IF THERE'S A PILL, DON'T LET ME POP IT
TW: Depression, drugs, overdose.
By Lauren Drinkwater / 13 May 2020
Illustration by Lauren Drinkwater
I've been trying to write something relatable for weeks, but it seems through losing myself in a healthy dose of serotonin, I've been unable to be myself.
Maybe that doesn't make sense, and the only way to try to explain it is by saying that sometimes, usually always, when I feel great about all (or most) aspects of my life, I wonder if it's actually me. Is this how I should feel all of the time? Is this how everyone else feels all of the time? Obviously untrue, it's impossible to be riding cloud 9 constantly. But, when I'm on a high from taking my meds, doing my yoga, keeping my ducks in a row, I can almost barely recognise myself. Imposter? Maybe?
So, I write this, the more relatable me, from my bed, where I have been in the same robe, with the same unwashed hair, the same unbrushed teeth, for 48 hours. It's been a while since this has happened, the familiar feeling of self-pity, no self-worth, no hope, the list goes on. I want to blame the lockdown naturally. It has definitely started to burn a bigger hole. I long for feeling the human touch, my friends' love, my daily routine, the general life stuff that keeps the cogs turning. I also want to (and do) blame the depression.
It's strange; whenever I feel my friend D rise again, I spend hours searching for symptoms of depression online as if I've never felt this way before like I'm trying to justify me feeling 'lazy' and being shit at life.
It's also a time where I start researching more about medication. I actually find research about anything related to Mental Illness super fascinating - sometimes easier than reading a fiction book. Never a bad idea to educate yourself on something you live with too. I'm on Sertraline (also known as Zoloft), once a day, between 7 pm-9 pm (if I remember), 25mg of my supposed to be 50mg dose. Admittedly, it's not the only medication I have around me, on my bedside table lays weed, CBD oil, CBD bud, a leftover stash of downers from parties that I've 'cleverly' saved for a more needed time, and somewhere around my bed, a half-drunk bottle of rose. I want to miss the Amitriptyline out, but it's like my dirty secret, always there. Amitriptyline was prescribed to me quite some years back to help with my anxiety, depression, sleep, the whole package. But, I started to use them in a way that wasn't healthy. If you don't take them properly, then some of the side effects are strong when you do, i.e. drowsiness (this passes once you get into a flow of taking them properly, like many other medications). Although, unlike your benzos, they knock you out almost instantly. I once passed out for 17 hours after taking more than I should have.
With those, I thought 'yes great, finally'. My mind and I, (like others who have depression and anxiety) are in a constant battle. Sometimes, if not most of the time, you want to shut down because it's easier not to be aware of your thoughts and hit the hay instead. I realised I could use this pill to knock me out, forget my troubles and I'd wake up feeling...well..better..right? Of course, that's not the outcome, because then you realise you can take the pills to forget about everything, over and over and over again, like some kind of twisted dream. For this reason, I recently decided to throw away my Amytiplaine. I had soooo many packets, all different mg, from going back to the doctors and lying, saying that I needed more so that I was able to get my 'forget me not' fix.
I want to say I did the right thing and followed through with throwing them away, but I make mistakes (and frequently), so here they are still in my bedroom like they've always been. Waiting for me to consume, or be consumed by them. Maybe this all sounds a bit dramatic; they're only pills, you have control, what's the big deal? But, I'm not actually meant to have many meds around me because of the overdose I took back in my teens. And, to be honest, it's hard to trust myself sometimes, when things get really dark. When I get prescribed something from the doctors, they always ask me "Do you feel safe having these around you, Lauren?" I reply, "Yes, I'm in a better place now, I'm in control of things", a lie, 50% of the time.
I know that medication isn't for everyone...
Since being on Sertraline though, I haven't had many bad spells of feeling low, it almost feels like a miracle, minus the acne it comes with. For me, it seems Sertraline is the thing I've been missing in my life, and that makes me feel great in many ways, of course, it also comes with the 'Why can't I just do it by myself' - a Capricorn always wants to win, you see. But, the last few days have been hard, and I've been using the Amitriptyline to get me to stop thinking. The switch off. Resulting in me ignoring my closest, not taking care of my hygiene, not being able to create, not being able to see a way out. It all of a sudden feels like I have been in this bed for the whole of the lockdown and days have just been looping in and out like some kind of unromantic montage.
And, it's a weird feeling, to know there so many people also in bed for the 2nd day, trying to muster up the energy to get up for a wee to avoid a UTI, or think of a way to tell their friends, actually, I'm not OK, but I don't want to bother you with another episode of 'I'm not feeling great again'. It's hard isn't it? We want to help ourselves, but sometimes it's easier to sit in the pit we have created. There isn't much to this story other than the fact that whoever is reading this (not everyone) can relate to this broken record, I f e e l you. I understand on a such a level that sometimes we take the wrong turn to find a solution i.e. the unprescribed popping pills. Sometimes we feel like we can't reach out to our nearest, and hell, we ain't brushing our Goddamn teeth today (or the day before).
From flying so high on the Zoloft, unfortunately, it has delivered me with some ignorance of how this lockdown is affecting people's Mental Health. For me, that's pretty devastating because I feel like I'm letting my tribe down. For that, I'm sorry. I guess being in lockdown replicates an episode of depression: inside, unable to see friends, reaching for the bottle, sleeping too much, or not sleeping enough, purging, the lot. Maybe, that's why it has felt so comfortable in many ways; maybe it's not the medication, maybe it's just my 'norm'.
I see you though.
I got you.
You're doing SO well by getting through your dark moments, and riding the wave when you're feeling better. It's not easy, never has been, never will be.
And, if you've had a rough couple, or currently in a rough couple and need someone to talk you through it, there's an incredible crisis line that you can text..yes TEXT! Thank you technology. It took me a while to find because usually, you have to be under 25 to get certain help, or you have to actually speak to someone on the phone (ah not what I want when I'm hiding in my bed - although if this is for you, no judgement, I actually salute you!)
I'm going to leave the details below.
I'm also going to stop typing now, I have hair to be brushed and new bedsheets screaming to give me a helping hand in my recovery session.
Text 'SHOUT' to 85258
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