I have a bottle containing five Ativan pills, in case of emergency. There are only five because I am afraid that I might try to overdose if I had a month’s supply. I previously had thirty pills, and I became concerned about the possibility that I would want to overdose in a state of hypomanic depression. I had even gotten to the point where I looked up Ativan overdose to confirm that yes, thirty pills would be a pretty effective overdose. Always the good girl, trying to save my future self, I ended up disposing of them—and then regretting it, more than once, when I later ended up back in a place where I wanted to die.
Today, the bottle contains four pills. I have been trying not to take them—not to need them—since they were prescribed. I haven’t wanted to rely on medication to make me feel better (other than the three medications I take daily that are supposed to help stabilize my moods). I would make excuses like: “My husband is home tonight, so even though I feel miserable and suicidal, I don’t need to take the Ativan.”
One day I mentioned this to my therapist, and she said something eye-opening: “You don’t have to feel bad. You don’t have to be in pain. You deserve to feel better than that.” This made so much sense to me. Not that I would start popping pills every time I felt a little bit sad, but that when it got really, really bad, I could give myself permission to not feel bad. I could allow myself to feel better than how I was feeling.
So today, I took the Ativan.
Now that I took the Ativan, and wrote this post, I don’t feel great, but I feel better. My problems are not solved, but I feel okay. I feel like I can start to do something positive and productive, with the medication as a jumping off point from which I can gain traction to move forward. Because I gave myself permission; I deserve to feel okay. And so do you.
Give yourself permission to do what it takes to make you feel okay, whether that starts with taking a medication, physical activity, a mental distraction or any combination of things. You don’t have to be miserable; you deserve more than that.
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(This post was written on September 26th, 2018)