The Conversation : Getting WorsePosted: November 19, 2012
My doctor had warned me that the last week of coming off my meds would be the worst. Whilst pretty much bed-bound for a week, repeating my mantra in my head “Soon it will be over, it will be worth it, this too shall pass”, I understood what he meant. It had been a horrible week.
Once it was over I gave my body a few days respite before taking a deep breath and halving my pain meds dose. This was a move my doctor had agreed upon, but wasn’t overly thrilled by, he didn’t think it would last. This was all my idea, and this was something I wanted so badly. To be free from those narcotics that clouded my mind, free from those drugs that caused me to drift in and out of consciousness every time I was stationary for more than a minute. That was what I imagined bliss would feel like.
I felt the first reduction, but it wasn’t too bad. I felt nauseous, on edge, restless, but nothing too bad. The next reduction a week later, another halving, brought with it repeated vomiting, a lessening appetite, and pain. But the next week, that was the one that will be seared into my memory forever. It was time to ditch all pain meds, they told me to even leave off the paracetamol. For the first week I stopped eating, I kept minimal fluids down, I threw-up every thirty minutes or more, pain soared through my body, panic attacks plagued me, insomnia haunted me, depression returned, shakes and sweats took over, it felt as if my soul had been sucked out of my body. The only way I can describe it is living hell. There were two things that kept me going. God – I had no idea where he was, I couldn’t for the life of me find him, but I know he was holding on to me, squeezing me tight through that time. The second was my housemate. She sat up with me night after night, despite having to wake early to go to work, she would sit with me talking, being silent, singing, walking, telling me I could get through it.
That was just the first week. After those 7 days, things began to improve, slowly, very slowly. On day 8 I left the house for the first time. Hood up, coat wrapped tightly around me, housemate close by, ready to leave at the first moment it became too much. On day 10 I ate my first bit of food without vomiting. On day 14 my heart stopped racing so fast. It took 26 days to stabilize, the insomnia was the final thing to depart. After that it took a good couple of weeks to recover, to put back on the kilos I had lost, for my mind to calm and be still.
In that month it felt as if the hope that had been handed to me had been snatched away. I had to keep reminding myself that was I was experiencing was temporary. I was reminded how it felt to be really ill again. It reminded me that I really did not want to go back there as long as I could help it.
After that things changed dramatically. My health seemingly turned overnight. One moment I had been living a nightmare, the next I was feeling healthier than I had in years. I felt well, alert, like I had both physical and emotional energy, happy, low-levels of pain, just all-round healthy. Of course this had been building up slowly but because things had to get worse before they got better, it seemingly flipped over in an instant.
I had never even entertained the thought that I might one day be 100% medication free. I could hardly take it in. I had never imagined that I would feel as healthy as I did, I didn’t really know what to do. The new-found health was a big shock to me. As everyone around me rejoiced, I walked around in a state of shock. I was grateful, oh so very grateful, I was rejoicing, I was praising, but I was also walking around stunned, in shock, not able to grasp all that was happening, not able to process, overwhelmed by it all.