Where do I begin??
The last two weeks have been extraordinarily crazy.
Around 10 days ago, I found out a very good friend of mine was killed. A day later, we found out it was suicide. It broke our hearts. Her husband had died of cancer just 18 months ago, and she and her 5 young children had moved away from a town that treasured them to be near family and get a new lease on life. We thought that was what she was doing, but she got involved with the wrong man. That man was abusive and I can only imagine the fear and despair my friend was going through while the rest of us thought she was being brave by getting out of a bad situation. We were lovingly supporting her from far away, or so we thought. The sad fact is, people who are suffering, especially people like my friend who prided herself on her perfection and goodness, don’t reach out the way we would hope they would. They don’t ask for help in an ordinary fashion, or at all. They can’t, lest they feel more shame and pain. It breaks MY heart that suffering like this is occurring in the world at all, but it is. So many of us aren’t up front with ourselves or our friends about what we need. The lesson for me has been, talk. Be honest. Tell people what I need. Ask for help. Let them know I love them every day.
I will miss this friend. She had a beauty about her that was indescribable. So many of my friends and fellow community members are heart broken right now. I pray every moment that she is being held up by her angels. I pray every day that her 5 children will know her love through out their lives, through the memories of family and friends.
So, that started me on something of a downward spiral.
two days later, I decided to quit taking the morphine I’d been on since leaving the hospital. It looked like I was doing things with that morphine that I still have no memory of. Pills were missing. I can only guess it was me. I had developed a real addiction a mere 8 weeks after leaving the hospital. It scared me, everyone. I am already a co-dependent and grew up with a family of alcoholics and addicts. I have worked on my issues when I can, yes, but my illness and back surgery sort of took over my life. Then apparently, the morphine did. I found the key that turns the addiction lock in my brain.
I should feel ashamed, and as I write this, I feel scared to print it. I don’t LIKE to admit this yet. I gave it to my higher power, but it almost breaks me to believe that it was so easy to get addicted to something I never wanted in the first place, but needed for the extreme pain I’d suffered.
So, Monday of last week, I stopped taking it. I figured I could handle anything that came my way because I am strong and super stubborn. Guess what? I was so very wrong. I couldn’t handle it. I started accusing my daughter of stealing my pills, yelling at her every chance I got. Waking her up and blaming her for my miserable condition. Being the WORST mother ever.
Well, God (or whatever you call it) does answer prayers, I found. I asked fervently for help. I asked God to make me stop being crazy, to take the pain from me (the psychological pain and the crazy of withdrawal). I went to my pain management clinic and told them what happened. Let me be baldly honest, the first time I went, I made up some stuff so I wouldn’t sound so nuts. I asked for help and they gave me a prescription for a drug called clonodine, which reduces anxiety and blood pressure. It is commonly used in minor addictions.
God, though, god listens. Help came in the form of my best friend on the planet. She called and I told her what was happening. Now, she had to work, but she told me, please go to the detox if you need help. On Wed of last week, I went to the local detox and they could not admit me. You see, morphine withdrawal doesn’t kill people in generally good health. They did, however, get me a new appointment with my pain guy (who specializes in addiction medicine) for the very next morning. But I was still crazy and still begging God for help. So he sent my Laura. She came and took me home with her and kept me sane. The clonodine started working, too, and I was a lot calmer. The pain guy got me a sleeping medicine so I could get some rest. You see, during withdrawal I could not sleep, nor eat. The lines were blurred with what was symptom of withdrawal and what was grief for my friend mentioned above.
That night I finally slept. I saw my guy in the morning and got honest. I told him everything, as real as I could remember. Laura helped me. No prescription changes, but by this time I was feeling better. Just staying away from my daughter (who I wanted to blame instead of facing my own problem) and taking some personal mental space helped me confront this problem. Now I’m not the sort of addict that has been drinking for years…in fact, I don’t drink. I don’t like it, and I’m not much for any drugs, to be honest. This threw me hard. I NEVER thought I could become an addict on top of being co-dependent. But the brain chemistry is so similar in the end, I should not have been surprised to find myself here. But I was. I hated the hospital, I blamed everyone for doing this to me, but in the end, I found that taking responsibility for my own brain is working best. I have a brand new addiction. I need to address it and deal with it. I need to work on my co-dependency issues too.
All this brought me around again to my friend, whose local memorial service was yesterday. She was like me in many ways, and completely different than me in others, but what we shared was co-dependency. I know some of you will read this and find it offensive. We call it generosity of spirit, or altruism, or anything but what it can be. When we find ourselves more interested in everyone else’s problems, and ignoring our own, we might be codependent. When we find ourselves actively taking care of anyone but ourselves, we might be codependent. In a society that lauds selfless women who care only for others in such a generous way, it is hard for a woman to be healthy mentally.
Clearly, I am not saying that every selfless act, that every generous nature is codependent. I’m saying it can be. When the person involved is losing their own identity because they are so involved with everyone else’s issues, they are codependent. I truly think we value that so much in this modern western world, we’ve forgotten the value of individuality and strong identity. Just my opinion, of course.
This brings me around to another thing I’ve learned over the course of this last few months. Treasure every minute you have with the people you love. Who ever they are. Love them, tell them so. Hug them if they’ll let you. Tell them how you value them, and in what way. I’ve been doing this with my children this week, so they know that their mom is here and present and loves them. I’ve also begun to show them by modeling, that I am taking care of myself, too. That if I don’t take care of myself and start to heal, I can’t take care of anyone else in a real way. I can’t be a martyr or a care taker or a people pleaser anymore. I have GOT to deal with the real Megan.
Please, hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Life is fleeting and what if you never get another chance to do it? And, if you are like me, you’ll look at the sky tonight and say “Thank you”. Thank you for my life, thank you for answering me when I need you, thank you for your real presence in my life. My experience of the divine is true, and so is yours.