Actually, there probably won't be any other stories.
I'm not talking about OTC pain relief. Sometimes I take those--except for ibuprofen, because I'm allergic to it. I'm talking about prescription pain drugs. I try not to take those.
But my current surgeon/doctor has asked me to take Percocet (oxycodone) during the night until my surgery so that I can sleep better. He believes I'll heal faster and be able to manage PTSD more productively if I'm not sleep deprived. I tried to tell him it's difficult for me to become sleep deprived. He said he wouldn't insist, but he wanted me to take the pills at night if I could.
So I have been. For about 10 days now.
Here's what happens when I take oxycodone:
1. It makes me sleepy, but doesn't necessarily make me sleep. It's possible for me to wake myself up and stay awake, even if I seem a little woozy.
2. It doesn't really affect my pain level, but the pain seems inconsequential. It's still there, I just don't care about it.
3. The pills do affect my emotional state. They remove all the built up stress and panic and I feel very relaxed and a great deal of relief. And that's the problem.
Anyone who has experienced problems with chronic stress/panic understands that when those things are gone, however briefly, the feeling of relief is overwhelming. For me, that relaxation of tension in my guts is the best feeling in the world. I want it badly. In fact, I want it so much that when I identify a source of that release, I've been known to do just about anything I can to get my "fix" as often as possible. Physical contact from certain people in my life gives me that relief. With those unfortunate individuals I become a cuddle whore. I have to monitor my actions when I'm with them so they don't feel smothered or aggravated by my need for touch, which in turn causes me so much stress that I find myself wishing they were far away so I could stop wanting to be next to them. Catch-22.
So when I find the source of my "fix" in the form of a pill--something that can't be aggravated or annoyed by my need to ingest it--well, that creates a new problem.
As mentioned above, I've been taking oxycodone for about 10 days. At this point, my entire day is spent waiting for the time when I can take a couple of pills and go to bed. Yup. That's all I want. I don't want to talk to people, or work, or practice the piano, or read--I just want to take a pill.
Once I take the pills, I sleep off the initial drowsiness (about an hour), then I wake myself up and enjoy the sensation of not having a panic attack. I usually do this for 3-4 hours (so much for getting a good night's sleep). When the pills start wearing off, I'll allow myself to sleep for 2-3 hours. Then I get up--because that means it's day and when night comes again, I get to take more "medicine."
It's plenty embarrassing to admit that I have a propensity for addiction. I'm willing to shoulder the embarrassment and be honest about what's happening to me. I told Darrin this morning. I'll probably talk with Therapist before Friday. Oversight is good.
The thought of discontinuing the pain meds makes me weep a little. When you spend most of your life so stressed that it feels normal, to find relief from that is heavenly. But I'm not stupid. While spending the rest of my life popping pain killers actually sounds like a really great idea right now, I know it's not.
Okay. Complete honesty: The thought of going without the oxycodone is completely overwhelming and it has nothing to do with pain management. Probably it's time to stop.
There are times when I really hate the fact that I have PTSD and all it's accompanying delights. It sucks.