There is a vast array of coping mechanisms that my on-line and IRL mental health support family use. Everything from holistic methodologies to meds. For the most part, because everybody is different, I feel that whatever a person needs to deal with their mental illness is acceptable...except when it comes to myself. I realized that this morning when I was updating my med list.
It's been many years since I've relied upon benzos to help me deal with my symptoms. At one point, when life was horrific, I became addicted to Ativan. It can be taken sublingual, so it's very easy to take. Just slip one of those little babies under your tongue and life is good again. A couple years ago I became involved with Healing Touch, which drastically changed my life. I was taking the least medication I've ever taken, and learning new ways to deal with stress and manic episodes. Unfortunately, I had to reduce my expenses and that was the first thing to go. I had learned so much and was certain I could keep it up alone, but as the stressors in my life increased, my ability to cope drastically decreased.
Don't get me wrong, life is good. My stressors are temporary. Greg is wonderful, I am safe and secure, Rachel seems to be in a good place, and my back is healing well. That's what's so horrible about mental illness, there's no logic.
When the mixed episode hit, I knew trouble was coming. Everything I worked so hard to learn flew out the window. I couldn't remember a thing, not one damn thing. My mind wouldn't shut the fuck up, I couldn't sleep, and my days started with crying in the shower. When, after more years than I can remember, taking a shower with my razor sitting on the little shelf became scary, I knew trouble had come to stay. My therapist said "You're just stressed, get a massage." Well, that didn't work, it was a big waste of time and money. My psychiatrist said "How about Ativan?" My first response was a resounding "No! I can't take that, I'll get addicted again." He countered with the fact that life is very different now than it was then, and he'd give me a low dose and only allow for two each day. If I wanted more, I was to call him right away. So I've left the child-proof cap on (I always switch them out because I hate fighting with those damn things), and I've tucked it up in an inconvenient place. I did not put any in my little pill box that I carry in my purse, and I limit myself to one before bed.
The double standard? I'm a failure to need this. I don't see anyone else as being a failure for needing benzos, or any other meds, only me. Hopefully, as my temporary stressors are dealt with, I'll no longer feel the need to use this crutch. Until that time, I need to find a way to apply the compassion and understanding I have for others to myself.