Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Annoyingest Patient at the Methadone Clinic... (is me)

MY DRUGGIEWORKER is really pissed off with me because I cannot go more than a few days without using nefarious brown powder on top of my methadone. I told her I believe either methadone isn't holding me or else it is poisoning me. I brought in a bottle of Monday's piss saying, "I know this is unconventional but if you like you can test this and it will show I really had gone the best part of a week without using" (could have been anybody's of course; but that somebody would have to be on methadone and not using on top and I don't know anybody like that..!) And she said "When did you last use?" And I said "this morning" and she said why so I said it was because I'd been feeling exhausted, lifelessly depressed, flat, unmotivated and suicidal and she said "oh that's no excuse ~ everyone feels like that" (and she did seem to mean everyone, not just people unfortunate enough to be on methadone).

I could have channelled the conversation down a different route by saying "OK what about a person in severe physical pain. Would that be an excuse to use?" and she would have said the standard "but we're not talking about other people" answer. But I could also have pointed out that I'm labelled with the most serious mood disorder there is and that it is rather patronizing (not to mention dismissive) to label my symptoms as an "excuse". If I'd never been a depressive to begin with I cannot see how in a million years I would ever have got addicted to heroin to begin with, so excuses or not, it really was in a large part about self-medicating. Of course I also took it to get high (in the beginning) because I wanted to know what this legendary heroin high was like. That's what prompted me to try it. And the fact that cocaine-snorting was so in back in the day. Coke was cool and yet the people who were so open to that were closed to heroin and I wanted to try heroin so I went off on my own and I found it. (I never had a group of friends who led me into addiction. I made friends with the local junkies because they congregated at our local tube station every evening selling cheap used travelcards and because I liked to travel on the cheap I got to know them. It was through these people (who also seemed to be so much more accepting of who I was and how I felt than my "real" friends) that I got into hard drugs.

By the way my very first encounter with gear came after a night out when I met an acquaintance who said "come back to mine, I've got a bit of brown in a drawer". Why did he know I'd be interested in brown if I'd never tried it? Because about four years earlier, just before Christmas, I'd approached him asking for heroin and had actually given him £50 to get me a half gram (yes it cost £10 a "point" back then). But a few days later this person (who I barely knew) gave me my money back saying he couldn't get it after all. I only wanted heroin because I was depressed and wanted to die. Heroin overdose was the most painless method I knew of: you slip into unconsciousness and never wake up. But it wasn't to be. I took a bottle of vodka and a bottle of sleeping pills and tried to drown myself in the bath but obviously I woke up again... and the rest is history. By the way it took me YEARS to actually think back and join the dots. That heroin really HAD come into my life because I actively wanted to die. Doesn't sound good... does it?

As for methadone "poisoning me", my point is, I spent years on heroin feeling so miserable I just wanted to curl up and die. I tried to survive on methadone. Which is meant to be safer, better, legal, more respectable ... but misery on heroin translated to suicidal depression on methadone. I found it even HARDER to function in any meaningful way... methadone just didn't seem to work and I seem to have rewound back to that time. Now my worker is trying to tell me that if I will only stick with it and not use on top of the methadone then these feelings will eventually even out. I think this is based partly on the belief that any depression I feel is assumed to be "underlying". But what if methadone is actually CAUSING this low mood? Or making it even worse than it would be on no drugs at all? I've tried to moot this point so many times down the clinic and nobody ever listened. Until yesterday when I used the word POISONED. And her smartarse response was "well if you think methadone is poisoning you you could always go and detox". But as I pointed out, detoxing is sure to make a depressed person feel EVEN WORSE. That's why I don't do it. I've come down from over 120mg methadone a day right down to 15mg... lately I've gone back up to 30mg. I took the 120-15mg reduction better than anybody I know. So I do have some wherewithall. They might not be able to stick to a drawn-out reduction like that, but I cannot handle a 10-day complete detox. I just can't. (If you call not sleeping at all for days on end and wandering about crying, not being able to eat (because appetite-loss aside, food is repulsive to me in the detox state) plus intense mood swings and suicidal impulses being fine then yes I handle it well. I tried inpatient detox TWICE in 2003 and probably monopolized as much of the counsellors' time as all the other inmates put together. Neither time I lasted more than a few days. I'm just not interested in a quick-fix which is going to be very upsetting and probably not last.

My philosophy is that if I can stick to methadone, reducing very gradually "in the community" then I am to all intents and purposes living life "clean". Then, providing it's handled carefully, the transition from 5mg methadone to nothing will not be a jolt (I will make sure of this by reducing something like 5-4-3-2-1-0.9-0.8-0.7mg and so on down to zero).

I felt so lousy last week that I basically lost all willingness to live without drugs at all. I only held out so long without using because I couldn't afford to use. But now I've got my mojo back (temporarily) and I know it is just the heroin because I'm still depressed. Binky thinks I look depressed. I'm just not so depressed I spend all day vegetating on my new couch. (In that state, Binky would never get to see me.)

I do so much want to be able to live free of ALL drugs. I do. I do. I really do. I just don't know HOW I'm going to do this. It's a hard nut to crack. All I do know is that in my case gently does it. Drastic changes tend to provoke drastic reactions. I'm going into the clinic again tomorrow for my MBT group ("mentalization-based therapy") so I can see my worker then, if I want to. I'm going to make sure I'm at least 24 hours heroin-free and hopefully suitably miserable. So then she'll see what I've been like lately. (I dare not hope for any rapid improvement in mood. It just won't happen...)

My poor Worker. I do feel sorry for her. She cannot have known what she was taking on when she took me and she finds me really hard work. She said I was verbally "belligerent" yesterday. Well of course I was. Days on end of stygian misery coupled with anger and then a drug that puts some fight back into my veins will probably come over as "belligerent". Without the drug I wouldn't have said half the things I said yesterday. Misery does not justify itself. It devalues its own experience and devalidates it, telling me that, no matter how bad I feel it somehow isn't real or doesn't count or it's just an excuse. You can't win against an attitude like that... (And how DO you win a war against yourself anyhow~??!?)

So... I don't know. Don't be surprised if I'm posting "I'm miserable" within a very few days. My focus right now isn't on how good or bad I feel. Or might feel. Or anything like that. It's that I really need to convert using heroin about one day in four to ... well, hopefully one day in never. I don't want to be using it. I'm bored of it. I tried the junkie life and it's far too narrow an existence for me. This world might seem hopelessly dark, (sometimes) but it is WIDE... and maybe if I move to pastures new, geographical, spiritual, emotional and psychological I will find something that makes this world not seem so dark and meaningless. If I don't seek I never shall find and I'm a born scavenger. (Sometimes the seeking is half the fun...)

I always told myself that after achieving 100% abstinence from narcotics of all kinds I should give myself two years ~ that means two years of really trying. Just not taking any more drugs is NOT enough... and THEN maybe I can dare to look back and see if it's all been worthwhile... Know what I mean?

Does this make any sense..? Anyone...?...??


Akelamalu said...

I'm going to be really blunt Gleds. You say you really, really, really want to get clean but then state that you know you will be severely depressed if you do. Seems to me you will always make some excuse not to get clean, because deep down you don't really want to. I'm sorry if that hurts but that's how I read it. You know I always try to encourage you to give it all up and I will carry on doing that, but to do it YOU REALLY HAVE TO WANT TO. xx

Furtheron said...

Ditto. There is always an excuse to use again the difficult bit is living life and not giving in to the desire to use no matter what.

LucyBookIt said...

That's a nut I'm still trying to crack myself. Maybe one day it'll be obvious.

Dawn McCoy said...

My daughter is in methadone. In the u.s. the doses are MUCH higher. She has titrated down from 130 mg to 70.

Syd said...

My thoughts are that you think you are terminally unique--the only one to have depression, the only one to be on methadone, etc. etc. If you really want to get clean, you will find a way just as so many others have. I am hoping and have been for years that you will actually quit the H and all other drugs that are doing harm to your mind and body. But here we are in 2013 and it continues on.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You will do it, Gleds! x

Wanda said...

This is the first time I've read your blog. (I came here from another site)I was attracted by the name, I was on a methadone clinic in another city whose name was very similar to Gledwoods. I realized quickly that it was not that clinic, but I continued to read...I now have only one question; why are you trying so hard to come completely off methadone? I have chronic depression, I have Hep C, I need back and leg surgery, I am overweight and I am on 140 mgs of methadone, yet I have no intention of coming off... EVER. With all my other issues I'm d**n sure not going to add withdrawal to the list... I know I am being personal, but why do that yourself?:

Whitenoise said...

After 7 years off-and-on reading, I'm glad to see that you're still alive, Gled. Wish I could come back here and find that you'd been clean for a substantial period of time...

Bev said...

Heck Im having trouble now trying to stop drinking 24/7 unless Im a sleep.
I cant bear the slihtest problemI dont understand myself no more.
Feel better.May be you need some time on my chaise lounge.If I sit on you there aint no way you can use anything.Tutti fruity sticky lip gloss kissesxoxox

Gledwood said...

I answered these in my newest post. I wish I WAS terminally unique. I think I felt terminally DULL when I wrote that crap honestly. Only unique in that uniquely driven to lay into that Methadone Clinic for their mediocrity etc etc.

Wanda I want to get OFF methadone because I hate it so much and if it's just making me feel "normal" why not be "normal" on nothing. I so hate being beholden to something outside myself and you can't travel abroad on methadone without a LOT of hassle and you're totally dependent on a system that's just as corrupt as the illegal drug distribution system I want totally OFF it and AWAY!! Good luck to you though. I will get in touch properly again.

BEV welcome back! Good luck not drinking...

WHITENOISE: I wish too

Everyone else here's a special mystical symbol from me to you ☺ XXX