Written around 2015 – When I was arguably the most mentally unwell I’ve ever been. Even then, I was trying to find a way out. This ones about Choice.
Have you ever noticed, that the more important a decision is, the less and less it feels like a choice? Maybe it’s just me, but it’s one of the things I really struggle with and something that absolutely needs to be changed.
The past week or two has been difficult for me. I’ve been pretty all over the place. Sometimes the way Anti-Depressants work is when you increase your dose, you actually end up feeling worse before you feel better.
It’s these kind of moments, that I find myself really struggling to make good decisions. A lot of the time it feels like I’m not making a decision at all. It’s quite difficult to explain, because at the end of the day, everyone has a choice. What isn’t easy to understand, even for myself, is why it appears that I have literally no control over some decisions at times where I really need to be making the best decisions possible. Tapentadol, the painkiller I take for my chronic back pain, is quite addictive. When I’m feeling vulnerable, down, anxious, or uncomfortable, I get this overwhelming urge of no longer caring, and seeking out drugs to self medicate. I know it’s a bad choice, I know that it won’t help me in the long run, and yet I do it anyway, because I’m so far gone that I can barely control my own mind and actions.
On a few occasions in the last week or two, I ended up finding where my medicine is kept and I took more tapentadol than I should have. I didn’t feel guilty at the time, in fact the only thing running through my head was “I shouldn’t do this, it’s a bad idea”. I still did it, without any real hesitation. It’s really hard to control myself when I get to that state of mind. It’s so unpleasant that I no longer care about the consequences of my actions, and I just take the most direct route to relieving myself of despair.
I know that these are the times where I have to make the best decisions. It’s something I really have to work on, and if I ever want to return to a normal life, I have to get it under control. It’s not easy though. How do you decide to decide, when it doesn’t feel like a decision in the first place? At those moments, I’m struggling so much that it no longer feels like I am making the decisions. I know that I have to change this, I need to believe that I can choose an alternative. I know it’ll help me in the long run, and ultimately allow me to get better.
Someone I know the other day said something along the lines of “Addiction isn’t a choice, it’s a weakness”. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. No one chooses to be addicted or have an addictive personality. It’s just something that some people are predisposed too, and in some cases, just end up that way because of life’s mysterious ways of operating. I’m pretty realistic when it comes to my addictions. I’m fully aware that sometimes I can’t control myself. I’m aware that my brain is often thinking about ways to self medicate, or get away with taking more than required. At the current time, it’s not really my choice whether my brain does that. I guess what is my choice, is whether I decide to listen to it. Of course I try not too, but if I’m feeling down, it’s all too easy to give in.
I know that I’m trying, I know that I’m going to get past this. I know that I will triumph because there isn’t any other option. That is my choice, and I will follow through with it. There’ll be times where I mess up, and times when I don’t manage to control it. That’s ok though. I’m only human, and when that does happen, I try not to judge myself or feel guilty, because it’s just not as simple as making a choice at that time.
It’s hard for a lot of people to understand what it’s like to have those kind of urges, it’s not the same urge you get for a coffee in the morning, or to sit down after standing for too long. It’s brutal, and relentless, scary and powerful. It may be a choice, but it’s the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make, and I have to make it each and every hour of every day.
I’m not asking for sympathy, but next time you’re dealing with someone who is struggling to make good choices, think about why that is. Think about what must be going on inside their head for what appears to be such a simple decision to become so unclear. It’s easy to make a bad choice, but it’s infinitely harder to understand one, especially if its not yours.
I didn’t choose to be a drug addict, and I didn’t choose to be depressed.
But I do have a choice, and I’m trying my best.