Feeling compelled…

So, there is something happening in my life right now that I am compelled to write about.

Frankly, I have been telling myself to NOT write about it because it is a hard subject to discuss.

Following my second surgery I was prescribed Ativan.  I was given it via IV during my hospital stay and then to take as needed at home.  My recovery was rough as most of you know, so I began taking it at night to sleep.  Then I needed more of it.  Suddenly I was taking it three times a day, for almost three years.  For those of you that may not know Ativan is a benzodiazepine, a narcotic.  It is controlled.  It is addictive.

As my life continues to progress I am thinking more and more about how someday I hope to start a family.  Of course this is a category D drug, meaning it has been found to produce physical and psychological abnormalities in both human and animal fetuses.  It is an absolute no-no during pregnancy.  Children born who have ingested this drug inside the womb experience withdrawal after birth and typically have issues throughout their lives.

I decided with my physician I would get off of this wonder drug.  I call it a wonder drug because it works wonders for people with MD.  It not only quells the anxiety this disease produces, but it also has been found to settle the inner ear.

I found myself relying on my pills.  I began to resent them.  They began to be a medicinal straightjacket.  I was bound to them.  I was terrified to not take them.  I became dependent.

One thing you must understand I only took them as prescribed.  I took three per day, which is what my physician had prescribed them as.  I never took more than I needed.  But isn’t that what all addicts say?  I couldn’t go anywhere without them.  They needed to be within reach.  They became my security blanket.

About four weeks ago I began the process of getting off of this medication.  I was prescribed a different medication which I am now tappering off of.  Today I am down to one pill in the morning and one pill at night.  I am only taking two pills per day.  What a relief!

In the same breathe I am having to deal with heightened anxiety.  As my body detoxifies, it must balance itself out.  I feel everything so intensely.  I made clear I was afraid of physical withdrawal – which I have experienced none of, other than some fatigue, but who knows if that is just the MD.  I expected the psychological withdrawal, which has been noticeable.  I feel myself having a shorter fuse, my highs are higher and lows are lower.  I know, with time, this will even out.  I can’t wait to be free from these meds.

I need to experience life – both the positive and the negative, in a way most do, without looking through hazed eyes.  I simply cannot be on these meds the rest of my life.  A recent study shows benzodiazepines may have a possible link with early Alzheimer’s Disease.  We joke in my support group that maybe forgetting would be easier, but we all know we don’t truly want that.

Life is too short to be dependent.  It’s too short to rely on a pill to fill a void you think you have.

I write this post for those of you who are struggling with dependency, who are grappling with the idea of tappering off your meds.  You can do this.  Please do so under a physician’s care.

I also want to say that this was my choice to get off of these meds.  I know there are those who are at different stages in the disease and their life.  In no way am I trying to say you shouldn’t be on medications such as these.  It is your body, is your choice, and your right to do with it what you will.

I hope you all are well!