Usual trigger warning – May trigger (due to overdose references) but may also inspire and give hope
Back in October I wrote about how I was one year overdose free. That I had overdosed nine times in 2011, but had made it one year without overdosing once.
I also wrote about how the majority of these overdoses were not suicide attempts, but were acts of self harm.
Well, I am pleased to say that I have continued to avoid this method of self harm, and I am now 16 months overdose free.
I’m pleased to be able to say that, but what I’m really here to say means like a much bigger milestone.
For the first time in over two years, I have been given one month’s medication.
Now to those not too familiar with such matters – and this will probably not come as any surprise to you – but if you are someone who overdoses the medical professionals will generally restrict the amount of medication you are given.
When I first started overdosing I was put on weekly dispense medication. With time when I became more unwell I was on daily dispense for a while. With time I was back on weekly dispense, then fortnightly. And I’ve been on fortnightly dispense for, oh I dunno, at least a year now.
Daily dispense was awful, the biggest nuisance ever, and I felt so embarrassed, well in the beginning at least. I did sometimes wonder about the effectiveness of putting someone on daily dispense – after all, it’s not like I couldn’t buy other medication over the counter in a supermarket – other medications that could potentially be more dangerous than a week’s supply of anti depressants. But I do recognise that it is likely a case of risk management on the part of the professionals, and I can see the logic behind it too.
Now, you might think – well if I’d been on fortnightly dispense, what difference does it really make if I’d to collect my medication once a month or once a fortnight. In a way I think the same, but then again I am terrible at managing my medication, so the easier it can be for me to manage it the better.
As a basic example, I had been getting a four weekly prescription, with ‘fortnightly dispense’ marked on it for the pharmacy. So they would give me two week’s worth of medication, and I would go back in a fortnight for the next two week’s worth. And when that two weeks was up I would order some more. But while that does seem fairly straightforward, I was terrible at remembering ‘yes, I am out of medication, but do I have some due for collection at the pharmacy, or do I have to order a new prescription from the GP?’
Oh there are systems, of course, that would help me keep track of it – but for me, the easier it can be the better.
I think I remember asking quite a while back to be put back on monthly dispense, but was told to wait a while and see. Well, I asked my GP on Monday and the best thing was not that she did it – the best thing for me was that she seemed to do it without any hesitation. I honestly felt so proud. I felt like ‘I am not that person any more.’ ‘I can be trusted with a month’s supply of medication’. I have come so far’.
It is not that I have the medication that feels so great – it is the feeling that I am trusted, and that I have achieved something.
I know I don’t even see myself as an overdose risk anymore. Oh don’t get me wrong, the strong urge to escape through overdosing is present far more often than is ideal – but I get through those urges, each and every time.
And if anything it is the fact that I can say ‘I haven’t overdosed in 16 months’ that is the biggest incentive of all. I want to be able ot say ‘I haven’t overdosed in two years… three years… and so on’.’
So if you are like I was and are seen as a risk – if you get frustrated with not being trusted – hang in there. With one day at a time, days turn into weeks which turn into months, and you can show yourself and everyone else that you can do it.
And if you slip up? That’s ok. More than ok. You are human and it will happen. But you pick yourself up and start again. If I can do it, I know that you can too