Thursday, February 4, 2010

More gratitude

I just deleted the long story of how I became psychotic last Friday night because of taking Lyrica. The horrible details are not useful, nor do I really want to go over them again.

Suffice it to say I took this drug without much thought, even after hearing the pharmacist say that it caused extreme suicidal behavior in some people "who were probably messed up to begin with." Well, I was messed up to begin with, made a joke to him about that, which he laughed at, and merrily downed the little pill with my supper. Three hours later, I was hallucinating. Fourteen hours later, I was admitted to a psych ward, and it took me a few days to calm down after this truly frightening episode.

The thing is, I'm oddly grateful. In my psychotic state, I was experiencing and acting out all the darkest places I've ever been to. It was everything I've ever been afraid of happening, and a regression into the fear of a little child, my little child, the one I've never been able to be kind to.

And as you can see, I survived. What's there to be afraid of now?

I am not my life's stories. I am not the victim of my life's stories.

I got to visit with some interesting people, people who are hurting far more than I.

One man came into the ward, which is also for detox, because his doctor forced him to be there. He was waiting for the three days to be up. He left, and went directly to a bar, where he called his room mate at the hospital. He said he was planning on being dead by the morning. Life without booze was not an option. He'd rather have one last binge and be done with life.

Oh, I am very lucky indeed.

Another man said he was afraid of the surgery he was facing. The doctor's odds for his surviving the surgery without paralysis? 50/50. What condition did this man have that he was willing to face those coin-toss odds? Well, the very same one I have in my back, leg and foot. No one suggested this nasty bit of surgery to me. I told him that. He said that he was told that the numbness in his foot would spread. No one told me this one, either. I beseeched him to ask for a second opinion (or more). He would not hear of it. "If I can live without this pain, I'm willing to take my chances" he said.

Oh, I'm glad I hallucinated on Friday night. I really am lucky. I have a lot to be grateful for. I've got a fairly good mind, one that doesn't accept nonsense from experts easily. I am not suffering all that much, compared to others.

This is not a good way to discern the depth of one's suffering, but it was offered to me, and I took it. I listened as people wove their stories about how they've been wronged, hurt, damaged, and I kept wondering why everyone was doing so much damage to themselves.

Not that I haven't done the same thing. Oh yes, I have. I've done my fair share, and more. But, it's leaving me. Yes, I can feel it slip away. Maybe I needed this one last gasp, the proverbial dark night of soul (even if it was brought on by a bad combo of prescription drugs).

Everything is grist for the mill. Everything is as it should be. How can we argue with that? What's the point? If this is reality, fighting against it is a losing proposition. If I don't like the way things are, I can continue arguing with them, making myself suffer more, or I can make peace or move on. But suffering is certainly optional.

I suffered hard on Friday and well into Saturday. I am grateful I do not suffer from schizophrenia. Psychosis is frightening. I am most grateful for the fact that while I'm a bit flakey, I'm basically mentally intact. Sure, like everyone else in the world, I have some delusions, some of them pretty big, but I am grounded in reality. That is the greatest gift.

On Friday night, I looked out the window and saw children's drawings, images of knives plunging into flesh, all sorts of horrors. They were not real. The trees, covered with snow, and the birds that land on the feeders are. I am so lucky that that is what I do see. How lucky we all are!


BitterGrace said...

Hi, Julie--Glad you're back, in every sense.

Julie H. Rose said...

Hi Maria. I'm glad I'm back, too.

TMC said...

I'm glad you made it out the other side of the ordeal, and with a good perspective to boot.