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...just a thought or two about drugs and depression..and its effect on withdrawal....and.....

The other day, sitting at work, anxiously waiting for my dog's operation results, I decided that focusing on others peoples' very real problems was a good way to stop focusing on [I]me[/I]--and [I]my [/I] worries! So, I read through a bunch of threads...and then backtracked to the history of why they'd been started in the first place--the "history" of each writer.

One word was stressed in post after post: "Depression". Whatever the drug--depression was tied in with just about everyone's usage. Not one story emerged, where the writer had been struck down by opiates, Cocaine, etc., in the "prime" of their emotionally happy and physically healthy lives. No one who lived in a state of well-being, with a sense of peace, was suddenly blindsided by drug abuse...just "out of nowhere!" :confused:

Whether chronically depressed...or having just been hit by bad news...or bad health...or emotional devastation...."depression" was the key for why we allowed--and welcomed--these drugs in. We all looked for escape.....and made the big mistake of seeing our pills as nifty antidepressants. (I know that I've seen mine as "back-up" to the two antidepressants I already take.) :nono:

This, alone, is no great revelation. We are all aware of the depression wrapping its way around everyone here. But it did make me think about one aspect of recovery that I believe is sometimes overlooked. (It was Lisa's answer to Baseball, which reminded me of it....when she said that "they tell you 3-5 days of withdrawal--plus flu-like symptoms..."--but she didn't sure didn't agree with that!)

Reading through a lot of the good advice given on this Board, the one thing I don't believe is stressed often enough is that: considering we are already depressed [I]before [/I] we start using the drugs...the concept of relatively quick withdrawal periods, then day-by-day recovery, within a few weeks of stopping the pills is often just too optimistic for many of us.

It may well be true for some--i.e.; that 5 days of physical symptoms for Vicodin withdrawal will be followed by a day-by-day return to a sense of well-being (And, heaven knows, I wish it were so for me! :rolleyes:) But...if we are carrying along "excess baggage"--our heavily-loaded emotional carry-ons--we are fighting much more than simply the drugs. We are also fighting the very real depression that may have brought us to drugs in the first place.

I mention this, because, in addition to taking the step that most of us do--making certain that anti-depressants become part of the recovery plan--it is important not to underestimate the time needed before we REALLY start to feel better--to wake up and say "I [I]think[/I] I feel pretty good! I think I can put one foot in front of the other today!" :D So often, our recovery from the initial depression is what adds to the length of time we need to progress....not so much the physical symptoms of withdrawal. (Although I know that in the case of benzos, the physical aftermath can be hellish for some.)

For those of us warding off--or recovering from--depression--I think it is so important that we mentally allow that additional time we may really need to feel "off drugs." It's so easy to be so horribly discouraged, and think that "so-and-so" is only on Day 12--and they're already up, enjoying family-life, exercising, etc, etc. What's wrong with me?? I'm still so anxious, depressed, still craving..."

It's not just that each body chemistry varies in how quickly drugs leave our system...but that once the phsycial signs abate...you are again faced with the depression. (And without the drugs, that depression will be clearer than ever! They'll be nothing to deflect it.) And that's when it can feel so hopeless. Because not only are we facing reality--but many of us have been told we can expect a shorter time framework for recovery. And, if we DON'T achieve that, say, 3-5 day recovery period ....we just want to give up completely.

These time frameworks [I]are[/I] very, very helpful to bewildered drug users, who desperately need to see an end in sight. But, I keep thinking that for those of us, whose lives were emotionally difficult [I]before[/I] the "pill panacea"...we need to recognize that we may have a far longer path beyond the initial withdrawal symptoms. (And many poster have written of this....and their stories have helped me a lot.)

Fear of returning to that "black hole" of depressio rules way too much of my life. I realize that now. Three clinical depressive episodes over the years convinced me that nothing else I've faced come NEAR to that horror. (And I've recently heard others, here, say similar things. So...I guess many of us fight the same problem.) I could outlast any of the physical symptoms of withdrawal...but am not sure if I could outlast another clinical depression. (I shouldn't be encouraging a "misery loves company" theme--but if anyone else out there feel a bit the way I do, I'd sure enjoy hearing from them!) :)

Sooooo....anyway....my point is (what's that?? you didn't think I HAD a point?? LOL!).....

---If you don't fall into that "niche"--that [I]average[/I] recovery time..don't lose heart (most of us are not "average" anyway! LOL!)....

and...

--If you'd been battling depression [I]before[/I] you began using drugs...then allow for the depression that may come back in after withdrawals. It was probably been hiding out during drug use.

Now! Knowing all this....and having written it down, here.....if only I could "take the plunge" and at least start Day I, myself!! :D

Good luck to all who are trying....and everyone gets to this Board because they ARE trying!

Lynn :wave:





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