Everyone has experienced a forgettable day – a time you’d rather forget than remember. Yet sometimes what we first perceive as a forgettable day is actually an incredible gateway into an unforgettable life. For the millions with mental illness, the forgettable days can become overwhelming.
Prairie View is sharing personal stories of real people and their forgettable days at www.PrairieView.org. Please take the time to follow our “Forgettable Days” series and learn more about how mental illness and addiction affect real lives.
My forgettable day was when I almost lost my job…
I was a health care professional with a bright career. I had a beautiful young family, a strong and supportive extended family, and was a respected young professional in my community. A back injury while playing recreational softball sent me to my long-time family doctor.
I was prescribed an opioid medication to help manage pain. I was very familiar with opioids, but my injury was causing problems throughout my daily routine. Over time, I felt the pain worsening, despite taking my medication as directed. The doctor adjusted the dosage and I began a downward spiral toward drug addiction.
We know that bodies develop a tolerance for opioid medications. As a person takes more of the drug to manage his or her pain, the individual actually becomes more and more resistant to the positive results he or she may have initially experienced. Couple the increased sensation of pain with withdrawal symptoms, and a person can have difficulty functioning without the opioid.
Because of my high-level medical clearance, I was able to supplement my addiction by stealing narcotics from work. When my family doctor retired, a new doctor recognized that I had developed an addiction. He reduced my prescription access, so I stole more from work. I became increasingly irritable and disengaged from family. Eventually, my employer found out I was stealing.
I reached out to Prairie View for addiction treatment and began seeing an outpatient therapist, but I still felt I had everything under control. My therapist recommended inpatient treatment. I resisted until my boss got involved. At that moment, I realized how lost I was and agreed to inpatient treatment.
I completed my program at the Addictions Treatment Center at Prairie View, and I continue to see a Prairie View therapist to help maintain recovery. The mindfulness and non-pharmaceutical pain management tools I gained at Prairie View have helped me cope with my chronic pain. In addition to my Prairie View treatment team, I was fortunate to have a strong support system, including my employer, who have surrounded me with hope for a bright future.
Addictions do not discriminate. Addictions cut across socio-economic divides, education levels, race, faith and profession. No one is immune to the risk or to needing help. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, Prairie View can help. Learn more about the Addictions Treatment Center at Prairie View by calling 800-992-6292 or visiting our website at www.AddictionsatPrairieView.org