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 Post subject: Lessons for Life
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:07 am 
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Some of you know about my recent drop off a high dose of Suboxone, for those of you that do not know- I was on Suboxone for nearly three years and was at a point where I felt ending my treatment would be more beneficial than staying on it. There were a number of reasons I wanted to get off of Suboxone-my marriage, my education, but most of all I believe I wanted to prove to myself I could live my life without medication to keep me "normal". I have always hated the fact that being on some type of psychological medication would be better for me than being on nothing. I felt broken because my brain required a drug to keep it balanced, so at different times throughout my life I would stop taking whatever drug I was prescribed to do it "my way". Every time I did this, I ended up self medicating and making a mess out of my life and the process would start all over again.
With Suboxone, I felt that this would be the medication that I could live with long term because it treated my addiction,my pain, my anxiety/depression, and my lack of focus. It healed what would normally take a number of medications, and I thought I had found the perfect fit for ME. Then my old thinking started to creep back telling me I was healed, that I could now deal with life without medication and everything would be fine. So I did what anyone would do who thinks they got all the answers- I jumped right off the highest dose and put my positive thinking into play. I did pretty well considering. The initial withdrawal was manageable- what really changed things for me was the PAWS/ post acute withdrawal syndrome. Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a set of symptoms that occur immediately after withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, even Suboxone. The condition can last up to two years and can improve then get worse,causing a problem in itself.It alters a person's ability to function on the job, with family and friends, and regain emotional health.
I used to think PAWS was exaggerated, until I experienced it myself. I would get so easily distracted by racing thoughts, I would think I was losing my mind and start crying. I did not understand what was happening to me. I would either be extremely over emotional or numb, be happy about going somewhere one minute, then on the way I would just begin to panic about being in public and insist on returning home. I would have problems remembering things that were so simple.My kid would laugh at me because she thought I was joking a few times- it was embarrassing to say the least.
Again I stress that I did not realize what was going on. I did not realize it until I was about six weeks off of Suboxone. When I realized what was happening I began to re-evaluate my decision. I was trying so hard to convince not just my peers that I was fine, but also myself. I thought if I could just stay positive I could beat it. I was wrong and I decided that I needed to get back on suboxone, continue educating myself, and talk about my mistake with the people who would benefit from my story and support me.
I got back on Suboxone a week ago and have stabilized on a smaller dose than I was on before this occurred. I have learned that my thinking is what gets in the way of my progress, when I begin to think that I would be better off without medication- it is a sign that I need to do the exact opposite. The side effects from Suboxone are minimal compared to what happened when I went off the drug, and I will need to discuss ways to better handle those side effects with my doctor. I am glad that I was smart enough to go back on Suboxone right away, grateful that I had the ability to do so. Nobody is immune to poor thinking-

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"It is never too late to be what you might have been!" - George Eliot


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:22 am 
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Thanks for opening up and sharing your story, Shelwoy. It sounds like you've done a lot of "soul-searching" and came to a decision that works best for you. I'm happy for you and glad to hear you're doing well. Keep up the good work and keep at it with your education. Your unique perspective can offer much insight to people suffering from addiction, whether it be active or in remission. You have much to offer and as a member of the addiction community, I thank you for reaching out.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:50 am 
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Shelwoy,

I am glad that you felt comfortable enough to post and share what you are going through. I also appreciate what you said and your experience, having been through it myself. It is always nice to be validated via someone else's experience. I came here at a point where I had the exact experience. Felt for a variety of reasons I "should" be off the medication and am actually quite grateful that I did try because at least now I know. I do not blame suboxone for this as I strongly believe I would have felt the exact same way had I stayed clean from full agonist opiates for 3 months like I did with the suboxone. For me, I came here and posted because I had felt there were people who would understand what I was going through and who might be able to help guide me to the right answers. I felt exactly like you describe. One moment I would think it was going to be a great day and I felt better. The next I would be overrun with emotion and feel totally incapable of life. I would panic in the grocery store and was afraid to be in public at times. I couldn't remember anything at work it seemed. I felt like I was in a fog half the time. But I would talk myself into good moments at times. I couldn't decide if I should get back on suboxone or not and had surgeries to get through so I couldn't just go back on it and didn't have a sub doctor anymore. It was a VERY difficult decision for me.

Ultimately, I too decided to go back on it. What I learned was that I am actually stronger for accepting my situation (being an addict, having chronic pain issues, inability to self manage with full agonist opiates, ADD, depression, anxiety) and that suboxone resolves all of my symptoms. One drug treats all of this for me and I should be grateful for this drug and not angry that I have to be on it. I came to realize that I was more stable on suboxone than I was prior to opiates. I came to a point of acceptance and though I don't "like" it, I can live with it and continue to believe I am strong and capable BECAUSE of my reliance on a drug to help me instead of DESPITE my reliance on a drug. I always felt taking the drug was a weakness when really, my willingness to do so is a strength.

I know being in your field makes it a bit more difficult to make these choices, but I am glad you made the best choice for you and hope you are feeling strong about it. I also hope you continue to feel comfortable sharing about your situation and what you are going through.

Cherie

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Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

- Winston Churchill


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:56 am 
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Shelwoy:

Thank you for sharing that. I admire you and I admire your honesty and humility. Congratulations on taking control of your life and your illness and doing what is necessary to stay healthy and sane. DO NOT let any naysayers convince you that you've done anything but what is best for you.


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