So how was your week? What the hell happened?
Good, for the most part. It’s very strange to be back at work after a week of wearing pajamas, playing Clue and eating hospital food. I’m not jumping right back into anything. My mental health is the priority right now.
I still have a tiny blood stain to clean off the carpet. It’s my blood. It takes very little to make a wound, I found out. My therapist was the person who convinced me that I needed to check myself in to the psych ward. I left my morning appointment and walked straight into the emergency room. The woman behind the bulletproof glass at the intake counter asked “How can I help you today?” And I told her, “I’ve been stabbing myself in the forearm and I’m suicidal.” I started taking Adderall again for the past few weeks after five years of being clean.
How much were you taking?
I wasn’t taking much, like, three 20mgs a day or maybe 90-120mg on a Saturday.
Five years is some good clean time. What made you decide to start taking Adderall again?
It wasn’t a decision so much as a necessity. Like a logical conclusion to the facts facing me in my life–just numerous work commitments, family problems that were adding up; I didn’t see taking Adderall again as checking out or being self-destructive–I thought I was improving my ability to juggle the good with the bad! I promised myself that it would be a short-term solution.
I’ve done a wide variety of amphetamines over the years. So I thought I was ready to ‘safely’ use Adderall to help me keep up with some freelance work projects. I thought to myself, I’m a professional. Kiddie coke is not going to take me out . . .
This stuff I bought off the internet–some gonzo stuff that gets made somewhere in Eastern Europe or China or God knows where–must have been pretty intense.
In A.A. there’s a popular saying that a relapse starts long before you pick up that first drink. If true, the larval stage of my relapse began two years earlier in an A.A. meeting when another ‘fellow’ told me I wasn’t doing enough service. It severely bugged me and I began to mentally check out from the program. That relapse seed was planted at that very moment. Granted, I wasn’t practicing a thorough daily 10th step and resentments are like weeds. When I don’t root them out they tend to take over.
Okay. But why stab yourself in the forearm? What brought you to that point?
It was that trapped feeling of chronic depression. Plus, I imagined it being the biggest F.U. to others near me. The whole ‘See what you did?’ reaction. The first doctor in the E.R. told me I was suffering from amphetamine withdrawal. That seemed crazy after just TWO days without Adderall, but what do I know?
She further explained to me that my dopamine receptors are waiting for their daily dose and there’s just nothing there for them so your brain searches for another way to get it. There’s a strange type of calm that happens when I start bleeding sometimes, in that I could finally see the hurt that I was only feeling on the inside. But I was there, yet, I was not. The only thing going through my head at that point was you can do this, just don’t mess up the rug.
So what’s your plan moving forward?
I haven’t been back to a meeting since I was discharged from the hospital psych ward last week.
Going back to meetings after a relapse isn’t pleasant. I know I will be welcomed back, but there is a part of me that’s done this so many times and is exhausted by it. This time, I don’t feel desperate. The meetings have always given me hope in the past, though, and I do hope that this time around things get better.
“Tell Me What It’s Like” is a new q-and-a feature for people in the recovery orbit who have an interesting story. Sometimes they will be anonymous to protect the living. If you’ve got a suggestion for an upcoming topic, please email us here.
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