Insane /insayn/ adj. 1 not of sound mind; mad. 2 colloq. extremely foolish. insanely (adv.) insanity /-sanitee/ n. (pl.–ties).
–The Oxford American Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus
I’m sorry to say that I cannot sleep because I am weaning myself off a medication called Gabapentin–a generic for Neurontin. Gabapentin is a medication usually given to those suffering from epilepsy (which I do not have, thank you all very much), which was unknown to me until about two months ago. This also explain the tremors I’ve began experiencing while taking the pills religiously. However, they were becoming worse, these tremors, and after doing some research online, found these tiny shakes are one of the many common side effects.
Reading that encouraged me to stop taking the medication entirely. For one, I don’t know if the tremors would’ve caused long term damage to my brain (I’m sure I wouldn’t be an attractive vegetable) and for two, I’m tired of taking medication knowing I don’t believe in doing so (be honest–do we question our doctors about the chemicals combined to make the pills we take?). I’m sure I’ll be alright, but I do know this: my Dr and I WILL have a conversation about all of this.
I know you’re asking why I was placed on an anticonvulsant when I don’t even have epilepsy. Well here’s the answer: suicidal ideations. About a few months ago, I had yet another mental break that resulted in me wanting to commit suicide. I’ve been battling depression months prior to that incident, but I was at the breaking point during and after my trip to Brooklyn (for the whole story, read the entry “Suicide is Not An Option”). As a result of this incident–and many others pertaining to suicide–my psychiatrist at the time placed me on Gabapentin to reduce the self-murder messages. And don’t get me wrong–the medicine worked, but I didn’t ask for the tremors that came with it.
But there is another side to this story I rarely considered: when I was having those suicidal tendencies, I was active in my sexual addiction.
Let me explain.
Before I even knew what sexual addiction was and after, I was acting out in every way, shape and form. As I said in another post, I hunted for partners in every place at which human beings were alive and walking. I felt like some invisible energy controlled my every move, word and thought. When I didn’t achieve a goal of reaching my sex partner quota, I not only became depressed, but wanted to die. I told Aunt Jean once that I wanted to slit my wrists because I didn’t have a boyfriend. I thought about death every time I witnessed a couple walking down the street, holding hands and expressing what I considered true intimacy–something I’ve yet to experience. I am also a recovering alcoholic, so you know I used the rooms to scout for partners–and potential soulmates. I hooked up with a few and chased many. And if I didn’t get what I wanted, I crashed emotionally and basically told myself I was worthless, ugly and had no reason to live.
All my friends–or people who knew me–sensed/saw what was happening and tried to talk reality into me. Intellectually, I knew what the fuck was going on, but emotionally all I cared about was finding that One Person to not only connect with sexually but holistically. No one “understood” me because “they had someone who wanted them.” I was so gone that I was hospitalized for depression in 2004, only to attempt have sex with another patient while I was on the Psych Unit (this area was known as “Floor 10” to everyone at St. John’s Hospital). I literally stopped doing/thinking for myself because I was looking for someone else to live for me. Of course that didn’t happen, but goddamn it did I try to find that Hero. When all else failed, I broke down in tears because I was “screwed up” and Creator hated me. I even asked It to kill me because depression and loneliness plagued my entire existence. I lost all hope of being a wife and mother at that point.
That episode occurred in 2006.
The Sex Addicts Anonymous “Green Books” (2008) states that ” Our insanity manifested in many ways. We would often put our addiction first and everything else second. We may have placed ourselves in dangerous situations or taken terrible risks. And the more we denied our addiction and its consequences, the less we were in touch with reality. To be restored to sanity is to rediscover the spiritual nature we have always had but which was hidden by the insanity of our disease” (pg. 26). Readers, it dawned on me that I was insane not because I am crazy, but because I was untreated. I suffered chronic depression because I was out of touch with reality. I was looking for someone to make me whole and got pain, humiliation and misery in return. I called myself trying to find love through sex and–when the person moved on to someone with whom they experience profound intimacy–I either took as a slap in the fucking face while raging or took a pair of scissors to my arm bawling my eyes out. Wherever the pendulum swung, I was guaranteed a self-created version of Hell.
I never looked at my mental illness in this way until I started attending SAA meetings. I now reexamine my depression, asking myself whether or not I sincerely harbored a chemical imbalance. I’m not saying that everyone who reads this should stop taking their medication effective immediately. Mental illness is real and should not be played with, so if you have a severe chemical imbalance, speak with you Doctor first. PLEASE! But I’m only speaking for myself when I say that I question my own reality. For years, I poisoned my body with medication that caused me harm due to horrible and painful side effects when all this time I was just an untreated sex addict. So, whenever I feel myself going down that road of Depression and Suicide, I now take the following steps:
- I ask myself what is going on
- Identify the reason behind my reaction
- See the issue for what it is–me not accepting something
- Pray and/or meditate
- Talk to someone who knows me and my addiction
By taking those steps, I find that I’m not so quick to either beat myself down or be jealous of someone else. And yes, I do get teary eyed still when I witness true love, but only because I long to have that for myself. I also hope to experience that kind of love towards myself as I continue to work the SAA program. However, I know better than to react and snap and see that I don’t need to poison my body with pills or punish myself with behaviors that would only trigger depression.
In other words, I don’t have to be insane anymore.
International Service Organization of SAA (2008). Sex Addicts Anonymous. Houston, TX: International Service Organization of SAA, Inc.
Jewell, E. J. et al. (2002). The Oxford American Deck Dictionary and Thesaurus (2nd Ed). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.