When I wanted to Die: Reflections on my prescription medications

When I wanted to die I was on, meaning I was prescribed by a doctor, ten different drugs that were supposed to help me with pain management, PTSD, anxiety and depression. The slew of drugs also included going to receive injections (nerve blocks) to try and help alleviate the constant pain I was in. Every time I had side effects from one prescription, instead of stopping that drug I was prescribed another to help with the side effects which would ultimately produce different side effects. That’s when I wanted to die. I didn’t even know what I was taking when I took my prescriptions. I would put them into my categorized pill box for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime and then forget what they were for. I couldn’t tell you what the pink pill did or what the green and white one did except that they didn’t help.  

I was constantly functioning in a state of fog. I couldn’t clear my head enough to think. My job suffered. What used to take me twenty minutes to do would take me over an hour to do because I couldn’t concentrate. I was terrified of making mistakes. At this point I was in the Army and I was in charge of over a $1,000,000 in equipment and I also did the monthly audits on all of the travel vouchers for the brigade. I had a lot of monetary responsibility which could end up in a lot of legal troubles if I missed something.  

I wanted to die. I dreaded waking up every day to go in and do I job that I disliked. My patience was gone. I had to use all of self control to manage my pain. I couldn’t take my medications until I got to my office because I couldn’t safely drive my car. I had to make sure I took my medication at an exact time in the afternoon so I would be able to drive home safely when work was finished. My life was ruled by a time table and drugs. I hid my mental problems from everyone. I think you could ask anyone I worked with and they would probably say that I always seemed happy with a smile. But, inside I was slowing dying. 

But going home wasn’t any better. I had no sex drive. The drugs had seen to that. My husband was and still is amazing. He would just hold me and say it’s all going to be ok. I would be sobbing uncontrollably, unable to breathe while snot dripped down my face, feeling utterly unattractive and he would tell me I was beautiful. Nothing helped. I felt like a waste of space.  

I started thinking as I drove to work what if I just drove off the road into a tree. I would cross a bridge, what would happen if I just drove off this bridge? The moment I snapped I was sitting at my desk staring blanking at my audit screen pretending to work but not doing anything because I was in my drug fog. I thought, I could just take my knife out of my pocket and slit my wrists and no one would notice. I just wanted everything to stop. I wanted to stop hurting and if I couldn’t stop the pain I wanted to be able to think without feeling like my mind was swimming though oatmeal. Maybe my husband would be better without me. He would receive the insurance money and be free of me. He could live again without having to drag me around and take care of me. I reached for my knife and had it open sitting there in my hand. I held the blade against my left wrist and pushed it against my skin.

And I stopped.  

And I pushed it against my skin again.

And I paused.  

Maybe. . . .maybe I could just stop all the drugs.  

I laid the knife down in front of me on my desk between myself and my keyboard with the blade still exposed. Breathe in and breathe out.

That night I went home and told my husband that I was going to stop the medications because I couldn’t take it anymore. The next day I spoke with my doctors and they refused my request. I tried to explain all I wanted to try was more homeopathic or alternative treatments. But honestly I was talking to military doctors why would I think they would want that? Ha! Only one doctor agreed with me to try something else but I had to keep taking the prescriptions. I went home and sobbed uncontrollably.  

I hated life. I hated everything. I hated myself, I hated my doctors, I hated the sky, I hated how I felt. I despised that my body wouldn’t work anymore. I was so frustrated I couldn’t even think straight about what I should do because my mind was swimming in an oatmeal fog. I was filled with hate, rage, frustration, despair . . . I gave up. I laid there and gave up on life, gave up on life. Maybe it was two minutes, two hours, two days . . . I don’t know but I laid there and gave in to the drugs and let my mind swim around in circling while the room spun uncontrollably.  

The next morning I didn’t take my medications. I stopped everything. For the record I know that this was dangerous and not the way you’re supposed to do it but I didn’t care in that moment. The physical pain I felt was unbearable. The mental pain was not as bad. The withdrawal from the pain killers was the worst. They had never been working fully but it was the dependency. The continual increasing in amount to deal with the same pain. It came in waves and with each wave came a new mounting drive to end my life and be done with it all. I wanted it to be all over. Just end. 

Then one morning about two weeks later I woke up and my mind was clear. My body hurt but I could feel that it hurt. I could feel exactly where it hurt. I could concentrate, I made coffee, I ate breakfast, I drove my car….I still despised my work….I watched a movie and understood what was happening. I kissed my husband and I felt his lips, felt his love again.  

When I wanted to die it wasn’t because I felt too much, it was because I couldn’t feel anything. I was overwhelmed by the lack of clarity, by the suppression of my mind to consciously and subconsciously process.  

When I wanted to die it wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to live for. It was because I couldn’t think of what I had to live for. I let other people control my health and my mind. I let others give me medications that basically rendered me as a walking zombie. No, it wasn’t their fault that I was how I was. No, they didn’t force the medications down my throat. I took the medications willingly. I put the pills into my mouth and swallowed. But, when I wanted to stop I wasn’t allowed to. When did the choices for our bodies and minds become someone else’s jurisdiction? When did we become so afraid of our doctors? I had become a slave to the medical system and put all my faith in people who were more interested in medicating then finding the underlying issues and working on those.  

Sometimes I wonder if I really wanted to die that time or if it was the medications effecting my thoughts. Either way, the thoughts were there in my mind. Maybe the medications strengthened those ideas or maybe they suppressed the good thoughts and let the others slowly surface. Either way now those thoughts are mine to own forever. They had made me who I am. They still dwell there in the back of my mind. Everyday is an internal battle to keep the suicidal thoughts in the distance. They like to surface, playing games and invading the happier moments. But now I can recognize them and control them for now. 

Every morning I wake up and I say to myself, “Be aware of yourself. Know your body. Know your mind. Keep strong in your beliefs. Stand strong in your will to survive.”

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