I was sitting on the couch studying when an unnerving thought crossed my mind. As I stared at the Vicodin bottle on the table that I was prescribed for my ear problems, I started to wonder how many I'd need to take to pass out. My mind wandered to the kitchen, questioning if I still had that bottle of wine I never opened. Maybe if I had some Vicodin and wine together the mixture would knock me out. Maybe I could lay in bed all day in a groggy haze and leave this life behind for a while.
Just as the elaborate spider-web of thoughts was woven into potential plans, I swiftly knocked it down. WHAT?! I retraced my trail in an attempt to figure out how my brain got me to that point. Did I really want a drink? No... I don't even like getting drunk. Was I feeling depressed about Blake? Not particularly. Is suicide anything I'd ever considered, even in my darkest days? NO.
I freaked out! I felt like I had lost complete control of my body. The four days since I started taking medication for my ear, I had been eating non-stop, feeling anxious, and having the most depressing thoughts cross my mind. I thought back to a conversation I had with one of my best friends about how she was put on steroids and it made her gain a ton of weight. Oh my gosh... the Prednisone! I quickly looked up the side effects for the steroids that the doctor put me on. Sure enough, increased appetite, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts were all listed.
I didn't know whether to feel relieved or mad. At least my weird behavior had an explanation. I wasn't regressing, it was just the chemicals in my brain telling me to do these things. But that just made me angry. WHY did the doctor not warn me that Prednisone causes suicidal thoughts? If I had informed him about the recent death of my boyfriend, I'm sure he would've thought twice about prescribing me something that could send me on a downward spiral!
I called my mom and dad sobbing, explaining to them that THIS was the exact reason why I have such a distrust of medicine. The fact that the doctor checked me out for less than 20 minutes and put me on all of these dangerous meds seemed disgusting. How could he do this to me? How could doctors everywhere do this to people every DAY! For all he knew I could've had an extremely addictive personality and the Vicodin he casually prescribed me for pain could have triggered a life long addiction. I hated doctors for me, for Blake, and for the whole world.
But after a while of fuming, my mom helped me see that it's the system that's broken. Doctors give advice about what to do to naturally heal, but people want medicine. If the doctor can't give them a quick fix, they'll move on to one who will. And people don't do the research necessary to help inform the doctors about what they need. How can doctors know all of the potential problems you'll have with a medication unless you tell them? It's our job as patients to be advocates for our health. If we don't guard our own bodies with vigilance, who will?
So I stopped being upset and changed my perspective. Thank goodness that I know myself well enough to catch these thoughts. I knew right away that I was not upset about Blake, so my depressive and suicidal thoughts were definitely abnormal. I don't like drinking, so there is no reason I'd be contemplating getting drunk in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday. None of this added up to me, so I knew something was wrong.
I realized that it's not the doctors fault, my fault, or the pills fault. It's actually no one's fault. What happened this afternoon was a wake up call. I need to be the number one advocate for my mental, physical, and emotional health. Only I will be able to know when something is wrong, so building up my self-awareness is my best defense against potential problems. Just as I have been vigilant with this blog tracking and paying attention to my emotions, I need to do the same with my physical health as well.