Chapter X: Drugs-Part III of IV
My brain hyper-vigilantly made lists of everything that was to be accomplished in my remaining time in high school.
Top of that list was the most important thing-
Hold. It. Together.
My body hurt so much with each step I took, regardless of whether it be one up stairs or walking across a flat surface. Skin broken across my body by pubescent driven cysts. Knees and legs that simply wouldn’t stop growing despite injury. I felt like I was bursting at the seems, and that was simply my body.
Within the walls of my skull another set of problems existed.
YOU MUST KEEPING MOVING.
YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH IT ALL.
KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN, KEEP MOVING AND IT WILL ALL BE OK!”
My internal dialog raging in mania nearly at all times, a situation I now understand directly relates to my introduction to and consumption of stimulants for my alleged ‘ADHD’ at such a young age, kept me moving.
“Rue…. You finally have what you wanted and no one can tell how bad it really is.”
I did my damnedest to convince myself that everything was ok but it wasn’t.
Throwing Accutane and Oxycontin into the mix only exacerbated the situation dramatically.
Of course, we all know that mania often doesn’t come alone, and each day as I my responsibilities were met and I was allowed to retreat into my crab shell the pendulum swung back.
“There is no purpose to any of this. No one really knows who you are. No one knows how much you are hurting. You don’t even know who you are.”
These were words that hung so heavy in my mind for so many years.
But what was I to do?
Go to my mother, tell her I was dying inside? Tell her that I was abusing pills?
I couldn’t. The consequences would be so severe.
But I had to just try.
So one afternoon I dipped my toes into the waters to see if I could tell her.
Having endured a particularly difficult day at school, I arrived home to find her only slightly buzzed, but deeply moved by a story on television of a woman surviving postpartum depression.
Was the cosmos providing me with a coupon? Was this the opening of the door
to discussing the depression question?
Without even having a moment to compose what I was going to say, she opened her mouth…
“I had postpartum depression after you were born. I was so weak to have felt those things. So yella spined. Depression is who weeds out the weak. It’s a good thing.”
She turned back to the television and I felt as thought a door that had just been opened before me had slammed in my face. I could hear the evil of her own mother bleeding through in her words. Cutting me down the same way she’d be struck down when displaying any signs of weakness in her own childhood.
Message received loud of clear. These things I was feeling were weakness, of no value and should be moved on from as quickly as possible. However, I was a child.
A clearly neurologically compromised child, desperate for healthy attention, symbiotic relationships, and I had not developed appropriate coping mechanisms, leading me to compartmentalize these feelings entirely. A task that in the beginning of my downfall with opioids seemed it could not be accomplished. In time though, as my emotional survival hinged upon it, I became a master of avoidance.
I am alone I thought to myself. No one is coming to save me.
Well, fuck it. Steer into the skid since the only way out is through. Perhaps I’ll figure out how to save myself.
-half of max dose of Accutane, six tabs of Oxy, energy drink
- fast food breakfast
-lunch- menthol in parking lot, three more tabs of Oxy, another energy drink
-after school, three more tabs of Oxy, energy drink, hot dogs
-mascoting/yearbook photography/extra curriculars
-other half of max Accutane dose, six more tabs, menthol in backyard, sneak shots of vodka in the laundry room, pass out.
Anyone with any experience with addiction realizes reading this that I was careening towards a complete fucking breakdown. But it didn’t matter. I only descended farther into the chaos. In the chaos there was no pain.
When my tolerance went beyond the pills I had at my disposal I stole my fathers. When the pills were no longer enough, I did my best to get my hands on veterinary grade opioids. Once that failed and the money had begun to run out I had no choice and heroin itself became my escape.
That chaos that I was spiraling downward in was in truth absolutely beautiful. For those who have never consumed opioids let me give you a moment of insight.
Imagine in your mind a parking lot filled to the brim, and each car represents an aspect of your very existence. Now, imagine the alarms begin going off, just a few at first and then….all of them.
“ERRRR ERRRR ERRRR ERRR ERRRR”
-Those feelings from that time you got yelled at for losing a soccer game when you were six and didn’t give a fuck to begin with-
“ERRRRR ERRRRR ERRRR ERRR ERRRR”
-Profound feelings of abandonment surrounding the lack of prescence from your Dad in your childhood-
“ERRR ERRRRR ERRRRR ERRRR ERRR ERRR”
-The notion that you won’t always be able to hold it all together like this and you need to face the fact you’re an addict and can’t control everything!_
“ERRRRRRR ERRRRRR ERRRRR ERRRR ERRR!!!!”
It is too much. You cannot handle all of it transpiring at once. They are all going off, there is trouble everywhere, everything within your mind is falling apart, what do you fix first?
Can you even fix it all?
Of course you can’t.
What do you do when you can fix it all, you can’t stop the noise, you can’t stop the pain?
You find solace in the void.
All hit different. The pills hit lightest, the ketamine holding court representing the goldie locks zone, but heroin itself, the best high.
Never able to hold myself in the void space for long, it was a destination I longed for daily. In the void created by the high of the opioids the alarms were silenced. There were no yella spines. There was no cowardice. There was only emptiness.
Air lifted by the high into this space at light speed, I was safe from my life.
Emptiness for many seems like the exact opposite thing you’d want to experience, but to me, it was the only thing I craved.
Half way through my senior year of high school, it was clear I wasn’t going to become all that my parents wanted of me.
I tested very poorly on entrance exams, truly gave no fucks about mathematics, science or anything functional that might yield me future financial independence. Law school was simply not going to happen, and to my parents this was the greatest disappointment that could have encountered. They sunk thousands of dollars into tutoring in a desperate attempt to get my entrance exam scores higher, all in a futile effort as my brain was fried.
I didn’t care. All I wanted was to be high so life didn’t hurt anymore.
My parent’s weren’t going to do anything to try to understand me, support me, or help me live a life I wanted. They were, in my warped teen-aged, drugged up and abused mind functionally speaking, my enemies.
The behaviors began. I became more brazen with my mother, no longer having the fucks left to give when it came to being afraid of her.
Nah, my fear of her faded quickly as I became more consumed by the drugs and fell deeper into a pattern of dangerous and impulsive behavior.
If she threatened me with physical violence, I matched her energy. We were at that time of the same stature and I knew that I wasn’t going to survive much longer anyway.
Who cared if she shot me in the night?
No one was coming to save me, and I wasn’t strong enough to save myself.
At least then I wouldn’t have to survive by hiding in the void.
If I died I wouldn’t have to keep up appearances, pretend life is ok, become a lawyer, win all the awards, do all the things, gain all the accolades. All that bullshit.
If I was dead, I could finally be free.
Several times during that final year of high school the cops were called to the house to break up fights between us. Our violence was escalating dramatically.
Dad made a point to be gone from the house as much as possible, ensuring there was no buffering our black out rage.
We were going to kill each other.
There were simply too many alpha’s in the situation for all of us to make it out alive and unscathed.
Holiday break had arrived in my senior year and on the final day of classes I was pulled aside by an educator who’d been able to see through my facade and knew I was in dire straits.
“You’re not in trouble in the means you believe you are. But I know you’re in trouble. What can be done to help you?”
I scoffed. Like you fucking care I thought. How dare you try to help me. No one can help me. I puffed my chest up like the little rebellious, emotionally unstable shit I was and responded,
“I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but don’t bother.”
They were not backing down.
“If you’re being abused, there are measures that can be taken to ensure your safety and security.”
What the fuck was I supposed to say, ‘yeah mom tried to beat the shit out of me the other day while she was drunk because I interrupted her TV show, but when she swung at me the third time I defended myself and grabbed her wrist so she couldn’t keep hitting me. Also, by the way I’m doing heroin in the bathrooms of the C building because I want to die and my legs haven’t stopped hurting in three years’
Fuck nah, steer into the skid. No one is coming to save you.
Able to see I was not going to back down from my own stance, firm and forceful words were spoken.
“Fine, dig your own grave. Understand, you’ve done a lot in your high school career and the fact that you’re willing to throw it all away for your pride is sad. If you’re caught consuming any illegal substances while on school grounds you will face disciplinary consequences and as you are almost legally an adult the local police will be notified. Take Christmas break and figure things out.”
I was shook.
My facade was not as full proof as I believed it to be.
Who else knew? Could the whole world see? Did the world know I was this sad little child desperately seeking love, approval and peace? Did the world know I was falling apart?
Fuck. Those damn establishment assholes in charge knew I was a druggie.
The economy was collapsing at this point, my family having made poor investment decisions, my source of liquidity that kept me high was running bare.
Coincidentally, with the little bit I had saved, had stolen and what drugs I had stashed, I had just enough to make it through the holiday break high.
Rebellious as ever though, the words of the educator that had been attempting to help me hung heavy in my head.
“Fine, dig your own grave.”
I did not make it this far to die at my own hand. If I’m gonna die, it’s going to be in a blaze of glory. Not in a puddle of my own vomit choking to death. No. I’m going to get out of this.
I dug myself this grave, time to dig myself out it.
Day one, twitches, itches, shits and chills. Unpleasant, but manageable.
On day two my skin yellowed and the migraines set in. I couldn’t see or sit up straight.
Day three, the pain was insurmountable. It felt as if my kidneys were failing. My urine was darker than it’d ever been. I began to think this was really it, I was not going to survive digging myself out of this hole.
Fuck what have I done.
Day four, I awoke early and stumbled into my own bathroom. After I finished peeing, I stared into my reflection for quite some time.
“Who am I?”
“Why am I here?”
“Why is this happening again?"
I’d lost so much of myself to the violence of my childhood, the self centeredness of my rebellion, and the void of my addiction. I’d steered too far into the skid and begun to embrace the darkest parts of me.
Having completely forgotten the feelings surrounding the pivotal shift of my consciousness awakening I found myself gazing into my own eyes.
“Is this who I really want to be?”
“Of course not” a piece of my inner dialogue told me.
A piece of me that I hadn’t heard from in a long time. It was hope.
This wasn’t how I was going to go out, like some drug statistic, abused child statistic, no. Fuck. That.
January 3rd, 2008. The day that hope filled the void.
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