Hi there, welcome! Sorry you're struggling.
From your description, it sounds like you're dealing with an addiction to opiate pain meds, is that accurate? Can you elaborate on that a bit? Give a little history as to how long you've been taking pills, what you're taking, and how much? Also, how did your addiction begin? I ask because it's SO very common for someone with anxiety or depression to find themselves self medicating away the symptoms of those disorders with addictive substances, like pain pills, alcohol, etc. Then, unfortunately, the merry go round ride begins. Addiction fuels anxiety, anxiety fuels addiction, and so on.
So, being that you're dealing with multiple issues, you would really benefit from seeing a provider that deals specifically in treating people with dual diagnoses. You have to address both issues, you won't be able to effectively manage your anxiety while you're still in active addiction, and vice versa.
The biggest priority for you should be addressing the addiction, as that can affect your life negatively in multiple ways (as I'm sure you already know)....and it also could affect your health, even to the point of being life threatening. So, that needs to be TOP of your list of what to do next. If you can find someone to address both issues concurrently, that would be most ideal. If not, the addiction needs managed first before you can even THINK about addressing the anxiety.
Have you confided in your family doctor? If not, that's a great place to start. He/she can help you by referring you to an appropriate doctor/clinic. I know that discussion is a tough one to have, and that fact keeps a lot of people suffering in silence. Doctors are there to help you, and addiction is something that your doctor needs to help you with, just like anything else, blood pressure, etc.
If it's possible for you, looking into an inpatient program would be wonderful. Being that you suffer with both anxiety AND addiction (and likely depression as well, as secondary depression is so common in these kinds of circumstances)...an inpatient program would help you to start addressing all of the issues at hand, while allowing you to get clean, and start a comprehensive recovery program, in a safe, supportive place.
You state you cannot afford therapy right now....look at it this way hon...how much are you spending on pills? Even if you're not spending a dime, you're spending your time, and your energy, right?...as addiction is all consuming! Time to take the steps needed to get your life back. YOU need to make YOU your biggest priority. Your addicted brain will feed you ALL kinds of BS and give you reasons why you can't do "such and such" right now.
We have an amazing addiction community here. Please consider posting there for support also. Those folks are not only a wealth of info, but they have lived it....been there, and they KNOW what you're going through. You'll get all kinds of support.
Please hang in there, and keep us posted on how you're doing ok? You're not alone in this. This battle isn't one meant to be fought alone. That's what keeps people so sick for so long.
What are the heart and blood pressure meds you are taking, or your heart condition?
There are support group meetings out there for addiction, mental health, and sometimes, depending on where you live, specifically for conditions like anxiety, OCD, depression. There may even be support groups for people with heart problems that you have. You can probably do an internet search for them, ask your doctor if he knows of any. Also, you can usually ask someone in the meeting or people in the organization sponoring the meeting if they know of anyone or any program like a grassroots community free counseling or sliding scale service where you can get one to one therapy or a counselor. It may only be short term, but at least, you get to talk to someone face to face, or just peer support (someone who is going through the same things you go through). I know how it feels to feel like it is so alone to be in the place you are in, and it really does help alot when someone knows or is going through the same thing. it was a great relief to me to hear that what I am going through is not unique to me or really off the wall, and hear what people have to say about it.
I do hope you get support here, but I also know it's nice to share things and sit with someone for support side by side, and hear, "You feel that way too?!". Even for a minute to hear that, is such a relief.
I asked about your heart medicarions because quite a few of them make you feel really lousy, even when they really help you alot with the heart issues, besides all the other things you are going through, which I think all interact and affect everything else you are going through. It's a struggle to keep up the positive attitude and cheeriness when you feel miserable from the physical ailments, which I know sounds obvious, but just referring to what you said about the hypochondria comments you get from people.
Hello thankyou so much for replying to me - it means a lot! I have had headaches since age 8 and used to take paracetamol and aspirin, then was introduced codeine and paracetamol at 14 by a doc and then when I got a few years older I discovered the damage I must have been doing to my liver with all the paracetamol and then found pure codeine could be prescribed and last few years it's become dihydrocodeine 25 x a day :( iv lived through cancer and heart failure (chemo did that) and have been depressed ever since. I can't really make friends easily anymore and find it hard to keep boyfriends. I'm 30 years old now. I'm going on subutex this summer. Iv posted on the addiction forum before and all responses I get is that my addictions not bad enough for subutex. So many doctors have told me I should go on it because the doses I'm currently on r high. And due to my heart failure I wouldn't b able to tolerate withdrawals that make my heart work too hard for too long.
Sorry this is long. I do hope to get counselling along with the subutex treatment plan and hope for the best. It's the best I can do at the moment because is relapse no question. Iv tried withdrawing a billion times and it's getting ridiculous if not dangerous..
I know I'll b ok in summer (I'm hoping) but before then I'm struggling with crazy amount of guilt and self disgust yet being on the pills is wats making me feel better. I kno that's exactly the problem.. I just think that I'm getting extremely paranoid at times with my body and it gets so overwhelming at times.
Thank you so much again for taking the care to write to me. :)
The heart meds are for heart failure that the chemotherapy gave me (from being treated of cancer at ten years old) x
I can see why you are having a hard time, with fighting addiction and being treated for heart failure at the same time. Those are really serious conditions to have together. The domino effect makes a lot of sense now in your first posting. What is it that you fell guilty and self disgust about? It went through major illnesses and conditions since you were a kid and how would you know then, how to medicate or know better?
I think you can stop blaming or kicking yourself for that. We can so easily go into the "blame game" with hindsight, and it's not really realistic or helpful to do that. It also helps not to overthink things. By that, I mean, wondering if you have a headache or don't have a headache. Just know you feel are feeling. If yo aren't feeling well, you aren't feeling well. You are dealing with big medical conditions. You aren't a hypochondriac.
It sounds like your doctors are thinking things through with your treatments and are concerned about you. Do you feel that is how it is? Have you talked to them about how it isolates you and you could use some emotional support? Yes, I would think there would be counseling involved with the subutex treatment as well as close monitoring and follow up. I would ask about it.
What is your life like? Do you have any friends and family in your life sticking with you?
I found it difficult for me to want new friends personally, and just only wanted to be around friends who were calm, quiet and nurturing; besides, understanding, since depression and going through major medical issues take so much time and effort. Plus, that I got annoyed easily. I had to little by little ease up on that, and get put of the very small box or frame of mind (best but lousy way to describe it right now) to think "outside of myself." Many times, I didn't feel up to it, but I just practiced it once a day at first, and then, twice a day, until it got to be easy and not so much of an effort. It also included saying something positive when I started my day, and it was anything, even a really small thought like "This shower felt good." For awhile, I did talk about how I was feeling and going through, but after years of that, I didn't want going over and over about it for years more. I also used to be pretty anxious and sporadically Obsessive compulsive to the point that it really disabled me socially or just getting out. A lot of people got tired and their patience were really tried with me, which I could understand, because I was so tired living with myself. I know it sounds tiny or even silly, but I tried it and figured what do I have to lose, and just did it without expecting much. I didn't really get it that what I was being made to do was opening my own "window curtain wider a little at a time." I also didn't know I was learning how to see and be kind to myself. it helps in letting go of things that I did that isolated me.Maybe, it will work for you. I have new friends that I made in recent years, btw. Two are especially close to me, and they have told me the same. They were more like acquaintances when I was really having a lot of health problems and serious physical and mental conditions. i had to relearn some social skills I lost sight of with the bipolar disorder (mostly depression). Personally, it really helped me when I did those things both mentally and physically. I think you could definitely use a hug and a warm smile. I can only do that virtually here, but just know, it's there:) o
I know what you're saying. Bipolar must b a hard thing to live with too. That's one thing my doc thought I'd had when I was a kid but later said it wasn't the case - I'm more of a cyclotypic person (I.e mood disorder)... I don't know how true that actually is.. Right now I'm not ever sleeping cz my paxil gets me to sweat at nights so I wake up 4-5 times a night to get changed from the sweating. And now I wake up at 3/4am EVERY day by reflex. So my tiredness prob comes from this too. I need to change these ADs when I go on subutex but I'm not sure to which one - iv tried all SSRIs with no real help (but no side effects as paxil gives) and the SNRIs arnt good for heart failure...grr. Annoying. I'm so happy u r posting to me , it kind of reassures me that I'm not going crazy - it's just spiralling out of control in my head but very real in terms of symptoms. I don't think ppl understand that and it's too easy to use words like hypochondriac to ppl like me.
I haven't told you the honest truth here. I was actually made to taper from 25 a day down to 14 in last couple months - my mum thought that's it I'm taking ur pills and u r tapering until u have subutex. She went to my bag and locked all my pills up. I had a breakdown for a week but then thought that mayb this is the best thing for me (concerning the pain killers) and she decided to dispense them to me. It all went ok except from withdrawals throughout the first few weeks. But then I got severely depressed and it was so intense (talking suicidal feelings here) I found the keys to the lock and took more. Then she hadn't noticed but I then starting getting hold of more by myself ... This is where the guilt and disgust come from. I'm a bad person bcz iv cheated. And relapsed. Now my reasoning is: this WONT b able to happen on subutex anymore so considering how I started to feel (severely worn down n depressed at a lower taper) I had NO CONTROL over my craving to find more pills in meantime. Now you've probably changed ur mind about me now - that I have no respect for my mum etc but this is the extreme extent of this addiction I can't stress that more. I was at 14 a day and I couldn't handle it! Might as well have no life until goin on subutex. So I thought I need to b motivated I need to go to college - I need more pills than this low dose (high technically but too low for me to function in my life). Please try not to judge. That's my guilt stemming from though. I'd LOVE to b able to stick to the taper honestly! But I CANT do it. The thought of it makes me crazy. I have nightmares everyday that my mums found out about what iv dun and she takes all my pills from me. Every night I dream this. So this is true guilt. Because it's out of character - I'm generally a nice person to ppl and honest and don't do these kind of things. I just don't see y I have to taper down to crazy low levels (for me) until summer which is ages away.
I will take ur advise tho. Please don't think I'm a ***** for deceiving my mum. I love her SO much but I can't tell her what iv done cz would break her heart. Makes me want to cry writing this. I never ever would think I could stoop this low. But it's a scum thing I'm doing. But I'm trying to cope until summer. It's hard..
I did confide this cheating to the case worker who is getting me ready for the subutex when the doc will start to prescribe. So I have told her. She told me to just b careful. She said these things do happen and on subutex it will all b ok. I kno I eventually will need to withdraw from the subutex but for now this is the best I can do to remain sane. I'm seeing my subutex prescriber in a week and we will decide what's best to do first - the AD swap or the subutex swap first. This summer is going to suck. But it has to happen. Otherwise this cycle of craziness will last forever. Thankyou for your post :) I hope I can keep chatting to you xxx
Let's knock down that horrible cycle a little, and put some straight lines in it. I don't color people totally by one thing they have done and make characterizations or generalizations about them. At least, I don't like to go there. and if I do have to judge, then I consider a lot of things and put a lot of thought into it. I really don't like to prejudice myself or others, and it is an easy thing to do; especially, since it is usually backed by solely emotions and slippery issues, and usually doesn't do much good or make things better.
I respect your honesty, and it is the honesty more to yourself, making amends, owning up to your actions, seeing and knowing it is harming you and how it affects others, and having a conscience, I hope you can see that, and go one step further to strengthen you. It's in the past. It isn't now. I've "sabotaged" myself too and relapsed more times than I would like to admit with my own bipolar disorder, and I have my share of actions that don't cast a good light on me. I take account, own up, don't get stuck on the apologies, learn and move on. As you know, mostly not easy and painful, but so worth it in the end.
I'm glad you have your mother to help you. I can understand the drive of addiction, because I went through something very similar in my bipolar disorder. In the 12 step program of recovery, It is part of the acceptance that a person has no comtrol over situations. I don't go to a 12 step program, but I know about it by reading and because I know people who are recovering addicts and adficts. Some are very close to me. I also had a tough nicotine addiction, and when I wad sneaking cigarettes during my kicking stage, I definitely felt ashame and guilt besides the drive of the addiction. I haven't picked up a cigarette in over 27 years, but I had to kick it twice.
I wonder how your doctors think you can recover addiction without offering you access to a program. Was it your choice to do it on your own? It sounds like you could use a lot of help. More than your mother can give. As I said before, it helps alot when you fight something with allies rather than on your own, and the more allies to get you there, the better.
When I spoke about the overwhelming similar drive in bipolar disorder, it wasn't the nicotine addiction. It was a lot worse than that and caused a lot of pain, suffering and grief to me and others too many times. I came to the point that I knew I had no real control over it and basically, did the surrender to the people who could help me and allow them to take care of me at that time. It was a very hard and humbling thing to do, especially since I had trust issues. Like I said, a very hard thing to do, but so worth it in the end. I have to say, I gave up to people who proved to me they really meant it when they said they had my best interest and cared, but still, it was a big leap and risk for me to do that. All I knew at that time was that I knew I was in a really bad way and that any improvement was better than what was going on with me at the time.
Thanks for sharing the information with us, and for being honest and upfront, definitely not an easy thing to do. Know that we wouldn't ever judge you, and we'll give you honest feedback.
I know you regret the things you've done. Actually one of the diagnostic factors of identifying addiction IS the out of character behavior and decisions made by addicts to obtain a substance. Not that addicts don't bear responsibility and accountability for their actions, but truly, your addict mind will always justify the things you do to get that next fix. It's such an internal struggle, and the addict mind always lives IN the moment, without regard to the consequences of their actions. That doesn't at ALL equate to an addict being a bad person, not at all.
I think it's important to try to move forward, and find a way to forgive yourself. It sounds like you have a decent support system, which is super. Recovery isn't a battle meant to be fought alone. So many people TRY to get clean and stay clean themselves, and often times, they find themselves struggling.
Relapse is also a very big reality with addiction. The percentage of people who have entered recovery and NEVER once relapsed is about null. That's why a comprehensive recovery program is so important. Believe it or not, the GETTING clean part is actually the easy part, compared to the STAYING clean aspect. A good recovery program will focus a lot on relapse education and prevention. It's SO important to learn as much as you can about the biology of cravings and the signs and stages of relapse (there are stages of relapse that occur LONG before you ever swallow a pill), and how to cope when the cravings hit.
Once you learn to be able to properly identify the stages of relapse, and be able to acknowledge that you're at risk and what to do about it in that moment, you will empower yourself. I would encourage you to start reading what you can about addiction, while you're waiting to start the sub program. You may think you're knowledgeable about addiction, but I think you'd be shocked at the things you DON'T yet know. Information is power.
As for the addiction forum (I now remember you very well, your username didn't ring a bell with me initially, sorry)....I get what you're saying. Suboxone IS (and always will be) a very controversial topic, and the majority of the folks there encourage people to try recovery without it....and for good reason. They all make very valid points, but I DO understand your frustration too. I do feel badly for people that want to discuss options that include Sub, and they're met with so much opposition. Again, they all have very valid points, and believe me, every piece of advice you get from them comes from a place of support and caring.
So, my advice to you would be to maybe post for support and general info about addiction, without as much stress on the suboxone aspect. Everyone has to choose their own recovery path, and some choose to go the sub (or methadone) route. I also would rather see people be able to approach recovery without a replacement medication, but for some people it just makes sense, and it has been a life saver. I just cannot stress enough that it's so important to educate yourself as much as you can (which it sounds like you've already gotten off to a good start in that dept), and REALLY make sure you carefully choose your sub provider. I worked in a sub clinic for a while, and I'd say that I saw about half and half....about half of our patients did very well and the sub greatly helped them, and the other half, it just created more problems and complications for them.
Thankfully, the doc I worked with was awesome. She was super responsible, very goal oriented, and very honest with her patients. The first thing she would tell every new patient was that Sub wasn't a cure, it was a crutch. She would then go on to explain that sometimes some people NEED that crutch...to learn how to walk again, and not stumble...but she would also stress that HER goal for everyone was that they all try to eventually "walk" without that crutch, and that the sub would buy them some time to have some normalcy in their lives, escape the chaos and destruction of addiction, WHILE they did intense work on themselves and their addiction. She was very very honest that if the patient was NOT prepared to work their behind off, it wouldn't work, sub or not. So, just keep that in mind as you move forward. If you ever have any specific questions or concerns about subs, I'd be more than happy to talk to you about it. You can post, or message me if you prefer a more private conversation.
Again, please don't write off the people in the addiction forum based on your experience with the sub convos. I get your frustration over that, but they really do mean well. Their support is wonderful, especially as one is going through a new recovery plan. That "real time" support is priceless, and even though some share a pretty strong opinion about subs, they will support everyone in their attempts to recover, no matter how they choose to go about it. Just something to keep in mind. You post where you're comfortable doing so.
Keep posting, we're here for you. Just you having an open, honest conversation here about it, and getting some of those guilt feelings off your chest is a great start sweetie.
Yes I do appreciate the whole sub reaction from the others. I have quite a few reasons why this is the route iv chosen to take. And this is at the risk of coping with the anticipated withdrawal that awaits at the end. I think of all goes to plan, the therapy be it counselling group therapy cbt u name it, I will finally get equipped with how to deal with triggers when I'm off the sub and hopefully it'll b ok and I'll b a stronger person. I read about subs and watch videos daily about it to learn as much as poss bcz I understand it's implications and that it's a very strong (and dangerous) substance and taking into account my current health I must be super vigilant about what I'm putting my body through. Thanks for your responses. They help a great deal. I have the desire to change. But I can't do it yet so it's a waiting game at the moment.