Sunday, 29 November 2009

Morphine withdrawal - sheer hell

So, this is what's been going on:

The side effects of the morphine went out of control a couple of weeks after I hit the 80mg dose I’d been aiming for. The depression went critical and I was majorly suicidal. I was also still having severe pain episodes, so it obviously wasn't helping much and I decided I had no choice but to come off it. The doc reckoned I’d be able to reduce 10mg every 2-3 days, and so avoid the all-at-once route. Initially, he was right, though my stomach went haywire, but then the muscle spasms which I had been so worried about went mad and I couldn’t move. A few days later, when I tried to reduce the morphine from 30mg to 20mg, all hell broke loose. I'd had to double the dose of antidepressant because I was such a mess, and even though I was still taking the morphine, the antidepressant was now basically cancelling it out and my body went into full-blown withdrawal. Keeping on taking the morphine would only have prolonged the agony, so I had to stop it completely.

I had severe stomach problems and couldn’t eat anything for days on end (I lost nearly a stone in under a week). I couldn’t breathe or speak and every time I moved more than a few steps I was fighting not to pass out. I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t even have the strength to stand up. The muscle spasms were agony and I had shooting nerve pains in my arms and legs. I felt absolutely wretched – no matter what words I use, there's still no way I can even come close to describing what it felt like.

I made it to the doc’s after a few days, but semi-collapsed in his office and had to stay there for hours till I was well enough to leave. He said it would be over in a couple of days, and that it really shouldn’t have been this bad. I didn't find that enormously helpful, to be honest.

After 9 days off the morphine, I'm gradually improving, but it’s very slow and the doc's ‘couple of days’ is about as accurate as the ‘3-5 days’ they originally predicted. I can now breathe as long as I don’t try talking at the same time, and can move around without feeling faint, most of the time. My tummy has settled down and I’m able to eat. I’m still horribly weak though, and I’m still getting intermittent muscle spasms, so it’s not over yet. I guess that having been on opiates for over 2 years, it takes a while for the body to get back in balance.

And of course, the reason for all of this in the first place – my shoulder; the pain has been getting steadily worse, so the morphine was obviously doing something, but not nearly enough to be worth the side effects. God knows what happens next.

Friday, 27 November 2009

I've been off the morphine for a week now. I've been struggling to put into words how utterly awful the withdrawal process has been (and it's not over yet), but there really aren't words for it. Here's the best I can do though:

Wrung out, twisted, crushed and torn like a rag,
Pulled inside out, upside down and back to front; up is down, north is south.
Everything but Now fades to a single, tiny pinprick of untouchable light,
Trapped inside the black, spinning vortex, whirling and swirling, empty yet crushing, closing in. Alone.
Helping hands, loving voices, calling out, reaching in, but ghostly, distant, separate;
Cruel projections from another world, fleeting, amorphous disintegrations into dust.

Body and soul slammed over and over, again and again. Unrelenting, unremitting, unforgiving.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I wish that I didn't have to wake up tomorrow. I wish I could just go to sleep and never have to wake up again. I know it's a horrible thing to say, but it's true. I'm so far past being able to cope with this any more.

The depression went critical two weeks into the 'magical' 80mg morphine dose, along with full-on panic attacks. Then just to rub salt into the wound, I had a major pain episode.

So, no choice but to come off it - I can't live like that. I've already dropped two doses, but it just won't stop. The depression just won't leave me alone and the pain is rampant and I don't know what to do. It's just too hard.

Somebody, please help me.