Tag Archives: suicide

There Are Bad Drugs and Good Drugs, And You Probably Aren’t Qualified To Decide Which Is Which

The 29th of May marked the four-year anniversary of our granddaughter’s suicide.

The death of a beautiful 19-year-old is always tragic. Cadi’s was especially so, because it almost certainly didn’t have to happen. She suffered from profound depression, had gone off her medication (which had been working well), and had been drinking. The details don’t matter. She’s gone, along with a piece of the hearts of everyone who knew and loved her.

The point here is that there are definitely good drugs and bad drugs. I bring it up because in my correspondence and other contacts with people in recovery I often run across their expressed desires to get off all drugs, not just their drugs of abuse. This unfortunate impulse is often supported by people who consider themselves well-versed in recovery issues but who, in actuality, are just people with opinions, not facts.

We have to keep a couple of points in mind here — important facts about addiction, depression and recovery.

  • Addiction causes changes in our brains that take from one to two years to return to “normal,” (if they ever do).
  • The use of addictive drugs often masks pre-existing conditions, and depression is frequently one of them.  In addition, depression is part of withdrawal, and post acute withdrawal can last for many months.

As all addicts and many other folks know all-too-well, withdrawal symptoms are generally the opposite of whatever pleasurable effects the drug may have had.   If we used uppers, we were depressed when we stopped. Quitting downers, especially alcohol and benzos, made us feel agitated, gave us blood pressure spikes, and may have caused seizures,  Our digestive systems’ reaction to the removal of opiates, which cause constipation, made us throw up along with all the other withdrawal symptoms that we know and appreciate.

To put it another way, we took drugs or drank to feel good, then we did it to feel normal, then we did it because we had to — but in all cases, when we stopped taking them we felt discomfort ranging from icky to “Oh My God!” 

Well, folks, antidepressant drugs cause a “rebound effect” that is similar to withdrawal. The return of depressions is often sudden and profound. It can also be fatal, especially if we combine it with a depressant like alcohol. That’s what Arcadia did, not too long before she jumped from a 200-foot bridge.

If you are on antidepressants, for heaven’s sake don’t stop taking them without careful detox by medical people who know what they are doing. This is especially true if you are in early recovery, or if you are actively using other drugs.  Give serious thought to staying on them.  There is no shame in supplying our brains with necessary chemicals that are lacking through no fault of our own.

Failure to deal effectively with depression can stop your recovery. Dead.


A Few Comments On Bullying

I just heard a discussion of the film “Bullying” on NPR, and the asshole who opined that we “need” bullying because it teaches us to “stand up for ourselves” so enraged me that I had to turn it off.

I haven’t seen the film, and I don’t intend to. I know all too well what it’s about. I lived it, and that I survived had more to do with my ability to withdraw into books and similar pursuits, shutting out that part of my world, than it did with the quality of my character. I completely understand the kids who chose to leave theirs.

There’s no point in going into details, because I’m not looking for sympathy here. What is important in this is that I was bullied continuously from first grade through what they now call Middle School, and that it shaped my life. Rather than going through whatever normal evolution I would have, and becoming whatever I might have, I ended up with a fixation on martial arts, a fascination with firearms and other means of committing mayhem, and in a profession (police officer) for which I was spectacularly unsuited.

Until my alcoholism and other addictions made it clear to me that I didn’t belong in that line of work, and until my recovery forced me to look at my real interests and calling, I spent nearly forty (that’s 40) years fumbling around trying to find out who I really was. That’s what bullying accomplished for me. It taught me to stand up for a self that I wasn’t, and kept me from becoming whoever it was I would have been.

I’m pretty much OK now. I didn’t die, and I’m comfortable in my own skin. But it could have gone a different way. I wish the sphincter on NPR could have experienced one week of what it was like from the other side of the fence. Maybe he’d keep his mouth the fuck shut about things he has no chance of understanding.

On the other hand, maybe he did. The bullied sometimes make the best bullies. On the job training, sort of.

Not all of the terrorists are “out there.”