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The Substance For You Saga Pt. 18

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The Substance For You Saga Pt. 18

For part 17 go here-

My Mental and Physical Collapse

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During my time in the mental hospital I learned many things about myself. It was a time for pure self-reflection.

“How had I gotten myself here? Wasn’t I doing the right thing by staying clean?”

I started to realize that this journey of recovery was meant for so much for than just staying drug and alcohol-free. I started therapy and at first I hated it!

For starters I learned that I didn’t like group therapy. I couldn’t sit around and listen to the tales of other’s mental illness while mine was screaming, “Kill me!”  I felt the insincerity in the rooms, so I dug deeper inside myself than I ever had before.

I’d always been a musician and knew how to play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, and sing (maybe not the last one so much!). The next on my list was piano.

The mess hall had a room secluded with books and a piano which was cut off from the obscenities outside. I was a walking riot. But as soon as my fingers hit the key my perfect pitch set in. I finally realized, “I can do this.”

As I was walking down the hall I saw people showering and running around the unit without clothes on.  There were also people in restraints.

My roommate was someone who had threatened to commit murder.  As he introduced himself to me he said, “Hey I just got out of intensive… you know what they do to you in there?” I was becoming more scared in the hospital to sleep or shut my eyes.

They had taken me off of Thorazine in regard to my addiction counselor. They then put me on an anti-depressant that would only agitate me more, only to double the dose each day. I had no choice. I was told to comply or “else.”

I guided myself back to music and my mind into positive action for personal betterment. I was truly soul-searching and for once I was looking for answers, not just trying to buy my time to see if “it will just pass.” I knew it wouldn’t just pass, I had to start working on myself.

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It was just myself and the piano in the mess hall, a nice serene spot for recovery. I turned off the lights and set my fingers down in what I thought was the right position. I honestly had no clue what I was doing, but somehow it all faded into a beautiful melody. My ears guided my fingers. I started to play and I sat there for hours. I sounded out the chords and notes with each hand trying to integrate them together into something magnificent.

I remember playing guitar and trying to figure the chords out on piano. In a way I think this is what my higher power had intended for me, “Me time.” This was the first time I’d just sat by myself to sit with myself. It gave me a purity I never thought was possible in life. It gave me a chance to feel what serenity was like.

Once I learned that there was no going back recovery was what I knew I needed. I found a way to get it, this time. This time I was doing the right thing, I was actually working on myself and my behaviors, thoughts, and reservations. I started to heal, and it all began with hitting a peak with personal insanity. I was clearly doing the same things, the same wrong things, over and over again.  Although, this time I did something different. This was where it all started to change.

After about 24 hours of practice, and in a bad spot in my life, I developed what most musicians’ dream of: “Perfect Pitch.” I started to play the piano and entwined my songs together while singing my way out of my manic state of mind. The pain began to lessen.

As the pain lessened so did my mind. I was able to think clearer, and put together the pieces. My life began to make sense, why I was here. I was here for a reason and now I’d found it. This was my calling, not just some meaningless waiting game for the next best thing to happen to me. I was going to go out there and get it. I was doing it this time. I was going to earn my recovery and I knew it!

After 10 days in the mental hospital of learning piano and only having a notebook or computer access without internet, I then taught myself to write stories in the most oddest of fashions. I wasn’t good at it, in fact, I truly sucked! But, through all of the torment and the pain something beautiful happened. I began to heal through the arts my mind had guided me towards, writing and music. After this, the urge to kill myself had started to diminish and the staff decided to let me go into a step-down

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program. This was a little less intensive, but they still kept a close eye on me!

At the step-down program I was still in mass amounts of physical pain and all I could talk about was drugs. My mental pain had subsided, but the Guillane-Barre syndrome was still kicking my ass, so I started to try and learn new coping techniques.

The unfortunate parts of the step-down program were for the fact it was about mental health, not drugs. How odd is that? The staff kept reminding me that this was not a spot for that “drug talk.”  They said that I should go to AA if I wanted to talk about my addiction.

During my worst times of pain I thought opiates might fix it, only to be talked out of it, and suicide again by my sponsor. The step-down program was where I spent half of my day in the thing I hated most… group therapy. It just didn’t work for me.  The odd tics and fashions of the other patients made me more anxious than if I were left alone. But alone is where my mind truly worshiped insanity. Clearly neither alone or group therapy were an option, I kept searching!

About two weeks into my step-down program I was given a spinal tap to see the progression of my autoimmune disorder. This was an excruciating experience! The doctor performing the spinal tap had botched the numbing medication.

“Nurse, we are going to need a longer needle! STAT!” the doctor said after the third try to numb my back. “Can you feel that son?” the doctor said as he wiggled the probe around in between the disks of my spine.

“If you feel a sharp shooting down pain down your leg tell me,” he said as I immediately screamed. “Holy crap! STOP!” I told him as my leg started to have a mini-seizure.  I was in insurmountable pain. He told me I could go paralyzed if he went any further so he called in another doctor.  After trying for an hour and thirty minutes for a procedure that

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should have taken twenty minutes it was time for a fresh start!

“And we are in!” the other doctor says.  They fill four tubes with my spinal fluid. Only if I could have had this guy to start! It only took him less than three minutes to hit the spot!

Two days after this I was unable to attend my therapy and thrown out for lack of attendance.  Hey! I had a good reason.

My spinal fluid was leaking from my back and I had what they call a spinal migraine. This was from the botched surgery… I should have filed charges!

I wasn’t able to lift my head above my feet or else it felt like a sledgehammer had been crushing my skull. I was then again admitted to the hospital to watch the progress of my spinal fluid. “Yep another  hospital stay… I’m getting used to this.”

In the hospital the pain was so immense. I couldn’t lift my head above my feet and they had to keep me on a constant dose of hospital administered pain medication. I was in such a constant battle with my addiction and mental health it was unbelievable!

“Should I do this or should I do that?” was always running through my mind.  It was bound to kill me from the stress alone, but luckily I had friends in recovery to help this time.

I had friends from Narcotics Anonymous come into my room and have meetings with me. They read me in times of illness every single day I was in the hospital. The good thing was this time I could have visitors in the hospital so the meetings were a godsend.  Thank God for my sponsor and brothers, and our grand sponsor.

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The doctor said I had a choice: It was their course of medication, or have the Guillan-Barre Syndrome kill me or put me back into the mental institution. For 6 days, I lay and wait for the headaches to go away but instead they only got worse. I waited and waited until they finally chose to do what they called a “quick fix.” Why didn’t they quick fix me in the first place? Didn’t they know I was an addict and had mental health issues?  Sometimes I feel the doctors were just stringing me along.  But I had no clue there was the option of a spinal patch!

The doctors decided to send me to anesthesiology where they prepared me for a blood patch. It was quite the interesting experience as this guy knew what he was doing!

The anesthesiologist took a cow needle, stuck it 6 inches into my hand and pulled out what looked to be almost a liter of blood (which it wasn’t… I think?). Then they stuck me again, bent me over a table and then stuck the needle filled with blood into my spine. This was meant to counteract the low spinal fluid with my own blood supply. Surprisingly enough it worked… My headache was gone and I was discharged to deal with my mental health at home, without a step-down program now. At least I knew where to soul search and had my sponsor and brothers on my side. Without them I think I’d be dead today.

As I start to get a grasp on the reality, and the pain subsiding I do the one thing I knew I could to make some endorphins start working again. I did what any healthy person should do and try to rebuild the damaged nerves. I started lifting weights, in a healthy fashion.  I started with a trainer five days a week. One step in the right direction and plenty of steps back, but at least I knew where I was heading this time!  The truest lesson to be learned here is that after all the damage I did to my body, recovery isn’t given.  I learned that recovery must be earned, and with that right foot in the door, for the first time in my life I finally had

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Recovery doesn’t come easy, but I was moving this time and it was finally in the right direction.  I had earned and learned so many bad behaviors in the past, it was no surprise now at this point in my juncture that I had some consequences to pay.  But recovery isn’t all glamorous.  We all must learn it, earn it, and work it. This is where I was in my point of recovery.  I was ready to earn it, I hoped.  That’s all I can do at this point right?

For Part 19 go here-

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