for me, I was able to nip it in the bud, and by that I mean I no longer take anything that is addictive. I let my doctors and dentist know ahead of time, that I am a former addict, so that they don’t start giving me the scripts to get my crack in pretty little shapes. It was hard to stop, but just like my Eating Disorder I knew if I didn’t, it would kill me.
Many many people especially with Eating Disorders have struggled like me with pills, and basically what I learned is that like the starving, the binging and all the purging, all those meds just numbed the pain, they didn’t take it away. As soon as they wore off, all of those issues were still there.
If you feel like you have a problem with anything that comes in a little orange bottle, I encourage you to seek some counseling, and maybe even look into a treatment center to help you become clean.
Pills don’t mess around, mixing them is crazy dangerous. A lot of meds can have lethal effects if mixed with other ones. Just a little extra can mean the difference between you waking up and seeing today, or never waking up again to see tomorrow. Pop that pill for thought!
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