Blog John

Self Medicating (ii) John.

I struggle a bit with the term self medicating. To me the term suggests taking a substance for (percieved) beneficial or calming results.   (John)

Over the past couple of blogs Elle and myself have discussed the ideas and the term of self medicating.  The quote above is from my last post. The problem is I do have a self medicating ‘technique’ that does conform to the notion of taking a substance for calming results.

Go back a good few years to when I was suffering paranoia and psychosis on a regular basis. No matter what meds I had, even if I took more than the prescribed dose, if an attack hit me it could take hours to pass. I could spend what felt like an eternity in the grip of terrifying delusions. I’ve had days where I’ve had to travel from one end of the country to another in the grip of paralysing fear. But there was one thing that could defeat and control this. I’m not sure when or where it was I discovered this. If I were to drink a reasonable (say 4-5 bottles of beer) amount of alcohol I could break out of the psychosis. This works for me every time without fail. You’ve no idea the relief this brought to my life. Before I responded extremely well to the treatment I currently take this form of self medicating gave me back a certain level of control. Don’t worry I don’t drink and drive, operate heavy machinery or run and orphanage when I do this. I get myself home and isolate myself until the episode has passed. Nor am I saying take up this technique immediately and make sure you always carry a hip flask. But as Elle says there are many things that get us through the night.

These days such episodes are rare for me. But I can have a wobble when I am on holiday. Until this year I had no idea why this was. When it did happen again this year I did some research. I like to holiday in the sun, I’m also allergic to the sun (how very Scottish) and can get terrible prickly heat rash. Apparently there is now research being done that concludes such allergies can aggravate bipolar. So now when I’m on holiday I always make sure when I arrive to put four bottles of beer in the fridge in case of an emergency.  As we say it takes different strokes to rule the (or your) world.

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