During the apogee of my post-trauma remembering’s, my bi-annual clinician launched me on a powerful and dulling rhythm of anti-seizure medications. I would like to note that this is not an uncommon treatment for anyone who may experience a multitude of intense manifestations similar to those that were punching through the floodgates of my nervous system at that time. This was at the peak of my post-traumatic nightmares an aphotic period of time which I mostly documented as intrusive and harsh. I had been experiencing progressively persistent sensory attacks, flashbacks or “mares.” Vivid memory recalls in both my hours of wake and slumber. Seemingly without warning proving disruptive in all aspects of my life. Graphic sensations would own me leaving me pummeled, ripped, restrained, and ravaged in ways not fit for print in romance novels or tabloids.
Circumstances and obligations that were once perceived as routine began to feel like extraordinary feats to be reached. Consistent employment, morning walks down familiar avenues, as well as afternoons strolls through favored parks had become insurmountable projects according to the reprogramed logic of my body and mind. So too where rides on public transit, visits to the local supermarket, communication with strangers and dating which remained in a cubby of incomprehensible for years to come. These experiences were not always impossible with attentive preparations, extreme meditation and awkward bouts of hyper-con awareness.
Numerous were the days in which I slipped into slow contemplative states of humiliation after “sensed” disturbances. I often felt awkward, pounced upon, and self-conscious. Recurrently mornings began with feelings of circumspection, fear sometimes grappling with terror. As evenings somber shades would near, a wrecked ego’s critical self-review of both real and assumed behaviors would leave me in a state of abashment. Often inducing an organic calmative – a torpor of escape would then set me to rest at times for days on end.
I took solace knowing that my protective higher self had been preparing me to lastly face much of my previously concealed traumatic retrospections. Only a few up until this time had seeped out slowly. The most powerfully impactful had remained safely locked in a vault for safekeeping until I was ready to process them. As more began to release, I thought I may be, at last, ready for an assuagement of all that had haunted me to begin. I was set for anything offered in aiding me in a process of additional curing. Including a PTSD tablet regimen, one used on Veterans emotionally fractured by war. After a slow dose build layered over an easement of weeks, I began to notice a mitering of symptoms. Quietly “Believed” violent attacks from my bed sheets to streets had begun to decrease, in ways that were increasingly numbing to my flesh and head evoking a subconscious state of peace. Inching forward I prepared myself for the next level of living, loving and healing.
I knew that there would be more work to be done with hallucinations of blood streaming down both my legs still taking place. As to where sporadic gasps for air bursting forth from lungs at attackers who no longer existed in my immediate physical world. (an old story to old readers) Simultaneously, I was experiencing the dawning of the age of Topiramate, this would be the expansion of my emotional oxygen tent. To provide a bit of understanding this medication had been created to slow the inner warfare of trauma patients from reaching their conscious core. In other words a flashback blocker, a dream stopper. With hope I could now clot the blood from flowing down, ease my gasps while softening thoughts just enough to rejuvenate maybe even replenish my future vision plan. Only later would I stop to ask myself how much would this privilege cost and how long would I have to pay?
For those who may be kind enough to have read thus far. Or working through scenarios such as trauma loss or an acute life adjustment. Medication and therapy are tremendous tools when appropriately accessed and monitored. Please do not take any of the following statements as a deterrent from professional care. Many of my writings are based on and about my own life’s experiences a series of micro-blip-autobigroies. As always extract what resonates and allow whats left to rest. I personally have found that a healthful dose of self-awareness married with a regime of meditation, writing, soul flexing and seeking has brought about my greatest sense of fulfillment and wellbeing. I am not here to debate philosophies or medical science each person is unique and capable of making their own decisions on personal wellness. I believe that whatever tools may work for an individual is all that matters. Tools are tools, knowledge is knowledge and intuition is intuition. Go for what is good for you, elevate yourself live free of judgment and do it fearlessly.
I think I will always question why the “inner” work that a person may choose to do. Is often the last to be emphasized or rarely discussed on many paths of recovery by a variety of professionals. For myself, these where the goods that transported my mind, body, and spirit on a continuum of sustainable sanity, wellness, agility, hope, and growth. My adventures to the land of mend had primarily been supported from within as I moved onward towards recovery prompting a total reboot.
Oftentimes I arrive at a deeper understanding of our global society through an affable process of self-examination. Looking at relevant excerpts of my own self-history as needed or desired. As the birth of 2019 neared, I began a new elicitation of self-awakenings. I choose to spend my time wisely reigniting my personal pursuit for individual truth while evolving my broader perception of humankind. By opening my eyes, ears, and vibration to the faces, spaces, and happenings both around and within me. Through these actions, I was able to delve deep into the compassionate pockets of my overcoat of empathy. Arriving at a kinder place of social, psychological, and spiritual dexterity.
This is when my appetite to launch an investigative plunge had begun to stir. I started to question precisely what this tiny compound had been doing for me and how it had impacted my daily life. Shortly thereafter an innocent mishap materialized at my pharmacy, an ordinary delay with an ordinary order began to stretch. This was my prompting to dive deeper into my initial reactionary phase of feelings.
I began to ask myself a series of the why’s and whats. Why had I been “crashing out” so easily each day? Why would I lose my thoughts so swiftly? What had happened to the me that once used to be? Shouldn’t I be back to who I really am by now? I even questioned my unusual hair loss “Why is my hair thinning with a family history on either side of guerrilla heads!?!” Gradually I ceased absorbing all of the blame for my questions as I had been doing. Blame taking is often the case for the overly responsible survivors of trauma and rape. As the “it was my fault” mentality lingers in one’s vibration for some time post-trauma even without knowing. Then it hit me- could the answers to these whys and whats lie within this substance they call Topiramate?
I initiated a research project with fractured determination. As I had already begun my self authorized partial un-medicating rooted in trust and intuition. This modification had left me shaky at first mind you a detox like any detox has a price to pay. My first days up to two weeks cost me a manageable toll. At times severe edginess, nervousness, paranoia, swings of moods appetite and rest. I was a bit of a mess, but my test turned out to be well worth the jumble and lack of rest. *please note that I performed this process with the assistance of a friend.
I decided to dig deep with my investigation deeper than my usual Google scratch, sniff, and scroll. I immersed myself in American and British medical journals along with random related articles. What I had been looking for were facts, not faceless internet reviews. I experienced disheartenment to uncover little data to support the effectiveness of this medication in regards to trauma patients. I stumbled upon numerous articles by independent professionals stating strikingly similar tones of view. There had been little evidence to back this medication, for my needs and this actually felt right, I was ok with this. What poked my intrigue, was passing past quotes that read “do not prescribe to patients who are interested in maintaining an engaged lifestyle.” These read like neon signs to me, bold and blaring felt and hot. Followed by repeat recommendations to bypass informing patients of the side effects of dullness and no longer being interested in life. I sensed I was onto something meaningful at this stage of discovery.
I was relieved to uncover a few key answers to why I had been feeling defeated with my extended internal living experiences. And why I had been feeling helplessly fastened in place for longer than what seemed logical or even valid. Perhaps some readers may be able to identify. You see I had been determinedly pro-active in my attempts to return to living a gainfull life something that was becoming increasingly unattainable. An investigation into the cause of my frustrations unmasked a few answers to my questions, through a mishap with deliberate conviction found what I had been seeking.
One of the reasons I never received an explanation of what this alleviant is proposed to do to one’s brain. Is because professionals are instructed not to do so by big pharma. Why? because it would be a deterrent for patients taking this medication. I know that this is an understandable situation. Many patients may reject many healthful drugs out of fear of side effects and not benefit from the positive effects. The bottom line is, all patients have a right to know ALL the facts and statistics about ALL medications.
What I most felt upset about was that for the past few years, I have communicated clearly with three of the separate prescribing physicians. I let them know that I had cut one of my other medications down to less than half of its original prescribed dosage. Only later through my own research had I found out that this medication to which I am focused on here was/is to be also prescribed proportionately to the other. I have always been honest about my medication regimens, diet, etc., I have discussed my dosage dismantling, yet not one prescribing doctor had either cared about this mathematical difference or caught it. However, it is something I believe any reader here would have noticed with a bit of rudimentary research.
The whack of it all is, I have been taking a highly disproportionate amount of this mind-numbing, body dumbing medication for at two to three years. 100% not my choice and not with my direct knowledge through discussion. I’ve been zapped of enthusiasm and faking my way through most of my days to remain engaged in life. It seems that I have been finished with the main stage production of my trip to trauma town for some time now. Yet numbed as if it were still a Saturday night production.
My greatest irritation over these vanishing seasons me has been an absence of zest. Waking each day living with disinterest as my physical consistency waivered. As my mind vacillated in clouds of mental fatigue. I would fumble with forgetfulness creating a doubtful existence questioning who I had become. Losing momentum or “crashing out” quickly on most days convincing myself as I fizzled by 10 or 11 in the morning that I had simply become lazy and no longer vital. Then I would rise again come mid-afternoon, only to lose it again around 2 or 3. It was a liken to a predictable lackluster mood swing in which frustration was the culprit placing me onto the edge of snap. Naps ate up days like summer ants on snacks. At this stage of my age, I knew well the difference between depression, slumber, and unexplained sleep. But when you are exhausted and in it, you just can’t think.
Only recently had I noticed the correlation tween my dosing schedule and circulating crashes. My memory loss frustration was crushing my confidence and I reached a conclusion that I could no longer envision myself holding another “normal” job. I was beginning to wonder, how much of my memory loss was due to trauma, addiction due to trauma or my malaise caused by Topiramate which was killing my momentum? My new trauma seemed to be anti trauma therapy far after my trauma memories and reactions had left me.
My gut had been nagging at me, telling me that all of the above may be related to this medication. But as many of us know we trust our doctors or don’t want to be a bother. After all, we are only the patient, we don’t have a degree, we only know how we feel. I had intuitively been pulling myself of other medications for outdated diagnosis that I knew no longer defined me. I had been correct and successful in doing so. Now I wondered, what if I was correct about my current definition of self by another? I felt that this was the time for me to take self-action and ownership of who I wished to be from this moment on. I no longer was a victim of trauma, gang rape, or addiction. I was now the survivor of a medication that was depleting my world of life.
Please hear me loud and clear, I am not an advocate (sort of) for self un-medicating or self-medicating unless you are a highly self-aware person an honest person with yourself and others, void of delusion and have assistance. Please Note I Am Obviously Not A Doctor.
Shortly after splitting my dose in half my energy began to elevate and balance roughly to what it once had been and continues to do so. My sense of self-worth has dramatically increased in part to the following. I am enjoying an ample supply of returned memories, a joy of daily activities, proper use of language, an appreciation of life, general vibrancy, renewed interest, and finally a return of glorious concentration. Simple pleasures spark my light remaining awake throughout my days, and reading books with comprehension again feels like a miracle. My life vision is returning and I say returning because I feel it is an ongoing process.
The most exciting part of my controlled experiment is a return of dreams. I have not had any dreams in a very long time. This drug was designed to squash dreams, bad dreams (a good thing for severe trauma). I have finally begun to dream again consistently, intuitively, deeply and creatively. I have dreams like I use to and none of them are the nightmares that I once had. Some are technicolor fantasies and some are dumb as can be.
Again I am aware that this drug has and continues to serve its purpose and for this I am appreciative. Yet I wonder when did the purpose to my prescribed alleviation come to an end. What would the reason be so why not one trained professional had spoken to me about the maintenance of medication or how my neuropathways where being rerouted, trained, spark and manipulated. Why would highlighting weight loss on this tablet be the of the utmost important factor to over explain to this patient? Why is weight loss the primary point the pharmaceutical companies encouraged prescribing doctors to sell to patients when it comes to trauma? Obviously, it sells the drug “everyone would like to lose weight.”
I wonder how many days of opportunities I had missed, how many inspirational moments I slept through. I began to wonder what my clearly vibrant subconscious self had been trying to communicate. And what other people may be going through and what better options there are for the future. Again I think medications are powerfully wonderful tools, but there must be communication. We live in a world filled with options, they should all be available and many of them are right in front of us, even within us. Medication is only one option of deliverance.
We live in a very big little world, I profoundly believe in the human experience and the strength each individual holds. I believe that one of the greatest superpowers that any given individual holds is the power of choice. The power to look within, the power to question, the power to feel, the power to be still and look within. The power to ask questions, the power to trust and the power to help another human being as we explore, process and grow on our own paths in life. I believe we all know what it is that is best for us deep down inside, I have learned for myself time and time again. Everything and everyone else is only here to support us in our choices on our journeys. But it all comes down to honesty with ourselves first.
Love and Light Always
The Empowered Runt
(Paintings by Jordan Sokol