I’m embarrassed and delighted to share that, after six years of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, I’m now taking my medication properly and life has almost immediately improved in a very significant way.
I am… actually… happy.
I was prescribed a drug called Pregabalin, in the midst of a nervous breakdown some seven years ago, and it’s very moreish.
I was in a homeless hostel at the time and I soon realised, if I took a relatively safe ‘overdose’, I could escape my mind for a day or two – think straight (or so it seemed), talk to people, take an interest in the world around me, write…
But then the crash would come, and that involved lots of sleeping and even more time trying to sleep, so it was just me and my mind again – and, to be honest, my mind’s a dickhead and really bad company.
The thing is, however foolishly, I believed the crash phase was my natural state, so I was desperate not to be there. I was double-plus mental when I started taking the tablets and they gave me a brief R&R from my personal experience of a living Hell: my Mum, big brother and cat had died in 18 months, my remaining family turned their backs on me and I was living in a homeless hostel, with genuine homeless people.
You can perhaps see the attraction to that weekly escape routine, and how it became a pattern through the seven or eight months I was a derelict?
That pattern continued when I was given the haunted flat* I used to live in. I wasn’t very good at self-regulation and, really, I had no accountability except to myself, and I really didn’t give a shit about myself back then, so I let it do what it wanted.
(* haunted by humans)
Recently, I’ve had a rough few weeks, feeling very sure I couldn’t go on; plotting and planning. The misery I experienced in those crash states, which could see me sleeping two days solid (with loo and cat-feeding breaks), then hiding in bed, feeling unable to face the world over the next three days… until I got my mental morphine again… it had become too much.
The misery outweighed any joy, many, many times over. Thought of suicide had taken on a mass and I was gravitating toward it, because I simply couldn’t bear being alive. I hated my own consciousness and wanted it to end.
… it turns out I’ve been in a state of perpetual self-harm, both physically and psychological, and simply by taking these beastly tablets as scientifically and medically prescribed – rather than following the ‘As you like, Les’ rule – I am almost immediately ‘free’, and all of a sudden experiencing life again.
Rather than snaffling fourteen tablets over 12-16 hours in a marathon of mania and gaming that would last two days, before Odinsleep, I’m taking just two tablets every day, with an embargo on myself not to take it before 9am (so I can’t bend my own rules and snaffle an extra two at 12:01am if I’m planning to stay up late playing Hello Kitty! Island Adventure).
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, trying to draw the ‘strength’ to take this medication just as prescribed, because maybe, just maybe, there’s was a little hope left if I turned the handle of that door…
I reaffirm, I thought the ‘crash state’ was my natural state; my mind was telling me I was irreparable, insignificant and I didn’t matter at all. I found no joy or pleasure in life. I had no ambitions or dreams or reason. I slept. I didn’t want to wake up.
This is genuinely one of the most significant moments of my life, because for a long, long time, I thought I’d lost the person I was. I felt like a ghost.
Now, of course, I’m stroking my chin, seeing that possibly there was a connection between starting taking these tablets and sliding into these hellish years without basic joy or any sort of real sense of satisfaction or purpose in my life.
I thought it was all the death and living Hell, because that happened at the same time. I mean, if you were looking for the seat of a mentalist’s fire, you’d look at the death and living Hell and think that was significant… but no, I’ve just spent the past seven years poisoning myself and, actually, that was the problem.
I’ve realised I’m taking death totally fine again. I’m not thinking about my own. I may feel sadness, when I think of those who have passed, but not misery. There’s love there, not pain.
One of the main reasons I used to overdose was the evidential benefit it had to my ability to write again, but I never wrote anything of substance because the crash time would wipe away any enthusiasm to carry on. The next week, I’d be on top of that Fuckwit Ferris Wheel again and I’d write something else erratic, and so on, and so on, and so on…
I believed I could only write when I overdosed, and without that boost, I couldn’t function doing the only thing I’m good at: writing.
Yet, here I am writing in volume after taking just two tablets a day (as prescribed by experts in the matter, rather than idiots such as myself).
Here I am, a human, being again.
I would compare this to the mysterious, but very real awakening I had in 2010, in terms of significance in my life, and that’s a major, major statement from me.
I have never in my adult life use these following words lightly or inadvisably:
I am happy.
I got on the top deck of a bus, today, just for fun. This is after some 25 years of avoiding them, primarily because of the elusive dread I was so fat I could topple them if they went too fast around a corner.
And I had fun on the top deck of the bus, today. I looked at the world from a higher perspective, in more ways than one. In such an old city as Carlisle is, you often find if you look above the shopfront windows, there are true architectural gems to behold – and there it was, all of a sudden, staring me in the face, when I’d never been on that route before on the top deck of a bus, or on stilts. So much I’ve never seen before, because I never looked up.
So, what appears to have happened is this:
I had a nervous breakdown and was given medication to stabilise my raging anxiety and new diagnosis of being a bipolar mentalist, and for seven full years I’ve been poisoning myself every week, thus catalysing a very severe, very swift bipolar cycle of crazy manic highs and amongst the worst lows I’ve ever endured, the latter coinciding with feeling very, very ill, physically. I mean, I was literally poisoning myself, physically, as well as sabotaging my mind.
And now I’m taking Pregabalin at the prescribed dose, all of that madness has gone.
I have all of a sudden become stable, unafraid; I’m without any worry or regret or guilt or anger or any negative thought. I can think of all the things which used to hurt me and they are just mental relics. They are benign and cool to the touch. There’s no pain left in them.
I am present, conscious and aware. I walked along the street earlier and was watching and looking at the world, with a smile on my face, rather than staring at the pavement, lost in miserable thought.
I’m not going to be posting in a week’s time that, actually, this wasn’t such a significant moment in my life as I know, already, it is.
It’s an Awakening; equal to the experience I had in February 2010, in terms of the inner peace I feel, right now, and the genuine contentment, joy and happiness rising from within.
I feel like Mr Ben (not Uncle Ben!) and I was living a moderately sensible life, then passed through a doorway into an alternative reality which had dragons in it, and, eventually, after much peril, The Shopkeeper has appeared and beckoned me to get out of there, so I can go home.
My life has just changed, in a big way.
The person I was… who I thought I’d lost… back in 2014, when my mind broke, has just woken back up after a long coma.
There are no spiritual connotations to this. It’s clear to me, now, how much damage I was doing to myself and my life.
This has all been my fault.
I could beat myself up about this, but what has also returned is the awareness I don’t need to do that any more, because I’m here and now.
I fucked my own life up for years on end, in a spiral delusion that overclocking the meds would save me; I didn’t go on a killing spree, burn down a church, maim or sexually attack anyone. The victim of my crime is me, and I’m blessed with the re-emergence of a bubbling nature of real forgiveness.
What happened – all of the turmoil these last few years – is of no importance any more. I forgive myself and extend that to anyone who may feel the need for my forgiveness. Have at it. I don’t need the forgiveness of others to forgive myself.
What matters is now and what I do now.
Living in the moment (conscious awareness of our senses, in the actuality of the present, rather than the drone-like, over-thinking, ever-critical unconscious state, where we live in the past and future; and most of us, most of the time, exist in the latter experience) is a portal to inner-peace, and here I am, now, feeling happy again. Content. Optimistic. Wordy, it seems, too.
A sustained continuation of this actual happiness depends on me taking the prescribed medication at the prescribed dosage.
It’s that simple, though it really has been such a difficult journey to reach here.
I am not manic, or high, or drunk, or stoned and the gas isn’t leaking. I’m happy, and I know my mind well enough to be certain that rectifying my semi-perpetual ‘mistake’ with my medication has allowed me to roll back to my centre, and now… now I know it would be an active choice of mine to be unbearably miserable. I’m not prepared to do that any more.
I have finally learnt to take care of myself.
Good things will come of this.
After many false starts, here begins my true new life.