This is what I always was afraid would happen to me if I stayed on psychotropic medications for any length of time, and I was right: I have become utterly dependent on them.
I forgot my AMs again this morning, so of course by three PM I was restless and edgy. I’d called in my refill requests on Monday and the pharmacy didn’t have the Klonopin in; apparently Dr. Awesomesauce hadn’t authorized it, and since I knew tonight was my last dose, I got anxious and asked the pharmacist to fax him again even though I knew he’d be out of the office till Friday.
In the meantime, I was having all these paranoid thoughts: what if he meant to take me off of the Klonopin and just decided not to renew the prescription? He’d re-ordered all the other meds for me, why not that one? What would happen if I came off cold turkey? Would my spare Ativan keep me from getting too wound up? What would I do if he did take me off?
It isn’t that I have any particular obsession with Klonopin. They are not “happy pills” to me, they are merely vital to my existence as a person with bipolar disorder and anxiety, and I fear the rebound symptoms that would occur if I suddenly stopped taking them. I was half-panicking just thinking about not having any till tomorrow night! I usually don’t cut things this close; I know to give the pharmacy two business days to, well, take care of business. But it would have been the same with any of the meds I depend on for my sanity…..I need ALL of them to help me manage my life. And sometimes, I really hate that.
So I wasn’t happy as Will and I drove away from the pharmacy without the Klonopin. Then I remembered that Dr. A doesn’t work that way. He’s not like some doctors I’ve had in the past who would change or discontinue medications without discussing it with me first. Not to mention the fact that we’ve never even really talked about the Klonopin, except to reaffirm my ongoing need for it. I’ve been on anti-anxiety meds for a good portion of my adult life; of course he’s not going to cut me off suddenly, even if it IS a low dose. Besides……he just doesn’t do that.
So I decided to trust the process—and my doctor—and figured if worse came to worst, I’d have Will give me an Ativan at bedtime tomorrow night and then I’d follow up on Friday morning. But as soon as we got home, I couldn’t resist taking a peek online at the patient portal where one can get all their test results and other medical information. And sure enough, it showed that my prescription has been filled after all and is ready for me.
I should never have doubted it for a minute. It’s just that when you depend on some kind of substance to survive—which means depending on somebody in authority to provide it—it’s hard to let go and let God, so to speak. I’m not good at that. Maybe it’s time to learn how.