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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:37 pm 
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Don't read this if you're super sensitive about what "clean and sober" means!!!










I am just sick over Robin William's suicide! It feels like the third punch in a row, the first two being Cory Monteith and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Now, I know that the circumstances may be different in each case, particularly in Robin William's suicide, since the other two OD'd on heroin. But it just makes me want to talk about (or yell about) the stigma we have in this society that the only way to be off of drugs and alcohol is to have no medications in your system! To be clean and sober in the Anonymous groups and in many people's minds, you can't be taking any medication for your addiction.

Oh, I know that in recent years SSRI's and other medications for mental illness have become more OK, but it's the same type of stigma that is now on suboxone and similar medications. Someone might say, "Well, that's different because sub has an opiate component to the medication, so it's not really being clean." I say BULLSHIT!! Suboxone is an opiate medication that at prescribed levels does not cause addiction (can cause dependence) and that is almost impossible to overdose on! To me that makes it VERY different!

Opponents might also say that SSRI's and other medications are very different because it's not as bad as giving an opiate addict more opiate. But this opinion is inconsistent. SSRI's and other medications change mood. They change a person's emotions. Now, I happen to think that's helpful for people who are struggling. Suboxone often changes people's mood too. Why would one type of mood changer be OK and the other one off-limits?

So what if some people are misusing it!!! So what if they're just using it as a stop-gap measure in between binges on heroin!! That doesn't make the medication bad! That just means that addicts who are not ready to quit aren't quitting yet. The cause of people misusing suboxone is NOT suboxone itself! The cause of people misusing suboxone is addiction!

The reasons people suffer from depression are myriad. For some people, taking an opiate works when nothing else does. So why not take away the stigma and judgement when there is an opiate medication that can stay at the same level dose while treating the depression? Why can't we believe the numerous people who have come to this forum to say, "I have tried everything and opiates are the only things that make me feel normal/not depressed." Wonderful! We have an opiate medication that can be prescribed for you that you will not have to change dose over time because of increased tolerance!

If we made an effort in this society to be less judgmental toward addicts it would be a beautiful thing. If we weren't pressuring opiate addicts to be "clean and sober" (because you can't be your authentic, true self on an opiate) maybe we'd still have Cory Monteith and Philip Seymour Hoffman on this planet. Maybe if we were more focused on finding medications that can help alcoholics and cocaine addicts, instead of saying, "The only way to be clean and sober is to be off everything!", Robin Williams would not have ended his life.

Some day I believe we will look back and say that the 12 Steps were a crude way of treating addiction. We will know enough about the brain of an addict to offer more than just a way to trade your addiction for substances into an addiction for steps. Maybe we're only taking baby steps so far in treating addiction. But one thing that is holding us back is the judgment of society, and sadder still, the judgment of other addicts.

So, the next time you want to express your opinion that you can only be "clean and sober" if you do A,B, and C, maybe keep it to yourself. You can be happy to be off of suboxone or methadone or benzos without telling others what they should be doing. You can talk about your new outlook on Day 30 of being off sub without making it a comparison of others. Because maybe you will need me to show you the same kindness, when you have a slip or rely on benzos instead of sub, of not judging you because of what is or isn't in your body.

Maybe if addicts stopped judging each other and accepted that recovery looks like different things to different people we could start convincing the rest of society. And maybe we wouldn't keep losing people over the pressure to have a "perfect" recovery.

Amy

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:04 pm 
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People are naturally cruel and judgemental. Some things never change Amy.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:42 pm 
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Amy, I had a thousand thoughts about if and what to post about such a tragic and,horrible loss, however my anger over the terrible stigma and the awful things that even fellow addicts and sufferers of depression had to say about Robin Williams and his sudden departure from this life,on social media, made me sick and the right words escaped me. Amy, you've put into words,everything that's been running through my mind, perfectly.
People are dying, it's past time to stop trying to live up to this cookie cutter ideal of what recovery should be for everyone. Some people are so convinced that they're not clean or clean enough while using safe and effective treatments for their addictions or depression, that they stop treatment, to meet this idea of what genuine recovery is, often only to relapse or fall into a deeper depression, both of which having the deadly consequences we've seen too many times. Often, the most harsh judgments we addicts face, are from other addicts. If we cannot be united in recovery,and supportive of each other's efforts to get well,no matter what treatment we choose,how can we expect the rest of society to accept,understand,and destigmatize addiction and mental illness and it's treatment? Are we all not entitled to a good quality of life? If taking medication to treat one's illness improves his/her quality of life, How could that be a bad thing?
We'd never expect sufferers of other diseases to go without effective medical treatment, so why expect that of addicts and people with mental illness?

Well said,Amy.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:21 pm 
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If my heart was still alive
I know it would surely break
And my memories left with you
There's nothing more to say

Moving on is a simple thing
What it leaves behind is hard
You know the sleeping feel no more pain
And the living are scarred

A tout le monde (To all the world)
A tout mes amis (To all my friends)
Je vous aime (I love you)
Je dois partir (I have to leave)
These are the last words
I'll ever speak
And they'll set me free

So as you read this know my friends
I'd love to stay with you all
Please smile, smile when you think about me
My body's gone that's all


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGbBVmEI6QQ
-----

One of the things that crossed my mind, is, at least he did it in what I think was meant to be a thoughtful way, so that when discovered, maybe he appeared somewhat at peace, sitting in a chair, instead something more shocking or grotesque, like brains splattered all over Cobain style, or swinging from the attic rafters.

Personally, I'd do everything possible to make it appear to be an accidental death. So people wouldn't be wondering if they could have done something to prevent it, if they had "only seen the signs" (in Robin WIlliam's case, I'm fairly sure he hid them well), and for practical reasons, related to life insurance policies. I dunno. There aren't helmet laws for riding motorcycles in Michigan anymore. If I could mess my shoulder up so badly in just a low speed bicycle accident, than, with a motorcycle, I think I could pull off a good, instant death SPLAT on an expressway overpass pillar, heh.

Also, one I've contemplated in the "fake accident" dep't, was catching an ebb tide and being carried out to drown, so it perhaps would end up looking like a swimming mishap (I've heard drowning is peaceful way to go out actually, from people who have been revived, when I read a book about near death OBEs ("out of body experiences"). The ebb tide is one I thought of after my grandma died, who I was close to and looking after, even through hospice (I was with her when she took last breath). I wasn't sad about her dying, she smiled at me that morning, and was first genuine smile I'd seen from her for months. But the majority of my family acting like vultures over her estate immediatly after she passed really fucked with me (one uncle I could tell was actually feeling impatient with the whole process, wishing she would hurry up and die), like they didn't even feel grief, and saying shit to me like "don't run up the phone bill on landline, the estate has to pay for it", while I was still in her pricey condo during immediate aftermath. I ended up relapsing instead catching an ebb tide ride. The words "its easier to quit doing drugs than it is to stop being dead" came to mind. But before I ramble off too far into my own morbid suicide musings, I have to say, I can relate to him in some ways, even though I'm not a celebrity.


Quote:

“ And then immediately, all of a sudden, they branded me manic-depressive. I was like, "Um, that's clinical? I'm not that." Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes. Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh, yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh, yeah"
- Robin Williams

http://www.npr.org/2014/08/12/339823090 ... ply-honest




I've been through phases where I denied my bipolar condition, for instance. It's not always fun to be pigeon-holed with a mental illness label by clinical types, because it carries stigmas, much like being labeled as an addict. I remember once, after I first was diagnosed, I was trialed on a med called "Zyprexa", which is classified as an anti-psychotic, and it was given to me, primarily to help with sleep difficulties (it made my ravenously hungry too, and I started putting on too much weight, so stopped using it). The girl who worked at the pharmacy, that was literally half a block away from where I lived at the time? I had a bit of crush on her, as in, I wouldn't have minded at all, going on a date to get to know her better (I'd go to store sometimes, and pay for things like a soda, etc, at the pharmacy counter when it wasn't busy, so I could try to flirt with her, as well as try to find out if she had a boyfriend already, etc), so I went way out of my way to have it filled at a different pharmacy, not wanting her to think I was some Norman Bates psycho, cuz I was prescribed a low dose of Zyprexa, that came with the words "anti-psychotic" plastered on the paperwork. I was taking it in evenings to help with sleep, at a below therapeutic dose, since drowsiness is a huge side effect, and as sort of a prophylactic against mania, even though I wasn't near severely bouncing around emotionally at the time, was just having insomnia, which I always take a possible warning sign that something needs to be nipped in the bud, so went to see the PCP I had at the time. But what the word "anti-psychotic" medication might mean is pretty wide open to interpretation, especially without some facts, and it really made me feel weird about filling it at a place where a potential mate (in my mind, anyway) worked. But she soon disappeared/was stolen from my life not too long afterwards; maybe quit, was transferred to another store (it was a chain pharmacy, Walgreens to be specific), had to go stay with relatives in another state.. I'll never know. But I spent many a night cherishing the rare smile I extracted from her otherwise stoic, "I'm-at-work" face. The whole point of that didn't-happen-love-story, is how difficult it can be at times living with all the stereotypes and such, that can go along with a label pinned to the contents of a container above our shoulders.

Blah blah...I'm rambling all over the map. The tragedy really hit my mind hard and has had me on many tangential trains of thought, as he was one of my favorite actors and comedians. I have fond memories of being in my little boy PJs, and watching Mork and Mindy before going to bed. I loved his 'ET phone home', philosophical reports about his observations of life on Earth, at the ending of each show, too. I hope wherever Robin Williams may - or may not - be, that he is at peace now, in a better place than what it must have felt like living in his skin, at the end.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:10 pm 
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I never thought I would appreciate the soulful lyrics of Megadeth, but today I do. :)

I think I'm going to start calling you No BS. Is that OK?

I understand how/why words just tend to flow out of us like water at times like this. It's like there's a stream of consciousness running through my mind that I just want to get out there. That's what I think your post was yesterday...a stream of consciousness prompted by a shocking death.

Is your bipolar disorder being handled well right now with medications, or some other method?

I know what it's like to have lost someone very close to me, and, therefore, I know what it's like to grieve over the loss. It's not like I can put Robin William's death in the same category at all. That would be disingenuous of me. Still, when a person like him dies tragically, it hits me hard. I grew up watching Mork and Mindy too. I always appreciated him in comedic roles, but his movies like Good Will Hunting show his depth of humanity.

I was watching a snippet of the Today Show yesterday morning. Of course, they talked about his many interviews on the show and played bits and pieces of them. The most impressive thing they showed though was how he introduced himself to the crew and paid them a lot of attention when the cameras weren't rolling. He was a generous person with his time and he was kind to most (except during his most heavy drug and alcohol abuse).

There is a lot to miss about a person who can bring the whole world a smile.

I'm sorry, btw, that your experience with death or at least its aftermath, was rough. People can be so self-centered and unkind.

Lizzie, I totally agree with everything you said! I especially liked this statement: "People are dying, it's past time to stop trying to live up to this cookie cutter ideal of what recovery should be for everyone."

I'm not drawing a correlation between Robin William's death and attitudes in our society about addiction and mental illness. It would be extremely difficult to prove any kind of cause and effect. I just think that if we treated people with more respect and less judgment, fewer people would be dying from mental illness and addiction. I don't know. All I know is that I'm very, very sad.

Amy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:09 pm 
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Assuming you haven't seen it, you'll find a lot of interesting info on this site, Amy (as well as any others interested in the subject matter):


Quote:
ABSTRACT

Opiates were used to treat major depression until the mid-1950s. The advent of opioids with mixed agonist-antagonist or partial agonist activity, with reduced dependence and abuse liabilities, has made possible the reevaluation of opioids for this indication. This is of potential importance for the population of depressed patients who are unresponsive to or intolerant of conventional antidepressant agents. Ten subjects with treatment-refractory, unipolar, nonpsychotic, major depression were treated with the opioid partial agonist buprenorphine in an open-label study. Three subjects were unable to tolerate more than two doses because of side effects including malaise, nausea, and dysphoria. The remaining seven completed 4 to 6 weeks of treatment and as a group showed clinically striking improvement in both subjective and objective measures of depression. Much of this improvement was observed by the end of 1 week of treatment and persisted throughout the trial. Four subjects achieved complete remission of symptoms by the end of the trial (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores < or = 6), two were moderately improved, and one deteriorated. These findings suggest a possible role for buprenorphine in treating refractory depression.
---
Source @ http://www.opioids.com/buprenorphine/buprefdep.html



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:59 am 
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Hey boop, thanks for that post. I was just talking to a friend of mine who was on Suboxone, then quit, but the depression came back and now they're considering going back on just to treat the depression. I gave them a link to your post.

BTW, TGIF, bitches!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:31 pm 
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Cool Romeo.. I hope the information, in the right hands, helps your friend!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:32 pm 
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Great post! Having suffered my whole life w depression and anxiety I agree that just because a drug is opiate based it carries a stigma... In fact I've been on Paxil for 15 years primarily because I can't get off of it as the withdrawal is life threatening and worse than any opiate drug! Somehow though if I say I take Paxil it's perfectly acceptable but if I say Subutex I get a "oh that's addicting and for heroin addicts, you should get off of it quick" kind of comment. While I take the Subs due to a 3 year pill addiction I couldn't kick, my Psych put me on subs because every time I weaned I became practically suicidal after a few days ... Now on 2-3mg sub and if it weren't for the stomach issues I would have to say that it has helped me 10xs more then my Paxil which left me unable to feel emotions, lethargic and with brain zaps and spasms if I try to stop.

On a side note there was a Dr on Fox who treats high end clients with depression and it was a great interview... He stated it's important to treat depression aggressively if nothing is working and admitted to using opiate based medication in treating severely bipolar patients. He stated he has not lost a patient to suicide only because he is not afraid to use a variety of treatment in combating it.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:10 am 
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Amy-Work In Progress wrote:

I think I'm going to start calling you No BS. Is that OK?





PS, you can call me anything you want, just not late for midnight cookie and cream :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:00 am 
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PS.

Amy-Work In Progress wrote:

I think I'm going to start calling you No BS. Is that OK?





You can call me anything you want, just not late for midnight cookie and cream :D

Amy-Work In Progress wrote:

Is your bipolar disorder being handled well right now with medications, or some other method?



I do little of both. I'm somewhere between bipolar 2 and bipolar 3 (also called cyclothymia), and have managed very well without any meds for consecutive years in the past. But it can still get hairy if there is a lot of drama in my life, and the rug basically got pulled out from under me a couple years ago (the family biz I became dependent on for a livelihood went bankrupt, I was having trouble finding any work that would sustain the lifestyle I was living, and ended up homeless because of foreclosure, etc). I take a fairly low dose of seroquel at night, 100 mgs (it knocks me out pretty good usually, I can't see how people who take max daily doses in the 600-800 mg range, during the DAY, can function, but maybe its how they are wired, and they need it *shrugs*), and neurontin. Plus I take LOTS of Omega-3 fatty acids, for which there is lots of clinical evidence showing it has efficacy for mood stabilization, especially for the depression end. I was on lithium for awhile, and I fought with my PN to put me on a "just below therapeutic dose" (which is between 900-1800 mgs, depending on various physiological factors, such as metabolism, body mass, etc), 750 mgs, because of side effects, and concerns about it damaging my kidneys, etc. Plus its a pain in the ass, one has to constantly drink fluids, so I was pissing constantly, and frequent blood monitoring because of the damage it can do if one goes toxic.

After a test came back showing I was hypo-thyroidal, I was taken off of it. Next blood test, after some time off lithium, showed it back in the normal range. The stuff is called the "Gold Standard" for treating bipolar, but I just don't like it. My next app't is early in Sept. She wants me to have another blood test before the app't to check on my thyroid levels. Oh, and I am on klonopin too, which is suppose to help with mania and anxiety that can go along with dysphoric mania. I want off that too, which is my next project when I get through this round of opiate cessation. I wake up nearly everyday in a state of anxiety until I get a klonopin pill down, and, I have started to notice a slight effect on my long term memory, and for people who have been on it many years, much of that memory loss can become permanent, not to plenty of stories that mention a year of PAWS or more, if they've been on it for a really long time (many years). Its been around 1.5 years for me now. I'm going to taper off it slowly though, as people without any other issues have had psychotic reactions, and protracted PAWS, after they have been detoxed inpatient at 30 day type places, that even though will them through the "seizure risk" zone, they often tend to be neurotic wrecks still, upon discharge. I don't want to do it too slowly though either, as I also don't want my brain to be exposed to it, any more longer than it needs to be. So I'll play around with it and figure out what a good taper schedule is judging by how I do in the early phases. I think 10-20%, weekly reductions will work for first couple reductions, as I was doing that after I got off subs last time and it seemed to be working. I think I felt better even, because the stuff can contribute to lethargy. In the final stages I might have to slow down to two week reductions, or 5% drops weekly, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:27 pm 
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Great post Amy!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:53 am 
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Very good post. I do think his recent diagnoses played more of a role in his suicide that we may ever know, but this conversation is still very relevant. It is sad when fellow addicts believe there is no way out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:36 pm 
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I was very saddened by Philip Seymour Hoffmann's death, robin Williams, and especially cobain. Even Anna Nicole smith's death was sad, and I really couldn't stand her. I remember being mostly annoyed when they showed the big bottles of methadone in her refrigerator, when I had to stand in line at the clinic for so long for my measly little dose every morning.

I was using heroin when cobain died, and he was just a little younger than me. While it it amazes me that people with all the money in the world at their disposal would choose death over trying something else, it just goes to show that it doesn't matter if you can afford heroin - eventually it's going to beat you. And it doesn't matter if you can afford the most pricey, luxurious rehab - all addicts have to go back to the real world when the rehab is over. Even after all my time on methadone, I am still not sure I could stay away from drugs once I'm off it. Even though I know that the high only lasts so long, and it becomes nothing but maintainence. What's the saying...you will never get as high as the first time you use heroin, but you are welcome to die trying. I had so many "friends" who accidentally overdosed, 2 that nodded out driving and were in fatal accidents, one that was murdered by some dealer she was getting high with. I had so many close calls, took so many chances doing stupid things like driving into really dangerous places in the city to get what I needed. I didn't care about anything, and was behaving more and more recklessly every day. As much as I am hating methadone right now, it probably did save my life. But now that I am stopping, I'm scared to death to try living completely sober. And I know that at least at this point, I don't want to. I've been pretty sober for the past 5 days, and I'm really climbing the walls right now.

I too have contemplated staging an accidental death. Taking a handful of benzos and passing out in a full bathtub was my fantasy. Or just walking a few miles into an isolated area of the woods, overdosing, and having my bones found by some deer hunter a year or so later. I've thought about crashing my car, but with my luck I'd survive and just be paralyzed. The truth is, I love drugs. I miss the days when I was high all the time. I think back on those times with nostalgia. I hardly think about the stress of worrying about where my next high was going to come from, and there was plenty of that.

I understand exactly how these people felt before they od'd or killed themselves. It doesn't matter who we are, the pain is the same. And yes, society and even the medical field have a long way to go towards treating addiction like the disease they say it is, and not a moral failing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:40 pm 
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Thanks, Lafferty, for finding this relatively old post and commenting on it! I remember just how I was feeling when I wrote the initial post. Beyond devastated. I kept thinking, why weren't they on suboxone and stable???

I'm positive there was pressure on Phillip S. Hoffman to be entirely off all opiates, or the NA version of "clean", from his rehabs centers and 12 step meetings. What if the message PSH or Cobain, etc., received was, "Do everything to stay alive!!!" Use every tool in the arsenal to fight your addiction, including maintenance medication! Never give up on yourself! If these had been their mantra, maybe they would still be here. :(

Amy

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