Sunday, November 01, 2009

NOW I GET IT!

Writing here really does me a lot of good. It generates responses. Those responses teach me, even if it takes repeating the same thing until the light comes on in my head. The light has come on regarding my pain drugs! I shall explain.

More than one person has suggested MJ to deal with my condition. This is amusing because I used to use MJ for precisely that reason, although I didn't know that was the reason. Makes sense? No of course not.

When I had my first MJ joint, I LOVED it. Yes, it made me laugh, yes it made sex wild, but most importantly I was able to let go and relax and I could keep still. I was able to sit still and watch tv or read. I didn't have to keep moving or get up and down. Bear in mind that in those days, I was shut off from my feelings. I was still in a dissociative state all the time.(as an example, I had a liver biopsy and had no pain relief because I was not present emotionally.)

Gradually my use of MJ increased. I gained weight, a lot of it. I also began to be able to think about my past with no feelings attached. This set me on the road to recovery. However, the MJ use was a problem. I saw it as a addiction, as did others. I stopped and always restarted. Whenever I stopped I felt awful. I couldn't sleep. I hurt all over. To cut this very short, I kept being told it was my imagination, there was no withdrawal from MJ use. What I did not know was, and nor did anyone else, and the Dr I had at the time could not have cared less, was that I was ILL! This was the reason the MJ had impacted me the way it had in the first place. It gave me pain relief more or less immediately. I was unaware of that. I know this sounds weird to those who do not experience 24/7 pain but you can have it and not be aware of it. I did used to complain to the Dr about not being able to be still. I know I woke at night when I moved because it hurt. No one seemed to take any of this on board so I thought it was NORMAL. That and the fact I had been taught all my life to 'not make a fuss' and besides that, it was always my 'imagination'.

When I did eventually stay off the MJ long enough, and the withdrawal did not go away, I don't know what I thought. I just accepted that I felt terrible and that it was probably my fault. I just got on with life as best I could.

Then I got my present GP of 11 years. She knew str8 away I was ill. She also knew I did not trust her or any medical professional. She waited until trust grew and also waited for me to tell her I was ill. I never did. Until I was rushed to hospital by a screaming ambulance. I was in much pain and it was assumed I was having heart attack. I wasn't and I knew I wasn't and I tried to tell them that but they knew better and basically told me to shut up.

I knew I wasn't because 1. the pain was not inside my chest and 2. this pain was just a worse version of pain I'd had for many years. The following morning the heart doctor told me I had not had a heart attack (duh!) but when had I injured my neck? HUH? I hadn't, I told him. Then why can't you move your head? Pardon? He showed me by telling me to follow his finger as he moved it. I moved only my eyes. He was right, my neck had very little movement. Okay, so this was when I started having all sorts of tests. And you know where I am today. Being treated properly and knowing what is wrong with me.

So what has this got to do with MJ and my pain meds? A lot!

You see, I considered myself an addict. I now see that as incorrect for the aforementioned reasons. However, I had learned a lot about addiction. Plus I am prone to feeling guilt/shame. I also knew that people who use drugs recreationally for for reasons other than they are supposed to, get hooked and are 'using'.

It could be argued that a lot of my 'education' on this subject was 'cult like'. To me, taking my pain meds when I was not in severe pain was using. So I have had this battle going inside me for years. It is why I had the script for Tramadol for 2 years before I gave in and took it. It is also why I didn't take the morphine when first prescribed. It doesn't quite explain the paracetamol as that is not in the same class but it was still a drug to me!

Basically, I had had a lot of addiction crap pumped into me by ignorant lay people who were addicts themselves and who assumed what applied to them applied to me. I was programmed by my past experiences to succumb to this 'education'. So for years I have suffered pain and felt guilt / shame each time I succumbed and took the drugs.

This last few days I have taken my drugs on regular basis. I do now understand why this is necessary. Several health professionals and other pain suffers have written to me and explained why. It makes sense. Even the information with the Tramadol says it is for the treatment or PREVENTION of pain!!!! As a result I feel much better. The pain has dialled down a lot. Not to zero but enough.

I am very lucky in that I feel no side effects at all from my drugs, either in mood or in feeling sick. The only side effect I get is pain relief.

I am somewhat surprised at the amount of trepidation and shame I have felt while writing this. I knew that to explain my issue with the pain meds, which doesn't make sense without the whole picture, would mean me explaining my MJ history and my involvement with 'recovery groups' and how that has f*cked up my thinking about my situation. I still feel shame about taking the drugs. I don't about taking the drugs for my heart and intestines. I take them, no questions. I just learned that to take drugs for pain relief was using.

I also recall a woman at the meetings who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and once she was taking morphine for it, she was asked to stop coming to the groups as her 'using' was affecting others. Appalling I know but you know for someone like me, susceptible then to cult like pressure, my shame around drugs grew and grew. It was as if this poor woman was not well enough to cope with her disease without using! That seemed to be the attitude.

Gosh, I hadn't realised the depth of screwed up thinking around this. Just goes to show that no matter how far one has come, there is always further to go.
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