Ritalin, Depakote, Wellbutrin, Adderall, Clozaril, Geodon, Haldol, Klonopin, Cogentin, Lithium, Neurontin, Paxil, Thorazine, Trazadone, Valium, Xanax, Zoloft, Zyprexa, Risperdol, Seroquel, Latuda, Effexor, Pristiq, Lamictal, Ativan. Marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ketamine, ecstasy, acid, ‘shrooms and more.
When each of these drugs was prescribed or abused or both is not something that is easily remembered.
I have said before that I have been under the care of a mental health professional since I was five. I think I also said I have been on medication since then. If I did I was wrong. I did not start on the medication until I was about nine when Depakote became part of my daily life. At the time they believed that I had a “chemical imbalance” (pretty vague – I know). Not long after, when they realized the Depakote wasn’t working they added Ritalin (keeping the Depakote) and diagnosed me with Attention Deficit Disorder. That didn’t work either, but they tried several different combinations of medications to “fix” an illness that I did not have (something was wrong, it just wasn’t what they thought).
When I was somewhere around 17 a new psychiatrist diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder. I stopped taking my medications not a year later because I was sick of constantly changing medications and diagnoses. Self-medication became extremely intense. I start using illegal drugs at 7 and continued into my twenties. When I abandoned my prescriptions it got really bad. I was selling, running, and smoking marijuana. On an average day I would smoke about a quarter pound (a joint is between 1/32 and 1/16 of an ounce). I was also using cocaine, acid, ecstasy, heroin, ketamine and more (no meth or crack though). I candy-flipped (took acid and ecstasy at the same time) for over a week. I once stayed awake on coke for 9 days. I had more blackout periods during that time than lucid periods. Most of the (relatively) lucid periods are difficult to pull even the most vague of memories from.
I did a lot of stupid stuff and hurt a lot of people during that time. There was no difference between good and bad at the time. I cheated, stole, lied, etc. from friends and family. I convinced very good friend’s significant others to sleep with me, ruining countless relationships. Sex was only a way to have a moment of intimacy that I quickly ran away from, almost before it was finished. I was not a good person to say the least. Many said I was psychotic or had APD (Antisocial Personality Disorder). I didn’t want to believe that anything was wrong with me even though I had been told by professionals, friends and family that there was. Eventually I came to terms that something was wrong, but I attributed it to the drugs (which were definitely a large part of the problem and would effect me for the rest of my life).
Eventually I realized that I had lost everything and I crawled back to my mother. She only let me stay with her (and only for a very limited period of time) if I agreed to go to rehab (she said I would have a place to stay when I got out). I had nowhere else to go so I agreed to her terms. She had me in a non-profit Christian farm that hosted an all male drug rehabilitation center. I didn’t want to get clean. I made plans with the few friends who still spoke to me to get back into things when I got out (I did not plan on staying with my mother long if at all). They hooked me up with a guy who was going to let me run drugs for him and give me a place to stay as well as a vehicle. While in the rehab facility the other guys there and me found out that there was a cow pasture that butted up to the woods that we were allowed to walk in. It was early fall and we decided to hop the fence one day and flip cow patties (cow poop) to see if there were mushrooms (Psilocybin mushroom – the magical kind) growing underneath. There were. We boiled them in the mess hall and dried them in the game room inside the wall (there was a piece of the wood paneling that came away from the studs relatively easy). Rehab became just another place to use. One of the counselors ended up distributing weed in exchange for the money that our families sent us. When new men came in we made money hand over fist. I left the center not long after to work for the guy that I was set up with. Three months later the place was shut down and 150 pounds of mushrooms and 25 pounds of weed were confiscated.
I got home and started running weed again. It was within the states so no crossing international borders that time. I was running from Florida to Ohio and Ohio to Washington state. I always told myself that I would never run anything but weed, but when green dead presidents were flashed in front of me weed turned into coke and coke turned into heroin. While I was on my way back from Washington I got pulled over by the highway patrol who called in the DEA who apparently had been following me for a while. They had photographic evidence of me making drops. I agreed to give up my supplier for immunity. I told myself I was done at that point. I was 22 years old.
I went back to my mother and she helped me get into another rehab that very night. She drove me to Elwood, Indiana the next morning and I pledged to come clean. Several months in the program I was ready to go back into the world. I left expecting a place at my mother’s house, but she had taken in four of my step-father’s nieces who were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by my step-father’s brother and his wife. The only male figure that was allowed to be around them was my step-father after he took a lie detector test and was evaluated by two different psychiatrists. I was living in my car, and not for the first time.
I had no friends and most of my family didn’t want a drug addict around. Eventually my grandparents took pity on me and let me stay there.
I met my first wife and she convinced me to get back on medication. That lasted about two months as they changed my medications three times and I knew that wasn’t enough time for them to even get in my system.
I didn’t get back on medications until I was married to my current wife for a year and a half and had my breakdown. I have been on them since. Just recently (two months) the medications have leveled out. I am on Lithium, Latuda, Lamictal, Wellbutrin and Klonopin. It is the least amount of pills I have ever been on and I am happy about that. It is also the only combination that has brought back my emotions which I am not sure I have had – ever.
The only issue right now is that my insurance won’t pay for the Latuda and my doctor and I refuse to take me off of it so right now I am living off of samples (thank you Latuda rep). Hopefully the insurance company approves the authorization soon. Thinking positively – this will be what works and I will not have to change anything. Here’s to a happy, steady life.
- Bipolar? When Quitting is the Answer (madinamerica.com)
- About Ritalin, Scare Tactics, and Medications for Kids with ADHD (psychologytoday.com)
- Motherlode Blog: Rejecting Ritalin With the Power of Hindsight (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Some studies of popular drugs suppressed (healthsass.blogspot.com)
- Psychology Professor Writes Poorly Focused Article about Ritalin in the New York Times (psychologytoday.com)
- More Research Necessary into Mind Altering Drugs? (healnowtherapyhypnosis.blogspot.com)