Last night, I needed to rouse myself from my sleep-like life so I could get together with a friend from out of town. I wanted the energy to have a long conversation where I was an equal participant and I didn't want the evening to end early, so I decided to open up a capsule of dexedrine and take a few granules. I probably take prescription speed four times a year. and I don't even take a full dose. It gives me physical and mental energy and lifts my mood, but within hours, the orange pills wreak havoc with my system.
We had a good night out with lots of animated talk and a lovely Thai dinner. I felt a bit wired, but focused and clear. I was able to walk in the cool night air at the harbour. By 9:00, my teeth and neck were starting to ache. I was home by 10:30 and by that time my chest had tightened up and my energy turned to a buzzing irritant in my brain and body. I took a sleeping pill at midnight and it was powerless against the rising electricity coursing through me. I didn't sleep at all last night. I tired to relax my mind, but it was spinning with hundreds of stray thoughts and ideas. My muscles felt like their were going to peal away from my joints. Such a long night.
Today, I am wrung out and in immense pain. I'm dehydrated, my eyes burn, my head aches, my neck feels like it's strung with steel cables, I can barely think. I'd give anything to be unconscious right now. But I'm not throwing away that bottle of pills. That might seem hard to fathom. A simple evening out, at what cost? This is the thing with chronic pain: you push hard sometimes to get something small, but important, and something you miss, and you pay for it dearly. I'll admit: it's an odd way to live. I don't think I've quite wrapped my brain around it.
[The historical illustration I used in this piece is from The Book of Life: The Spiritual and Physical Constitution of Man (1912) by Dr. Alesha Sivartha]