I think I've reached the nadir of my adult life. While my stay in the loony bin a few months ago did help me feel better about myself, the effect has worn off in a big way.
I'm pretty sure that all the drug abuse I've perpetrated over the past ten years or so as had an extremely deleterious effect on my mind and my ability to do much of anything. Memories float up now and then but are instantly lost in the ruins of my brain. This all started, as these things do, in 1994; at age seventeen, I had my first experience with LSD. Subsequent experiences (somewhere between 20 and 50; I didn't keep track) really had an adverse effect on my cognitive functions. I took my last hit of acid in 1996, and for a while I didn't try any other illicit drugs. However, when I first started seeing a psychiatrist, the real descent into drug abuse started.
In 2002 I was given Ambien for the first time, gradually building up a huge tolerance for it so that it doesn't really work anymore except in really high doses. I'd spent the next four years addicted to it. Of course I didn't tell my psychiatrist that I was addicted for fear of not getting future prescriptions. I did this as I moved from houses to apartments to states, I had to find new doctors, and I never told them I'd had an addiction problem with the stuff before, so I got my drug of choice monthly, usually 30 pills for a month. I'd fill the prescription on, for instance, a Friday. Those 30 pills would be gone by Monday. This went on for a long time. I just couldn't help myself, because once you take Ambien but don't go immediately to bed, you get into a kind of quasi-acid trip for a few hours and during that time, it seems like the best idea in the world to take more and more, which is why my 30 pills never lasted very long. You're supposed to take one a day, immediately before bed, and I was taking in excess of ten every day I had it each month. After I got out of the psych ward, I was prescribed Ambien again, which by then I hadn't used since weaning myself off of it mid-2006. My will was broken from 2002 to 2006. This is why I kept asking for and receiving prescriptions for Ambien, knowing what I was going to do with them. I loved the feeling of losing control when the side effects took over (or rather, allowed them to run free regardless of the consequences), though it has gotten me in trouble on several occasions, including driving under its influence once in a while, which caused a minor traffic accident on one occasion.
The worst, though, was yet to come. My current doctor prescribed me 60 doses per month, and from the get-go I was a Gollum-type creature (See The Lord of the Rings if you don't get the reference) with his split personality; there was the servile, pathetic Sméagol on one side, to act sane in the presence of doctors, and then once I got home with the prescription bottle, I'd turn into his sinister alter ego and begin devouring the pills at an alarming rate. This all came to a head last week: two days after getting my Ambien for this month, I took two each night as prescribed. On the third day, as I was told later, I took the remaining 56 10mg pills (this was not a suicide attempt; it was simply the logical extreme to which the "take more!" impulse goes) in the space of an hour or so. After that, I was totally insane. I have no memory of that day after taking the Ambien and waking up in bed the following day (late enough that it caused me to miss my therapy appointment), but I heard secondhand that I'd walked downstairs, clad only in a black thong, and began looking for scorpions in the pantry, randomly opening (or tearing open) various boxes or bags of food there, fell down a lot, spilled various liquids, and said a lot of extremely weird and nonsensical things before being helped up the stairs into my room, where I finally fell asleep. I woke the following morning with a large portion of the preceding 16 hours or so missing from my memory (one of the side effects is anterograde amnesia). After that, I decided that I should probably never take Ambien again. The risk is too great, despite the fact that it's the only sedative I've tried that actually works consistently as intended. I was really lucky that someone else was in the house at the time because otherwise I probably would have wanted to drive somewhere. Last time this happened, on a much lower dose of the extended release formula, I crashed into a curbside mailbox, destroying it and having to pay $450 to replace it. I have no memory of that happening, either. Terrible stuff.
Also in 2002, I first encountered benzodiazepines, which were prescribed for me to treat panic attacks and anxiety in general. After a while I started abusing them, too. This went on into earlier this year. I'd take a few Xanax or Klonopin or Valium, drink a beer or two because these drugs react strongly to alcohol, get real loopy before eventually going to bed and waking the next day with little memory of the previous night. I found out secondhand that I was making innumerable drunk dialing calls, really freaking out/annoying a few people, including a good friend and even strangers on Facebook who had their phone number listed in their public profile. Profoundly ashamed, I stopped taking benzos. Well, regular ones anyway. I still take Xanax to quell my anxiety, but only in its extended release formula, which is impossible to get high off of.
The combination of teenage use of LSD and for most of the zeroes decade, the abuse of benzos and hypnotic sleeping pills, was damaging my brain. I forget most things instantly after reading or hearing them; when I talk, my words run together unintelligibly until my mouth can synchronize with the part of the brain that controls speech; deep concentration is something I can't really do anymore, although I can still write, evidently; I was always better at expressing myself in text rather than words. I've been fired three jobs due to some of these factors, which makes it obvious that something is really wrong.
I feel extremely stupid and empty-headed all the time. And there's no way to fix it. This is one of the things that led me into suicidal ideation (described here). I could blame the doctors for enabling me to go to such extremes, even though they had no way of knowing about the problems because I wouldn't tell them. It was me that kept pushing the envelope into mostly fleeting euphoria at the cost of impairing my cognitive processes, my short-term memory and my inability to hold down a job.
All told, wouldn't all this make you feel suicidal? I didn't consider even for a moment the possibility that things would get this bad if I kept up doing what I was doing. I'm kind of/sort of not suicidal anymore (thanks, mental asylum) but life on a day-to-day basis has become really difficult. Much as I love feeling chemically-induced euphoria, the time has definitely come to remove it from my life. I just wish I'd done it sooner.