Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I know what hell is

At the advice of my doctor I started a new drug. It would be the last time I took his advice.

For two weeks I took it only in small amounts. Twice a day I took the little blue pill. I needed help. I was desperate. My life, I had figured, would end if I didn't take something. I had nothing to lose as the only way out of my suffering was medication or suicide. So instead of ending my life I chose another option and found a doctor.

For the first few days I noticed nothing. No changes. No shift in thinking or feeling. Then one day I woke up but couldn't wake up. I grew scared. I was awake but my brain was in sleep mode. I wanted nothing to do with consciousness even though I had slept for over twelve hours. In a panic I decide that I would exercise to clear my head. This is when I knew something was wrong because as I went for a jog down the block the fogginess didn't leave and I nearly fell asleep. The sleep jogger. It passed and I thought nothing of it. Strange body. Strange things happen to me. 

Then a week later the disaster. I was working out hard, lifting weights in my apartment. I was doing upright rows, an exercise I'll never do again. Something snapped. My neck went stiff as a board and suddenly I felt terror ripple through me in a dark wave. Overcome, I huddled in the corner, unable to cry or face the light. Eventually, I called my father to take me to the emergency room.

They gave me some benzodiazepines to calm and wrote me a very small prescription. They told me to stop taking my medication. I did and stayed on the benzos until the prescription ran out.

Then hell. For two weeks I paced, tearing a track through the beige rug of my apartment. Back and forth I walked, incapable of stopping or sitting. The feelings of restlessness were too intense. Pulses shook up my legs. Warm flashes rushed through my neck, chest, and arms. If someone looked at me I would weep. I had no control. There was nothing stopping my emotions, no barrier between me and anyone else. I could not smile and for the first time in my life I could not laugh or tell a joke. No joy. No rest. Nothing but the endless pacing, the terror of being alive. The fear I would be abandoned, and the anxiety, the destructive anxiety that taught me what horror that never dies feels like. 

I returned to the hospital twice but they offered little help. When I saw my doctor again he refused to give me anything for the pain. At the time I had no desire to say or do anything to him but now I want to drive a knife through his heart. 

As I paced and paced my family grew worried. Everyone's lives stopped because they had to deal with me. I refused to leave them alone and suffer in silence. In two weeks I slept about ten hours. Laying in bed was excruciating. 

I searched the internet but found no help. I did locate one forum for people who had taken the drug I was on. The reports were similar to my own. I remember one woman writing, "I would not give this drug to Hitler." 

Slowly, things began to recede. After 14 days of pacing, of feeling my legs cramp up and spasm, the restlessness started to fade. I sat down. For ten minutes I sat in a chair. I started crying. I could sit down. I could sit in a chair. That night I even slept in a bed for three hours. 

Days went by and eventually it faded but it took years to fully recover. My neck still felt stiff and sore and I would occasionally bouts of restlessness and hot flashes in my body. 

I thought things in my life were bad and could never be worse but I learned what hell is. If you're going through hell then the best advice I can give is this. "This too shall pass." 


  1. I react badly to way too many drugs.

    I don't worry much about things getting worse, I'm at my limit already, any worse and I'll just call it quits. An end to pain.

  2. only opiates have ever worked for my depression and anxiety. although their positive effect is temporary as tolerance and withdrawals eventually hit you.