Please note: I wrote this a while back and my situation has since changed but I thought it was a good record of a particular recovery experience that I had...
Crystal Meth and the Seven Dwarves
This is a celebration of an achievement I am very proud of: an anti-pity party if you will. The achievement being that as of 5pm Monday 2nd May, I have managed to spend the past week on this wretched earth without Crystal Meth – not a puff, wisp or cloud. I toast the following:
“Here's to me without Tina for one week. In fact, f**k off forever Tina, you callous bitch and good riddance to you.”
As I was reflecting, I realised that the emotions I felt on my rollercoaster week without meth and dealing with the cravings oddly felt like having each of the Seven Dwarves from the fairy tale “Snow White” take their turn at the driving wheel of my life.
So how was my first week off methamphetamine, you ask? Let’s ask the dwarves shall we?
At first, I was elated after the crash, I felt chipper, grateful and determined. Most importantly, I was basking in the soberness and was happy to have pushed through the crash-depression. I would go so far as to say I was high on sober life, beaming ear to ear. This was because the feelings were novel. Novel things often provide a sense of euphoria for me because I have anxiety about being bored so I was dancing on air at that time. Happy was not to be at the driving wheel infinitely as you'll soon see...
I did also experienced a short episode of overwhelming happiness one evening towards the end of the week. I was simply giddy with euphoria, dancing around my room to ‘Marina and the Diamonds’ in jean shorts. I had to jump up and down just to burn off the energy that the sudden elation had given me. Then I panicked because I thought perhaps someone had managed to slip me an ecstasy pill (despite not having left my locked flat) or even whether I’d taken one and forgotten. So paranoia took over, but for a brief spell I was insurmountably gleeful, grinning from ear-to-ear with sheer joy.
Grrrrrrr. Roar. Growl. Grumble. Grumpy drove the car for most of the week, more than his fair share, no wonder he's grumpy. I was ill-tempered, cantankerous and tetchy. There were many, many bad moods this week. My tolerance level for annoyances was supremely low, easily irritated by anything and everything. Ridiculous things even, for example:
I swear that bloody YouTube Auto-Play keeps switching onto the Artic Monkeys despite the fact that I distinctly put a Kate Nash playlist on. Stop trying to ‘suggest’ music to me you stupid algorithm – you’re getting it wrong!
Humph. I am pleased that no-one was near me or with me so I don’t have to feel guilty or embarrassed about the tantrums...except for two. The story of the grumpiest of these, I have decided to save for another Dwarf. The second, however, was when my friend Max (yes, I have a friend!) came round to see me – having just come back from visiting Paris (he’s French). Max referred to the posh English guy he's seeing as a W.A,S.P. - not the correct term, he wanted the word 'toff' or similar. He wanted to know why it wasn't correct and I just couldn’t explain myself well at all. I usually pride myself on my articulation or creative way of communicating ideas - but words failed me. I got so exasperated that I spent about an hour huffing and puffing trying to find the words, yelling about how vexing it was to have the explanation on the tip of my tongue but not be able to express it. Max tolerated me very well, then again – he is quite honestly the rudest person I know so it would have been rather hypocritical for him to cause a fuss.
Sleepy and Grumpy are friends, co-drivers perhaps. Sleep potentiates my grumpiness, a yawn is enough to put me in bad mood. This dwarf annoys me so much that I can barely discuss it. I know that damn Dwarf is waiting in the wings to take the wheel of the car, not to drive it but pull into the garage, to turn off the engine and park it.
I know the car needs a rest, it can’t run all the time – it would burn out but this is so dull. We’re stuck in the damn car, in the damn garage, it's hard to describe the bland boredom beyond belief, the tangible, tenacious tedium, the monstrous, melancholic monotony, the lengthy, listless, languorous lolling or the enfeebling, exhausting, everlasting ennui.
One Concerta filled evening, I managed to direct my focus somewhere a little more useful than sorting my paperclips by colour or adjusting the speed of GIFs that I had already made. I decided to finally put together my IKEA side-table. If you knew me, alarm-bells would be sounding already: Alert! Alert! This is a bad idea.
I am completely devoid of any spatial awareness, DIY-skills, coordination/construction ability. Believe me, my dyspraxia is appalling and I am worst at making IKEA furniture. This time was to be no exception.
I didn’t completely break the side-table but it isn't functional, I did make it enough so it acts as an ornamental table. But to relate this back to the dwarf, I spent about four hours struggling with this damn unit and sneezing continuously from the MDF dust, allergies came rushing back, sneezing over and over...Anti-histamines? Checked, drowsy ones only…just my luck. So Sneezy was in full swing for an unpleasant few hours.
I’m not sure where to start with this one. I need to work out a plan for seeing a Doctor but this is a tough one. A lot of the problems I have been having for example:
The French woman who speaks to me just slightly too quietly to hear her properly so I can’t quite translate what she’s saying – but almost. Well, the problem is solved when I realise that stupid soft-spoken French woman doesn't exist. I blame the weird phenomenon on the Tina (Meth) and move on.
The ‘doctor anxiety’, however, is non-meth related; it is engrained in me. I’ve always been anxious of doctors. You could write me an extended thesis on why I need to go and why it’s an irrational phobia and explain everything in a logical, clear and persuasive manner but that won’t help. I know that I should go and I know why I should go but it’s an emotional response and I am one ruled by emotions – it’s the phenomenologist in me.
I'm not sure why I get so anxious at going, it's not that I am intimidated by their knowledge. It's not like doctors are all-knowing. Last time I went to my doctor about the numb, cold, emotionless robotic feeling that Citalopram was giving me and the doctor just increased my dosage, well DUH – the Citalopram was the damn problem. I wish there was a way around this, I know the right medication could work wonders...
Even the memory of this incident, places Bashful instantaneously the driving seat of my carload of emotions. Certainly the most uncomfortable to think about, the cringing feels physically crumpling, I want to reach for the covers, to ‘ostrich’ myself from the world. Ultimately, this is embarrassing but it panned out okay, so here’s the tale:
So one evening, I had had a bit of an incident with taking too much caffeine - very unpleasant. I was awake until mid-afternoon the next day when I decided that damn dwarf Sleepy couldn't be staved off any longer so I decided to try sleep. The problem was, my neighbour had chosen this weekend to knock down one of their walls and had been “bang, bang, banging” for several hours.
I had managed to tune it out for most of the day but when I tried to sleep I couldn’t cope with it. My sanity didn’t just leave the building, but it bought airfare, boarded a plane and jet-set off somewhere long-haul. I went totally psychotic and started ringing an ornamental school bell relentlessly and smashing a metal candlestick repeatedly against the wall (leaving huge dents in my bathroom wall. It wasn’t long till I heard voices outside my flat, I peered out the door to a woman who looked at me with a face of concern.
You see, by this point I was in quite a state. I had been balling with tears, I was shaking uncontrollably and my breathing was unsyncopated and quick. I was repeating over and over things like “please stop, please stop", "you have to stop", "I can’t cope". I soon calmed down enough to stay that I was changing my anti-psychotic medication and that I was very vulnerable right now to stress. They were very kind but said they needed to get this done today. I asked if they could give me an hour of peace and they agreed. I went inside still very shaken. Pulled out my trusty, but emergency-only Zopiclone, took 15mg to be on the safe side and awoke many, many hours later. I awoke to find a gift and a card from my neighbours apologising for not having warned me and for not being able to give me more than an hour’s break. I wrote them a letter in response to thank them for their compassion, kindness and understanding and to apologise for my behaviour and acknowledge how distressing it must have been for them to handle.
I'm quite thoroughly ashamed of myself, but with hindsight – I had almost no control over myself in that situation. I’m lucky to be alive to even be embarrassed – it could have been much worse. Bashful took a firm grip of the wheel following that.
You know that moment where you can’t remember how to spell the word “T-H-E-Y” and so you just keep repeating the first sound over and over again comparing it to all the letters of the alphabet and even then you cannot fathom out what the word starts with. So you try to text someone but you can’t because you can’t spell the word, let alone articulate its meaning.
No, this is not a story about Kylie Jenner; this is how dumb I become on Ketamine. When I am on my way down to the K-hole I could honestly challenge Ms. Jenner to a “Who’s the Dumbest?” competition (she'd still win, let's not get carried away). But I haven’t taken Ketamine this week so I can’t select it as my Dopey moment. Sadly, I have to choose the following:
Sobriety. Being sober makes me Dopey. This week being sober, I have been reminded of what it is like to be human again, little things like:
But rivalling these as the most annoying feature of sobriety: feeling Dopey. Being sober, I experience such deficiencies of intellect, feeling academically-impaired, slow-witted and much more stupider. Dopey takes full control of the wheel in the land of sobriety. To be fair, Dopey is the only one sober enough to be allowed to drive. The rest of the dwarves feel perhaps more like ‘me’ but (just like me in real life), none of them can drive – not yet anyway.
- Sleep: You mean I feel sleepy everyday?! Like seven times in one week!? Seriously?! Well, that’s excessive, no?
- Hunger: Oh, horrid. What a uncomfortable feeling! Growling, churning, aching stomach so you placate it by eating but accidentally eat too much and feel bloated and queasy. Ugh.
- Focus: I’m sorry, can you explain why can’t I stay sat at my computer for 8 hours straight without moving an inch? Oh and why isn’t cleaning as much fun?
For now, I’ll have to let Dopey be in charge. At least it's better than letting Tina get back in the car.