Chasing the Ativan Dragon

I have so much frustration right now.

I really should talk to my friends about medication before I take it–they’ve all been on a lot more than I have and know more. Almost as soon as I said something about being on Ativan wednesday gave me the heads-up that it wasn’t right for insomnia. I kept taking it anyway, even thought it helped less and less. But wait! There’s more.

Apparently, Ativan is not often prescribed as a first try at insomnia treatment, rather, it’s mainly an anti-anxiety drug with sedatives. With a notorious track record for tolerance-building and just ceasing to work eventually. But it’s what I was given–how should I know? But my friend W was over tonight and asked about my medication–which I’ve been on for about a month, and it doesn’t help with not sleeping at all really. W said that Ativan has serious cognitive side effects as it’s a depressant, and he’s fought not to be on it in the past, because its depressive qualities last into the next day, interfering especially with creative work. It slows down your brain. And it continues to slow it down after you wake up.

Well, what do I do for a living? Nothing where I might need to be happy, whimsical, imaginative, creative. Where my thought processes need to be nimble. I’m certainly not trying to write a book for children, full of magic and laughter and fun.

I have never been so depressed, anxious, easily upset, or as unable to work creatively as I have been in the last month. It’s been crippling. And I still can’t sleep, the worst insomnia I’ve ever had, and Ativan doesn’t help at all. I have barely been able to work at all, my brain has simply not worked as it normally does, and I’ve had middle of the night panic attacks–something I have never in my life experienced. I’ve assumed that I am just a terrible person and broken and lazy and nothing will ever be right again. It seems a lot more likely that the inappropriate medication I have been on has been fucking with me in a major way.

I’m out now. I took the last of it last night. Of course I’ve been near tears for no reason all day, and have not been able to work. I have an appointment to get something else tomorrow. I’m just so angry and frustrated that I’ve been taking something totally wrong for me that has been undermining me and I didn’t even know. I was just desperate to sleep. This has been a horrible month, one in which I’ve been convinced I’ll never be all right again.

It’s amazing how chemicals can affect you. Of course, we’re just chemicals in a squishy container. Adding or taking away one should have an effect. But we treat emotions as something not chemical, something esoteric that comes from a place other than chemistry. I’ve never been on serious medication. I am not used to thinking about myself in terms of meds-me and not-meds-me.

Oddly enough, my doctor was kicked from her HMO shortly after she prescribed this for me, so I won’t have her again. I don’t know whether to be glad that it’s fixable or furious at this lost time. I’m still messed up and I don’t know how long it will take for a month of meds to clear my system. I have barely survived these last weeks, while trying to keep a happy face on to the outside world. I can’t anymore. And I’m angry at being given chemicals that were never appropriate to my condition, and kept on them for a second round when I told my doctor they didn’t work.

And maybe I’m a little angry at myself for being so strongly affected. I just want to be ok again. I have not been ok. Maybe I can be better soon.

But I still can’t sleep.

Posted in Blog Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *