Tag Archives: inpatient

One Year Later

Image

A year ago I was back in the psych ward.  Fifty one pills of Lorazepam taken during a blurry three hour window and a 911 call from my roommate at the time effectuated my return.  And I was angry.  Angry to be back there less than six months after my first stint, angry because I felt like no one was listening to me, and angry because I felt like no one believed me.  And even though I wouldn’t admit it, I was probably angry at myself.

Looking back, it’s amazing how near-sighted I was.  The 911 call that my roommate placed probably saved my life.  But that was the last thing I was going to admit back in April of 2013.  Kicking and screaming all the way to the hospital, I was convinced she was the crazy one.  But in the year that’s elapsed since I took that ambulance ride, a lot of details about that night have come into a sharper focus.  A few months ago, when I was still in rehab, I remembered a detail about that night that night that my denial had conveniently suppressed.  When the cops came into my apartment to escort me to the ambulance I was in my bedroom, ready to call it a night.  My roommate and I had gotten into a screaming fight and I was ready to surrender to sleep and forget about it all.  On my nightstand there was a bottle of Nyquil waiting for me.  Not my preferred brand of cough syrup at the time, I preferred Robitussin because, unlike Nyquil, there usually wasn’t any alcohol added to it.  But that night all I had was the Nyquil.

When the police walked in I was sitting up in bed, in the dark, with the bottle in my hand.  And had I drained that bottle, as was my habit at the time, I probably wouldn’t be here today to write about it.  The dose of Lorazepam I took, fifty one milligrams, is pretty close to lethal by itself.  But add alcohol to the mix, like the alcohol in the Nyquil, and I probably never would have woken up.

Thank God my roommate cared enough about me to make that call.  She told me that she had decided she’d rather lose my friendship than lose me.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m where I am today because of the courage and strength of the people in my life that cared enough about me to save my life even if it hurt my feelings.  A relationship can always be mended in the light of day but I might not have made it to dawn if she hadn’t picked up the phone to make one the hardest phone calls of her life.

It’s strange to be able to look back on this night with the clarity of five months sobriety.  So many things in my life have changed, a lot of things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to, and I lost a lot of good friends along the way.  But now I can look back on that night and be grateful for all the ways that I was saved. 

Looking back is certainly bittersweet, like a lot of things that have come with my sobriety.  The year between April 15, 2013 and April 15, 2014 hasn’t been an easy one.  And there are still a lot of things in my life that I have to make right.  For now, all I can do is pay it forward, and thank the people in my life who were stronger than me, by staying sober—one day at a time.

 

 

Advertisements

Committed.

I played the inpatient game.  

I got up for breakfast, stayed for group, refused the temptation to nap and pretended not to hate every moment that passed.  I stayed friendly with the nurses and avoided tantrums.  I took my meds with a smile and feigned interaction with the other patients.  I was on 72 hour psych hold and I knew what I had to do to get out.  

I had been committed. 

And I wanted out.  

I patiently let the days pass.  I didn’t make any phone calls– there was no one to call.  Everyone was tired of me.  The overdose, the 55 Ativan (aka lorazepam), just bolstered their position– I was out of control and needed help.  And they were tired of helping.

This time I had no visitors.  Long gone was the popularity I enjoyed during my first hospitalization, a mere seven months earlier.  Back then, I had so many visitors that they had to sit outside the visitation area, awaiting their turn to chat with me for 30 short minutes.  

This time I expected no one.  When visiting hours rolled around I kept my head down and focused on my doodling, trying not to cry.  Trying not to remember why no one wanted to see me.  Trying not to think about the paucity of support that awaited me on the other side. 

I waited my 72 hours without complaint.  The food was just as bad as the first time.  I was just as bored during the days.  I was just as lonely during the nights.

In spite of my protests, I had once again been assigned to Dr. X.  After my third night on the psych ward, and upon the expiration of the 72 hour hold, I met with Dr. X to discuss the possibility of my discharge.

I was more than apprehensive– I was terrified.  Terrified that he wouldn’t release me.  Terrified of the power he had over me.  Terrified of what he knew about me.

We sat down.  

We talked.  

I explained how I managed to land myself in the psych hospital again after swearing that he would never see me return.  I was prepared for the worst.  This was the man who told me that I’d never be able to quit doing drugs, and that no matter how smart I thought I was “the drugs would always have an IQ ten points higher.”  I wasn’t optimistic about our meeting.

“Well Genevieve, I believe that if you had wanted to kill yourself, you wouldn’t have done this.”

I was shocked.  Dr. X was never in my corner.  He always thought the worst of me and took any and every opportunity to remind me that I was a drug addict.  I was prepared to go to war to get him to release me.  But this time I didn’t have to.

And he was right.  I would have done something besides choke down those 55 Ativan if I had wanted to end it all.   An opiate OD, wrists slit in the bathtub, poison injestion– all of these were stronger candidates.  

Because if I had wanted to kill myself I would have chosen something strong enough to get the job done.  And for some reason, Dr. X knew this about me.

So he let me go.  

The game was over.

 


Righteous Indignation

Some may say I’m a whiner.  That I tend to complain.  Well, I’m not malcontent, but I sure as hell know how to voice my dissatisfaction.  And what I’m about to voice goes far beyond mere dissatisfaction. 

I’m irate.  And I’m going to rehab. For 90 days.  

I’ve been wrestling with the Bar Committee all summer, trying to get approved to practice in the beautiful state in which I decided to settle down and sit for the bar.   Well the bought is over, the final bell has rung, and the scores are in:  
        Bar Committee: 1
        Me: 0
Despite my disgust at having to be forthcoming, I disclosed my bipolar disorder on the bar application– which is mandatory.   I signed some waivers for them to talk to my two current providers, who I trust, and I thought the match was over.

It was not.  Next, the Committee, in all its warmth of understanding, twisted my arm and forced me to cough up 5 years worth of confidential medical records, under the auspices that my file required “further review.”  I was warned that anything short of full compliance would not result in admission to the bar.

I knew it was about to get ugly.  I braced myself for referral to a lawyer’s assistance program.  I thought they could do no worse than send me to substance abuse classes  (going rate is $100 a week) and assign me a mentor.  

I was wrong. 

And it’s gotten uglier.

The lawyer’s program called and said that, based on my file blah blah blah, they were recommending a three day INPATIENT evaluation.  

I smiled. I promptly scheduled.  I went in with a game plan: no crying, no napping, and, above all, I would pretend to be friendly.

My plan didn’t work.  
I’ve been sentenced to 90 days inpatient rehab.  

Why yes, I have been clean since May.  Yes sir, I stopped binge drinking years ago.  

What’s that you say?  It doesn’t matter?  

What are you carrying on about? You say I’m an alcoholic? That I’m an addict? That I’m in denial?

Oh, so you’re not interested in the evidence that proves that I’ve been clean for months?   And you didn’t listen to me when I described how and why I decided to get clean?

They were not much for listening.  

Well it’s not possible to win a wrestling match with the bar committee– they pay all the judges, fill all the seats, and fix the outcome before the wrestlers even take to the mat. 

And I’m irate. And rehab bound.


The Savior in Beige

This time the bed was comfortable.  Those three inches of air– contoured directly to the weight of my body– stood between me and the deplorable, painful, and despicable excuse for a mattress that lay atop my bed in the psych ward.   I didn’t mind the plastic awkwardness of my savior– a beige institutional blow-up mattress pad, ugly as sin but beautiful to me in its unexpected comfort.  It wasn’t much to look at, just an ugly blow-up mattress pad, but it stood between me and my foes:  the parody of a mattress beneath it, the sleepless nights induced by the painful pad, and the pain– the constant dull ache in my back begot by a college injury and exacerbated by lying on the naked mattress.  The pain didn’t stop at my back, it radiated down through my hips, passing through my knees, and ending at my ankles.  Finally, the magnified pain of my problematic back at the hands of the evil, unedited mattress was over.  The glorious mattress pad, begot by sympathy from an intake worker in the psych unit, was my savior.

Although confined to the mind-numbing boredom of the inpatient psychiatric treatment center– the crazy house– I had finally found a silver lining: sleep.  Pain-free sleep.  And for me, the power of sleep cannot be overstated.  Sleep is my refuge, my break from the real world, an escape I indulge in at the expense of productivity and the mundanity of being awake.

But sleep can be dangerous to an inpatient experience, especially when the goal is escape.  The desire to sleep the days away and to avoid the mind numbing boredom of daily life on the psych ward dangerously conflicts with the dream of release.  

The eyes of the nurses are ever-watching, their hands are ever-moving, taking down the notes of your life.  They monitor how much you sleep.  When you sleep.  What activities you avoid.  How much you eat.  Whether you eat.  They take a note whenever you start to cry.  When you come to group.  What you say.  When you miss group.  And why.  They know where you are at all times, pens and pencils constantly at work, logging your life in inpatient care.

That’s why sleep is dangerous– it makes you look bad in the eyes of the doctor.  A patient who sleeps all day is a depressed patient, they’ll say.  A patient who is not improving.  A patient unfit for release.

Therein lies the battle.  To sleep or not to sleep?

It was not my first rodeo– I had learned how to play the game in these psych wards.  So I chose to sleep appropriately.  A short nap after breakfast was acceptable– I seized these moments.  Turning in early didn’t raise any eyebrows– an 8:00 pm bedtime was fine by me!  

I slept judiciously, savoring the sweet time with my beloved mattress pad.  I got up for breakfast, went to group, interacted with the other patients, went to snack and meals, talked with the social workers, hung out in the common room, and refused the temptation to engage in any crying breakdowns.  

I was playing the game; I was going to be released.  And my friend, my comfort, my savior– the ugly, plasticky, beige blow-up mattress pad– was going to get me there.


Scared Sober

Sober. I dreaded it. I hated thinking about it. I couldn’t even clearly conceptualize it. I mean, was I supposed to stop doing everything?

Sure, I had drug problems, but, to me, the weed and drinking were no big deal. And I simply couldn’t imagine living a week with no smoking, no drinking, no pills, no cough syrup. Just thinking about it made me anxious.

But I had to do it. Or at least I had to say I would.

And that’s all I was going to do. I was going to say it. Say that I was going sober.

I had to because I was trapped in the psychiatric hospital and I knew they wouldn’t let me out unless I said it. So I said it. But, wonder of wonders, I ended up meaning it.

I was still trapped in that psych hospital hell hole and I knew that to get out of there I would have to convince Dr. X that I was going sober. And this was not going to be an easy task. He had been my doctor at the university and knew all about my drug problems. To prove myself worthy of release I would have to plead reform. I would have to tell him I was going sober.

I resigned myself to the fact that I was at least going to have to pretend to be sober, even to my friends. I would have to lie. I would keep doing drugs but, from thereon out, it would be top secret and completely hidden.

I armed myself and was ready. I wanted to keep doing drugs so badly that I prepared myself to lie to my close friends and tell them– and everyone–I was going clean. The Werewolf would be the only one who knew the whole truth; but we would hide it together, true partners in crime.

I knew I had to say it– that I was going sober. So I did. I told all my inmate buddies, my nurses, my friends on the phone, (not my family, who didn’t even know I was in there) and my visitors. But it was my visitors who made me mean it.

I was lucky to have some visitors on Sunday, after being in the hospital for two days. I had six visitors total, and they saw me in three groups of two. And they all said the same thing. That I looked like shit but sounded great. They told me that, for the first time in months, I was clearheaded. They told me I sounded like my old self.

I was in complete disbelief– I thought I had been myself the whole time. But apparently, to everyone else, I was in a constant drug-induced haze. They said I almost always sounded high (and I usually was), that I could never remember anything (also true), and that now, in the hospital and drug free for 48 hours, I was sharp, clear, and finally resembled the girl they had met two years before.

This scared me. I thought I hid my drug use well. But what scared me the most was that, in many ways, the drugs had made me lose my mind. My intelligence, my brain, my wit– they’ve always been among my best features. I pride myself on my intelligence. And the thought of losing that scared the shit out of me.

It scared me straight. Even more than the horror and boredom of the hospital. What my friends told me actually made a difference and made me change my mind about going sober. I decided to go all in. Armed with the support of my friends and the wisdom of my therapist, I went into my meeting with Dr. X ready to tell the truth.

I was going sober.

“I’ve had all that I want of a lot of things I’ve had
And a lot more than I needed of some things that turned out bad.”
–Johnny Cash


The Game– Or How to Survive in the Psych Ward

The object of the game was to get out by Monday morning. And we devised a strategy to get the hell out.

“We” was me and two girls on the ward who were around my age. I ended up making a few friends after all. Both of them were in their late twenties or early thirties and had kids. One was about eight months pregnant and constantly complained about the no smoking rule; the other looked sixteen but was in her late twenties and was married with two kids. We had all checked ourselves in on Friday, looking for a little help, and had walked blindly into a hell we were desperate to escape from.

We knew we couldn’t get out before Monday because of the check-out rules. Therefore, our unifying goal was to get cleared to leave by Monday morning. ASAP.

We began to treat our time in there like a game. We certainly weren’t receiving any therapy or treatment. (Not including medications, which they handed out like candy. Especially the sedatives, and especially if you were bad). So to us it was all a big game– if you played your hand right, you got out. But if you broke one of the rules, you’d be stuck there for longer.

To win the game, you had to follow the strategy. You had to put on a happy face, pretend to be social, and, above all, you could not mention that you were still horribly depressed and hated everything about being stuck in inpatient hell.*

*The strategy, by nature, is incredibly perverse and that alone is enough to make me sick. I checked in because I wanted help– but going in only made things worse. The experience did end up scaring me straight (for a few months) but that part comes later.

Pasting on a smile at group was the easy part.

The hard part was pretending to be social. The nurses made notes about everything you did, including when you went to sleep and for how long. Staying in bed and missing group or a meal was a strike against you. Sleeping all day was another strike. Even spending the day in your room was a strike.

This meant that, even though I wanted to sleep the weekend away, I had to hang around the common area and pretend not to be miserable. I had plenty of studying to keep me busy so I forced myself to try to catch up on Energy Law in one of the almost-comfortable arm chairs in the common area– even though I’d rather be studying in my shared room, away from distractions. But the absence of distraction afforded by my semi-private room was not worth the strike on my chart, so I posted up in the common area and tried to learn Energy Law.

Above all, crying was not allowed.

Crying got you a big black strike. As soon as the nurses noticed tears they would be marked down in your chart. An ugly black inky reason to keep you there for another day. Crying was a sign of instability, weakness, a symptom of your disorder, the catalyst that brought you in there in the first place. Crying was not okay.

Unfortunately, all I wanted to do was cry. I was trapped in a place I never thought I would be. I was completely isolated from all technology, friends, and any semblance of the real word. I was desperately lonely, I missed my dog, I missed my friends, hell, I even missed school. Every part of me wanted to lie face first into my pillow and sob myself to sleep until it was all over.

This was not an option. Crying was not part of the strategy. And I had to get out by Monday; I would consider no other possibilities. So I learned to cry discretely, and appropriately. It was appropriate to tear up, sniffle, or cry occasionally– no loud sobbing!– during group.

So I learned to hide my tears. I discovered that if I walked casually into my room without a nurse following me, I could sneak in a few minutes of desperate crying before washing up in the bathroom and heading back to the common room, ready to get back into the game.

After all, the object of the game was to get out. And I was getting out.

20130807-125932.jpg


The Institution on Saturday

I woke up to a girl screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night. I could tell it was coming from the other ward and, fortunately for me, it wasn’t my roommate, who was fast asleep and not bothered by the screaming at all. I, of course, was horrified. It was bad enough that I was sharing a room with a stranger, but I was actually scared of being around people that crazy. I was still pretty fucked up at this point (when I checked in I was high as a kite and not coming down any time soon) so it wasn’t hard for me to fall back asleep.

This was my first inpatient hospitalization (little did I know, it wouldn’t be my last). It’s the worst hospitalization I’ve had, and probably because it was my first. By the second go-round I’d resigned myself to the system. Before I checked in, the idea of checking in somewhere for a few days had been nagging at me, and the nagging got louder as my unprovoked crying jags became more frequent. I had been crying for almost 12 hours by the time they brought me to my room in the hospital, around 7:00 pm on a Friday. It was Fall Break and my roommate was gone for the week. Most of my friends were out of town or working on an appellate brief for moot court, which I was not involved in, and the Werewolf and I had decided to take a break from each other (and drugs). We’d been going pretty hard for a few months and the binges were getting progressively longer and more intense. I was fine with the break from him, but I felt no need to cut myself off from everything. I just learned to do drugs by myself.

The hospitalization did not meet my expectations. Looking back, a few of these expectations were silly and unrealistic. (For some reason I thought I’d have my own room, that there would be someone assigned to tend to me, and that it would be a nice little break from the world, where I could catch up on school in peace.) Not only did I have to share a room with someone (who actually turned out to be a pretty great roommate: not loud, slept normally, and diligent hygienically) but the “bed” that I was supposed to sleep on was not a bed. At least it shouldn’t have been.

Everyone complains about shitty hospital beds and futon pads etc., but when you sat on this thing, this sham of a bed, it felt like a park bench. With a mattress 6 inches thick and nicely rounded, it deceptively looked like a satisfactory institutional bed. But that mattress was not satisfactory. I don’t know how they make those things but that mattress was solid. It was incapable of being bounced upon because the mattress had no give– it was like a block of wood. The bed was easily made tolerable with a thick cushion pad. But you had to get special approval from your doctor to have one, because the pads were for people with back problems. Luckily for me, I actually did (and do) have a back problem. Unluckily for me, I couldn’t get one of the pads because, by the time I was sober enough to realize that the bed was a problem, it was Saturday. And on the weekends, everything comes to a halt and nothing gets done– not even simple, infuriating, administrative procedures. There are no scheduled activities, the doctors do not come and, worst of all, you cannot leave.

This was a problem I had not anticipated. By voluntarily checking myself into a psychiatric hospital, I assumed I’d be free to leave. And I wanted to leave. I woke up the next morning and by the end of breakfast, I was sure I was ready to go back home. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how things played out.

I was woken up around 7:00 am (how I ever managed to sleep on that bed is a mystery) when a nurse opened our door and announced that it was time for “breakfast and vitals, and then group.” I did not really know what this meant, but it didn’t seem like it was optional. So I got up. Breakfast was in the main room of the ward. Although it was a really big room it was the only one the ward. There were a couple of 6 person folding tables surrounded by folded chairs, all strung together towards the back; a few couches and recliners near the entrance, facing the 40″ rounded screen TV; some bookcases full of paperbacks, mostly vapid romance novels and bad fiction; and videos– not DVDs– video cassettes that you could play in the VCR under the TV. There was also a nurse’s station off to the side and a craft room that was kept locked. I sat as far away from everyone as I could, avoided eye contact, and waited until a nurse handed me my tray. I took off the lid to assess it’s edibility. Outlook not good. I’d gotten some “coffee” before I sat down and promptly learned that it was decaf. It was bad enough that they only had powdered creamer, but the caffeine-less coffee was just unbearable. It was bad enough to be stuck there with no phone, no internet, no computer, no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes–and so the decaf only coffee just made me feel shitty. Breakfast was a bust.

I was surrounded by strangers, all either nurses or fellow ward-mates. I glanced around to scope things out, trying not to stare at anyone. Not very many people looked super out of it, and almost everyone else looked either sad, content, miserable, or barely awake. And we all looked pretty rough. It was a general consensus that the food was inedible but certain people found certain dishes more tolerable than others. So trading began. I tried to stay out of it and was antsy for information about how I could check out. I picked at a few things on the tray, ate the fruit, put the lid back on, and took it back to the cart.

Since I got done early, one of the nurses came around to take my “vitals,” which included temp, blood pressure, that thing they put on your index finger, and questions like whether you’ve had a bowel movement in the past 24 hours. I was pretty confused about why they were taking these, it wasn’t really explained, it was just something you submitted to. He made some notes and rolled his cart away to the next patient.

We were instructed to wait at the table after we’d finished eating so we could get our meds and start “group.” “Group” meant getting a worksheet (the same one every morning), having quiet time to fill it out (and your “goals” for the day), and then sharing your paper out loud to everyone. My goal was to go home and I started crying when I was reading mine, not such a good move when you’re trying to convince people you’re sane. After everyone went, we turned the papers in and we were free. The next time for assembly would be snack time– yes, snack time– at about 10:00 am. All of this was technically optional, including meals. You could just sleep all day and that would be fine, as long as you woke up to take your meds. But staying in bed all day was not a good move if you wanted to go home soon. The nurses watched you all day and everyone was assigned a specific nurse, morning and night. Your nurse gave you your meds, checked in with you about how you were feeling, and they were the person you were supposed to go to first with questions or problems. And the nurses keep track of what each person does, all day, and they make notes about their impressions of our moods and improvements (or the opposite). This means that to get out, you have to appear happy and sane at all times, even if you’re feeling neither happy nor sane, because the nurses keep track of what goes on and the doctors consider the reports seriously.

The Formula for Release: Go to Group, meals, snacks + Take only one nap a day (preferably a short one) + no crying (even if you really need to)+ engage socially and positively with other ward-mates + act happy (even if you’re far from it) = Release aka Freedom. There’s a problem in there…..

On top of that, there was not a lot to do. If you didn’t want to sleep all day your options were: watch TV (basic cable and the channel had to be agreed on by everyone who wanted to watch)(it usually ended being something lame), read a book from one of the book cases (if you weren’t lucky enough to have your own, or to have had someone bring you your own), play one of the raggedy board games (not a popular choice), play cards, stare at the walls, go out into the hall and talk on the phone- at one of the two designated phone stations–(but not for more than ten minutes!), journal in one of the little notebooks provided, or color. Yep, color. I ended up doing a lot of coloring. If I wasn’t in my room crying, in my room sleeping (still miraculous with that atrocity of a bed), or making frantic, crying phone calls to my therapist and friends, I was coloring. Out of all the options, coloring was my best choice. I accepted and resigned myself to the fact that I would be spending my days coloring for hours just to pass the time, and I just colored.

The ward had a respectable collection of markers, crayons, colored pencils, and coloring paraphernalia. There were two baskets of magic markers (the skinny kind and the regular), boxes of Crayola crayons (the good ones), and an assortment of–sharpened– colored pencils. Pens were harder to get. There were also stacks of big children’s coloring books– the good kind, with Disney characters or dinosaurs or the Easter Bunny. My favorite though was the stack of black and white, psychedelic-style, patterns/outlines printed on white computer paper. They were perfectly geometrical yet trippy and had the perfect amount of space between the lines and shapes for coloring. Before I discovered those, I’d been doing an intense, geometrical yet abstract, page sized doodle. These are my specialty. Ideally, they can’t be completed in one sitting and involve pointed interest to detail. They’re weird but also weirdly soothing for me and at times I do them compulsively.

I quickly switched to the patterns once a fellow patient (inmate seems more accurate) showed me where the stack was neatly arranged by the window and pointed out the cool pattern ones to me. Completing one of these, and making it look respectable, involved some planning before the actual coloring could began. I, of course, wanted to make a respectable one. The good ones were taped to the wall with the other colorings that had also been singled out for this special display. Once I’d judged the size and intricacy of the pattern I had chosen, I knew it was going to take more than one sitting to complete. Perfect. I selected my colors (I had already considered my color scheme and decided that I would use most of the markers in completing mine), cleared of a swath of the table, and settled into my activity. The activity I would use to pass an entire weekend’s worth of time.

And that’s how I managed to spend an entire weekend just coloring. My first weekend of inpatient treatment at a psychiatric hospital.

 

As always, feel free to contact me with any comments/questions/concerns you may have, or if you just want to drop me a line to say hi!  


Cough Syrup

Cough syrup was the greatest. It was relatively cheap, legal, and easy to get. I didn’t have to wait for townies to sell the Werewolf and I morphine or go to my super sketchy drug dealer’s house. I just drove to CVS. At first I was careful to be discrete with my purchases. I made sure to convincingly cough at the check-out and bought cough drops at the same time. I rotated between drug stores so the cashiers wouldn’t start to recognize me. It took awhile for me to muster the courage to buy two bottles at the same time. I would go to two different stores if I needed two bottles. I was also scared that someone would question me. Didn’t you get this last time? Two bottles? You know there’s abuse potential for this, don’t you? The only thing I ever got asked was for my id. And that was rare. Towards the end I was comfortable enough to boldly buy three at once, defiant and ready to snap at anyone who dared to comment.

Ironically, I had never tried cough syrup until one of my innocent, not-even-pot-smoking friends gave me the idea. Moreover, she would be horrified if she knew that she was the reason I got into cough syrup. I started to feel sick in a class that we had together and she offered me her cough syrup from when she was sick earlier that week. “Be careful, it made me really loopy.” Instantly, I was interested. I asked her what kind it was and I started scouring the internet for info about getting high on it. It turned out that you couldn’t really get high off the kind she had, there wasn’t any DXM in it. However, I quickly learned about Robitussin and was glad to find that they make it in capsule form now. The first time I got high off of it (I really was sick that time) it took me less than a whole bottle (~300 mgs) to get high. And I loved the high. I’ve never found anything dirty about it and at the time I was fascinated by how high it got me, something that was so easy– and legal– to get. I had a new drug in my arsenal.

My friends hated it. At this point, I had already started to hide some of my drug use from them. They all knew I was a stoner but not all of them knew that I was involved with anything harder– and the ones that did certainly didn’t want to hear about it. I learned how to hide it from them. How to overcome the outward forgetfulness that often stopped me in the middle of a sentence, unable to finish, or even remember, what I’d been saying. I was more cognizant of keeping my eyes alert but not too wide. I avoided talking at length to mask how out of it I was. And I definitely avoided standing. I’m a magnet for the floor when I’m on that stuff. I was so high one time that I fell down and as soon I was on the ground I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how I’d gotten there.

I started the binge around Monday or Tuesday of fall break, when we had a full week off of school. I usually (tried) to devote the time to studying and outlining for finals. I had gone to visit the Ex and that hadn’t gone well– although I did a considerable amount of molly while I was there. I left in a bad mood and was back in town by early afternoon. I think I just started smoking when I got home, even though it wasn’t even five o’clock. I was in fuck-it mode. I popped some lorazepam and got a bottle or two of cough gels. Hell, I even had a cocktail or two and I wasn’t even drinking then. I got high all by myself and had a fabulous time. I woke up the next morning and had my hands into the stash by noon.

This was not good for my physical or mental health. DXM interferes with mood medication and exacerbates mental illness– a double whammy for me. By Thursday evening my friends were concerned. I was crying for no reason, fucked up all the time and I struggled to keep myself upright when I peeled myself off the couch to walk across the room.

I checked into inpatient treatment for depression that Friday evening, still high as a kite from ingesting copious amounts of DXM, and crying like my dog had just died. And, I soon found out, it was not at all like I had imagined/hoped it would be.


%d bloggers like this: