Thursday, September 17, 2009

OTC and prescription medications

I have recently come across some great forums for motivation and inspriation, and in one of those forums I found a thread about Ambien and it's awful side effects. Someone mentioned an elderly man who froze to death because of sleep walking while taking this drug. This got me thinking about the time when I was on several different prescription drugs and how awful they made me feel, when their sole purpose was to make me better... it doesn't add up.

Understandably, when I was in ICU, the medical staff put me on several different medications to aid with anxiety and depression. I mean, how can someone not be depressed and all together freaking out in my situation? It's certainly not easy being paralyzed from the neck down when just a few days ago you were fine! There was something for my depression, several things for pain, something for my anxiety, something to help me sleep, a sedative to calm me down... all together I was on seven different class 1 narcotic prescription drugs. I was on so many drugs that when I got out of the hospital and went in search of a new primary care physician, one of them (whose office I stormed out of) said to me "I just want you to know I don't hand these out like candy". Needless to say I never went back to her. Did she think I really WANTED to be on all this garbage?

My trips to the pharmacy for refills were amusing. The pharmacist would look at me with seven shades of wonder and awe. I simply hated my life and wanted to be off of everything I was on, including the pain meds which I couldn't function without.

All of these supposed medications were meant to make me feel better, when all they really did was make me want to slit my wrists. In fact, I tried to kill myself, unsuccessfully, a couple of times. I was in this whirlwind of emotions, and none of them good. I was fresh out of the hospital after being there for six months, had my 2 year old daughter to care for and no idea how to do that from a wheelchair, and I just wanted it all to be over with. I was extremely skinny, undernourished.. and every time I tried to eat I would have a major panic attack, living alone with a toddler, and every day was a new experience, and not necessarily a good one. I remember one day my daughter fell in the bathtub and cut her chin. My chair did not fit through the bathroom door and I was unable to get to her, and my first thought was that if I wasn't around someone else would have to take care of her and at least they would be better equipped.

I eventually found my rhythm and was able to adapt and cope on a somewhat normal level, but I was still not emotionally fit. I finally found myself a great doctor who could see my pain plain as day, and we worked together to get me off of the drugs that were causing all of it. After three months of slowly eliminating everything, including the pain medication, I was back to a somewhat normal level of emotional stability and felt like myself again. I was also much more able to cope with my situation with a clear and healthy mind.

After that experience I am hesitant to take anything that doesn't occur naturally, and even some of those things can be quite harmful to our bodies and minds. I am glad I was strong enough to pull through it all and stick around for my daughter, because in the end she was better off with her mommy, but it was a close one for both of us at one point, and all because of drugs. Prescription drugs, but drugs nonetheless.

Nowadays my anti-depressants are in the form of healthy organic foods, lots of exercise, lots of water, writing in my blog, and days spent enjoying the company of my wonderful daughter.

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