My Battle With Drugs - Living With Schizophrenia

August 30, 2007

My Battle With Drugs

I didn't start using drugs regularly until I was 25. Before that, I occasionally smoked pot, drank and did acid. I actually tried pot for the first time after I found my father's stash and stole a couple of buds when I was 16. I did drink a little while I was a teenager. Once I got drunk on a babysitting job. I found their liquor, and drank myself into a stupor. They came home to me passed out on the couch and never invited me back to babysit. Big surprise, huh?

I got married to a real winner, after we gave up our daughter for adoption. He pushed LSD on me. So I did LSD with him. I stopped liking it though, and quit. I kept feeling this "darkness" overtaking me every time I did it. It would give me anxiety attacks, too. He really liked to drink, smoke pot and be controlling. He threatened to hit me a couple of times, and pushed me up against the stove once. We got happily divorced in 1995 after separating a year and a day after our daughter's first birthday.

When I started smoking pot regularly, it seemed to be the perfect solution to the depression I had suffered from since I had been a kid. I was volunteering at an illegal coffee house, mixing espressos and lattes and making Belgian waffles. Everyone who worked there smoked marijuana. That was how the owner paid the people who worked there. I got tired of feeling left out and started smoking pot when they all did.

I've never liked manufactured drugs and didn't want any pills for my depression, so I never went and saw anyone about it. I tried a couple of St. John's Wort capsules, but that, of course, didn't help. I didn't know that you have to take it on a regular basis. "Herb" seemed the perfect solution, and at first, it seemed to help me have a good time as well. It seemed to make me happier, but it increased my anxiety to the point where I couldn't handle being around people when I was high.

At first, I'd clean like crazy when I was high. It seemed to help me get more work done. Later, I didn't feel like doing much of anything while I was high. It stopped making me happier, too.

I began to have tactile hallucinations that same year. I thought it was the marijuana. It felt like someone was touching my genitals. At first this was pleasurable but soon became annoying, and then unwelcome. It didn't occur to me to tell a doctor about these hallucinations, first of all, because they were embarrassing, secondly, I didn't know how to tell anyone. The hallucinations happened whether I was high or not. Many explanations for these hallucinations occurred to me, including demons and ghosts. They'd happen regularly.

I kept smoking pot. I thought it was helping me cope. I associated with people who I knew better then to associate with. One of them was a child molester who began stalking me. I'd smoke in front of children, which I never thought was right. I ended up getting pregnant with a convicted rapist's child. He'd been a friend before he was convicted of date rape, and he continued to hang around after he got out of jail.
While pregnant, I moved in with a man I'd met in a bar, as a roommate. He was a gypsy. He didn't seem to care that I was pregnant. He kept pressuring me to take acid. Finally I gave in and took a half a hit. My cat killed his gerbil and he made me get rid of her. Finally he kicked me out for not keeping the house clean enough. Before that, I was driving his minivan while stoned, without a license. I'd pick up my pot smoking buddies and go get stoned.

My best friend stopped hanging out with me, because her drugs were "better" then mine. Hers are legal. She takes perscription painkillers. She's never without them. She's always telling the doctor she has bronchitis, but she never coughs. Her boyfriend and one of her other best friends are regular marijuana smokers. She used to be addicted to speed when she was a teenager.

After the birth of my daughter, the whole world went wacky. I started hearing voices, jumping at shadows and having other tactile, visual and audio hallucinations. I thought it was black magic, the devil, that I was in Hell, and that it could all be blamed on the marijuana. But, still I didn't quit smoking it. I had my daughter for about four months before they took her away from me. It was an extremely stressful situation. When I'd breast feed her, the tactile hallucinations would get worse. It was absolutely intolerable. It felt like rape. I'd get in a rage and shake her while breastfeeding.

I began to believe that vampires were after me, and that all my former friends had turned into vampires. Everything seemed to feed the delusion that I was being stalked by telepathic vampires. It didn't help that her father was stalking me and the child molester was stalking me. I could not handle being around anyone for very long, and even refused to let others into my house.

Finally, I decided that my daughter needed her family. I didn't know which family members to trust, so I started hitchiking in the middle of the night from Washington with the baby. I did not smoke pot during the few days I was on the road. I was heading towards Wisconsin or Minnesota. I got as far as Missoula, MT before I mentioned the vampires and had the cops called on me. They put my daughter in foster care. Convinced I'd never get her back I took a small bottle of sleeping pills. About an hour after that, I went to the hospital. They shoved tubes down my nose. At the time I believed the charcoal they were going to give me was vampire blood and that if I took it willingly, I would turn into a vampire. So I kept running away. Finally they strapped me down and forced me to take the charcoal.

After that, they put me in the hospital, where I was diagnosed with psychosis n.o.s.. They treated me with haldol. When they discharged me, I told them I wanted to go back to Washington. So they sent me back to Washington, and my daughter arrived in Washington a month later.

I picked back up with the marijuana habit when I got back. I continued to take my meds until I adopted out my daughter to the foster family. They would not give my daughter back to me while I was still in denial about my mental illness and still smoking pot. I didn't want to quit smoking pot, and I couldn't accept the fact that I was mentally ill. The foster family offered to adopt her. I told them, finally, that as long as they didn't change her first and middle names, I would adopt her out to them.

I lost my housing, which was conditional on me having a child. I could not deal with the idea of moving, so finally they came to kick me out with the cops and I had to leave all my stuff behind, except what I could carry.

That was the beginning of three years of homelessness. I travelled down to California. I was too paranoid to beg my so called friends to let me stay with them. I smoked pot whenever I could get my hands on it and drank occasionally. I hitchhiked around the country, making sure I went to every one of the continental 48 states. It was a dangerous lifestyle, but it seemed less dangerous then making like a sitting duck sitting in one place. This also enabled me to find more pot, money, and food. I was too paranoid of landlords, etc. to move into a place. I did not feel like, with my mental illness, anyone would let me move in with them.

It all ended when I came back to Wisconsin in 2002. My sobriety date is July 12, 2002, because the day before that date I was arrested for burglary. The night I committed burglary, I had been getting drunk and singing karaoke. I'd been having many conversations with "God" in my head and He "told" me to burn down my dad's house. So I did that after taking a blanket and fishing pole from his garage (burglary). They later charged me with arson.

I spent a year and a half in jail before they let me plead NGI to arson. They sent me to a mental institution where I was committed for twenty years. They gave me ten years probation for the burglary. I'm now out on conditional release. That's where they diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia. I've since come to terms with my mental illness, and my need for medication.

I'm thankful I'm back to a sober lifestyle. I'm even more thankful I've got sober people to hang around with. I learned my lesson about hanging out with and associating with drug addicts. Eventually, they'll drag you down with them, if they aren't in recovery.

And, that's my story.

August 30, 2007

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About This Post

This page contains a single entry by Theresa posted on August 30, 2007 3:30 PM.

Losing my best friends... was the previous post in this blog.

What I did before I got sick is the next post in this blog.

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