I’ve started another mini series about what it’s like to spend a day living with different mental health problems.
This post is written by Brit who has her own mental health blog Fully Flourishing. Today she will be talking about addiction. Check out the other posts in this series too about mania, anorexia, orthorexia, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression and emotionally unstable personality disorder.
I don’t normally do this, but I’m putting a content warning on these posts. They might be difficult to read for people who are experiencing or are in recovery from any of the topics I’ll be discussing. However, it’s very important to me that the raw, painful truth of mental illness is exposed. There are many, many examples of mental illness being glamourised in the media, but that’s not the reality we live with day to day. I’m hoping it wont be, but some of the content might be triggering.
I wake up and the first thing I think about is taking a drink. Any reason I can think of for “why I need to do it today” and “why today is the day to stay sober”. I will argue to myself like New York’s most powerful law attorneys. The battle in my brain is absolutely exhausting.
It looks like that’s reason enough.
There’s a split second of relief once I give into my craving, then there it is again…. The instant regret.
Why did I do that!? I can’t believe it. I failed yet again, one more day gone to this thing that I never gave a second thought to before letting it into my body. Now my entire life is dictated by it whether I like it or not, and that one single time has slowly stretched into years of my life.
What I hate most about addiction is that I have to make sure I have access to my drug of choice at all times. I never know what life may bring and I have to be ready to fall onto my sword of substance whenever I need it.
When I know my supply is running low it’s a total buzzkill. I start worrying and becoming more erratic. I will try to count how many more times I can use before I have to get outside my dark cave and come back with more. This is when I start using my brain and problem solving new ways to get it as soon as I can. Will I be able to do it? Can I make it last? It’s like an impossible challenge you would see on a TV show where the main character always pulls through in the end.
But this time, nobody is really cheering.
My addiction has been there for the long run so I know how to avoid this uncomfortable and unwanted feeling of well… feelings.
I buy my bottles in bulk, make a late night run to the gas station, or just beg my dealer to give me whatever he’s got on hand for the twenty in my pocket.
I am just a machine. I no longer feel human inside. All I do is use, feel nothing, and think of when’s the best time to use again. It has completely filled in all other parts of life. All I see is when I’m aching for the next high because once it’s done it’s all a blur.
It is a constant, never-ending cycle. I have no idea how to get out, or if I even really want to.
My friends and family think I don’t care about them, but actually I care about them so so much, I care almost too much. In fact, I wish I didn’t care at all, maybe that way I wouldn’t feel like I need to hide my true self from them anymore.
Letting them down just sends me into a deeper spiral. I wish I could visit them just one time without hiding the biggest focus in my life right now. But I can’t disappoint them, that would just put me over the edge. So I sit, and I wait, because as soon as our interaction is over I am free to take off my coat and lean into that person I have already become… an addict.
And here it is. Behind bathroom doors, in coat pockets, at the back of that drawer, and in between walls. I keep my stash hidden in plain sight. It’s been so long my unsober self is the new normal to everyone. I’m not sure if they know, but even if they do, it doesn’t seem to matter. We all keep going on as the clock keeps ticking.
As soon as the time strikes 5:00 I am out the door, in my car, and on my way home to get my daily fix. “I’ve worked so hard, I deserve it!” But in reality I spent half of the day merely wishing I was home to do the same thing I do every single day.
You’d think it would be a boring life… wake up, get high, eat breakfast, get high, go to work, dream of getting high, get home, get REALLY REALLY HIGH.
But it can actually get quite interesting. I never know who I am going to fight with today, what task I will forget to do, or which responsibility I don’t take care of because all that’s on the mind is that one split second of relief and how good it feels to have it once again.
I’ve never tried something new and thought “this will be the death of me”, but that’s exactly what happened.
My former self is dead inside, and I don’t know if she will ever be revived because she was completely naïve to how much power a substance can hold over her life.
Once you are caught in the fishnet of addiction you have to be brave, and reach for help to get out. Nobody wants to let the frigid, cold air hit them, but with someone else there prepared with a drying towel… it can be bearable. Do not drown in silence. Make a splash, wave your hands, and look up to see all of those people in your life who are ready with a life preserver and a helping hand once they see what is really happening.
The purpose of this series is to be real and honest, and I hope I’ve achieved that. I want people to understand that mental illness is real and that battling with your own mind every day is all consuming and frightening. If you have struggled with any of the issues mentioned above, you can find some great resources here.
Thank you so much Brit.
Do you have your own story to tell about a day in your life living with a mental health problem that I’ve not already covered? If you’d like to contribute to this series and write your own post, I’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.