Anxiety and frequent panic attacks have been the menu du jour for weeks, now. I have had my Klonopin prescribed as a scheduled medication, have had the med treater add Xanax as a PRN, and have been trying various and different DBT skills. Very little works. It probably works a lot less, because I am not very compliant with taking three to four Klonopin per day at scheduled times, nor allowing myself to take any of the Xanax that have been prescribed. I have tried explaining it to my therapist, the not wanting to take more and more medication, the not wanting to become a “Klonopin whore,” the not wanting to start an addiction (because life is rough enough with *just* your regular, garden-variety mental illnesses to combat every day).
This has been a “problem” for me over the years — my distaste for (what I see as) excessive use of addictive pharmaceuticals, and, in general, not wanting to let myself just be numbed out day after day. Is it better to suffer the multiple-times-daily breakdowns, than it is to just take a wee bit of Klonopin here and there? My brain and heart are in a battle over it. Those who know me best, who see me on a regular basis, they plead with me just to take a Klonopin. Why am I being so willful, over some damn Klonopin? Just take one! It won’t hurt!
I have had years worth of numbing myself out with various psychiatric medications, a very brief (very, very brief) relationship with marijuana in college, and a couple very short-lived love affairs with alcohol over my 35 years. I say “No, thank you,” to all of it. It may seem strange, like, “what Rosa, you don’t want to get some peace? Even your med provider thinks it is a good idea!” but it is a different scenario in my mind. I will never go back to alcohol, to marijuana, to popping this pill and that in the hopes that I will get a bit of relief. I never let it get to a point where it destroys my life, but I have seen so many other lives destroyed by chemical dependency, and so it is very easy for me to say, “no, not for me.”
Could I just take a little bit of Klonopin here, a tiny nibble of Xanax there, and be just fine? Yes, probably so. I have a hard time justifying my refusal to take medications that are prescribed to me, and I revealed to my therapist this week that, really, what is behind this refusal to take medications is the thought, the feeling, that maybe I don’t feel I should be taking ANY medications. Maybe I don’t really have bipolar disorder, maybe I can be one of those people with bipolar disorder that does not NEED medication, but can manage things with a strict schedule and diet and exercise and meditation. Maybe I am meant to be medication-free.
At the exact moment these words come to my mouth, I know they are untrue. I quickly scan through the years that I tried just that, to treat my bipolar disorder without medication, and just how very dangerous it was for me. How many terrible situations I landed myself in, how I barely made it through living in the big city alive, how I hardly escaped not one but multiple abusive relationships, how the thoughts of wanting to die and dancing on the edge of the Earth with death and Satan, himself, were a daily occurrence.
So, yes, I am prescribed quite the boatload of psychotropic medication. I don’t want to take it, but I will keep doing so because I know in the wisest part of wise mind, that it is that medication that is making me “stable enough” to exist as I am. I will think some more about the Klonopin and the Xanax, and eventually the daily breakdowns will become too exhausting to continue, and I might try taking some. I won’t like it, and I will worry that I am doping myself into a corner, about becoming a Klonopin-whore but it is quite possible that a little bit of Klonopin and Xanax thrown down my gullet on a semi-regular basis will decrease the multiple daily breakdowns, and that is something that needs to happen.