Monday, March 02, 2009


I'm not entirely sure the benzos are helping. I certainly sleep more than I used to and to all the world I seem more composed, but there is a post sedation fog that I really don't like. A dampening effect on my words and thoughts that others seem to appreciate. But I am worried. There is probably a good reason for all the pain I'm going through and will probably emerge a better person for having gone through it. I am giving birth to a new me and a new future. Ask any doctor, give pain meds to soon in the process and the labor will stall. Ultimately becoming more prolonged and dangerous. Taking a shortcut to the other side is probably a bad idea. I find I don't dream on the drugs. No nocturnal defragmenting of my mind. But, no waking up in the middle of the night sweating and shaking either. My soul is simply a light turning on and off. Awake, asleep, then back awake again. No tossing or turning; no thinking or remembering. I don't know if it's better. I wondering if I'm just setting myself up for a harder fall. Mother nature has vastly more experience than I, and I don't like circumventing her. Perhaps, I need a series of small earthquakes to avoid the Big One. The fault line in my soul is certainly still there. Still active, and like a Southern California architect I continue to build my future on this unsteady ground. Betting that when the rumbling starts I will be spared.

I started taking them after my last visit with my daughter. We went to the zoo and horseback riding. Slept in the same bed, sharing the same breathe back and forth. Oh what beautiful sleep it was. Not this sugary sweet, artificially sleep concocted by pharmaceuticals. But it had to end and the goodbye was devastating. Devastating. Children have not been forced to suppress emotion, to acquire a public persona that hides pain and sorrow. No, when they hurt it is raw and real, and savage. Even now, partially sedated ,I can feel her hot sweaty fingers clinging to my neck as my sister peeled her off of me. "I wonna go wif you Mommy. I wonna go home" Oh baby, I want to go home too. I just don't know where it is. Despite her pleas I closed the door on her. Her face frozen in horror and shock with the realization that her Mommy left her. All she wants is to stay with me and I closed the door on her. Then we both broke down, sobbing. Me on one side, her on the other. The door shaking as she is throwing herself against it, trying to keep me there. My mother held me, but her mother didn't hold her. And my heart hurt. It's been years since I felt that tangible heartbreak, a dull pressure and squeezing in my chest. The physical manifestation of an emotional wounding. Driving to the airport I get the familiar buzz of my cell phone and I am so thankful because I have set up a friend to take care of me tonight. To not be alone and in pain. Because I knew that leaving her behind would be one of the hardest things I have ever done. And I am correct. But, he has called to cancel. As hard as I try to prevent these nights and these heartbreaks I keep failing. I have reached out above and beyond my comfort zone, clearing saying to all those who will hear me that I can not keep shouldering this burden alone. That I will carry my sorrow and tears away with me in the morning, if they will just hold them for me tonight. But I have failed to offer enough in the negotiation process to seal the deal. At some point I will have to trade sex for comfort, to fulfill the age old contract men and women have always penned in the wee hours. But not this night. I am still bound by my previous contract, the marital contract, if only because it is a bit of familiarity in this still foreign world.

Arriving at the airport, the flight attendants won't let me on the plane. I am a walking disaster. My face is flushed, tears continue to stream down my face. I can't talk without my voice squeaking, then cracking, and finally I dissolve into tears. There are some women who cry beautifully, like a motion picture, that solitary tear can contain their sorrow. But I am not one of them. I am a wet, snotty, sobbing mess and I can not fly like this. I make the other passengers nervous; as if my agony will infect the plane and bring us all down. So I start taking shots of vodka, trying to numb myself up. When I can hold a conversation without falling apart I return to the counter to plead my case. I board last. And as the wheels lift off the ground I feel my soul splintering. Half in one state, half in another. Some on her side of the door, some on mine. Some in the Before, some in the After. It is parcelled out like so much candy on Halloween. Until the bowl is empty and there is nothing left for me.

I will make this trip again in four days. And this time I drive straight from the airport to the ER. Where I am expected to be whole person, and a selfless doctor, instead of the comminuted fracture I have become. This is why I must be sedated. This is why I have the benzos. I'm not sure they're helping though. Deep down I know this is a shortcut I should not be taking.


Anonymous said...

You're a wonderful writer and storyteller.

Have you thought of seeing a therapist? I used one to help me through some hard times in my life. I've best heard a therapist described as a "compassionate witness".

Don't you deserve that sort of compassion? You do, your child does.

FridaWrites said...

My own eyes filled with tears while I was reading about your separation from your daughter.

Please be careful mixing alcohol and other meds.

One medicine that helps some people with ptsd is a beta blocker--it reduces some of the adrenaline and takes away some of the physical stress. Although I needed it for tachycardia, it had a strong side benefit. There's some resesarch on using it for people who've been through a trauma. It definitely did blunt something so difficult for me that had happened a month before. I was affected enough to just sit unmoving and unable to do much of anything and could then cope better. I don't know about how it would interact with other meds or if it would work, but it's an additional consideration.

Your daughter loves you and needs you in the long term--things will be better for both of you when you can be together most days. You probably give her a big sense of security. It is wonderful to sleep next to your child, to have those extra hours together.

I agree that talking to a therapist may help you--both with plans for the future and with ways to help make these separations easier for both of you. I'm afraid as a commenter that I may say something that isn't right for you, but I do give my support and hope that these difficult times are quickly past.

Anonymous said...


As you likely know, benzodiazapines are the most addictive drug out of all of them. They work on the same area of the brain as alcohol, the GABA inhibitors. Very tough to get off of them if they become a habit.

Good luck.