• Emilia Hargreaves

Why I Disappeared, Where I’ve Been, and Where I’m Going.

I have been on drugs for a long time.

Yup. Drugs. But not the kind of drugs you’d expect your normal nineteen year old to be splashing out on. In 2019, I spent £241 on prescription drugs. From painkillers to antidepressants, anti convulsants to anti sickness, I’ve had the lot.

Some have been helpful. Some, inhumanely harmful. Regardless, these teeny tiny tablets have had control over me and my life for over four years and honestly, I’m just kind of done with it now. I don’t know what’s me and what’s the drug. What is a personal response and what is a mere side effect. So, as petrified as I am to be doing this, it’s time to find out. Over the last month or so, with the cautious support of my many doctors, I have slowly been reducing the dosages of ALL of my medications.

And it has been shit.

I had been on unnecessarily high dosages of most of my medications, so, decreasing 50mg every couple of weeks has set my year off to a rather rocky start. But luckily for me - as I may or may not have mentioned before, my partner keeps me sane. In addition to this, (hoping you’ve all checked out the new gallery section!) I was fortunate enough to have been invited away to Austria with his family to celebrate his incredible mothers' birthday.

This was an absolute godsend in a time of great need. Although having only been skiing once before in my life, seven long long years ago, I managed to pick it up again and enjoy every millisecond of freedom. As soppy as it sounds, the higher up the mountain I was, the further away I was from the withdrawal. I was away from real life, the real world and somehow I was closer to three certain people who I seem to be missing more and more as the days go by.

Every moment of the not nearly long enough week has been savoured and tucked away into the little newly drug free part of my heart.

However, as truly and deeply grateful I am for the opportunity and for the first glimpses of happiness retuning, the side effects of the lowered dosages did not hold back. Prolonged nausea, explosive diarrhoea to an extent where spending forty minutes on the loo each morning was a norm, loss of appetite and genuine disgust to even think about the possibility of eating anything (which meant that I was feeling faint and weak on the slopes), extreme sweats that would drench the sheets every night, the return of the horrific leg spasms, which I won’t expand on, because they simply make me look like a weirdo. And of course, the violent and aggressive plunge into an even deeper darker depression than the usual grey I’ve been living in. All this was before I'd even stopped completely.

Once safely (and so far free of corona virus) home in London, Cold Turkey officially began.

Rather than suffering in silence, I thought hey, I have a website where I can publicly humiliate myself and let everyone else know how damn crap this is. So here’s how it’s going.


Cold Turkey Day 1:


Shit. All the same symptoms of whithdrawl as before except like maybe three times worse. My legs feel like actual soggy twigs. Might collapse in the street. Might fall into an eternal sleep. Who knows?


5:17pm Cannot stop crying. Just emotional. A wreck. Exhausted and done with it all.


7:38pm Family dinner time is normally a nightmare... Okay, over exaggerating a little bit maybe but it is something that I tend to find rather challenging. Usually these meal times are filled with ridiculously heated family debates about all sorts of worldly topics like abortion euthanasia and all kinds of drugs. Coping with the constant hot and cold sweats, some really odd facial pins and needles and my hearing fading out every five minutes made eating mums home made chilli a tough one.


9:12pm Can't stop crying. Missing my love, despite having only seen him two days ago. I need a cuddle. A cuddle from him. But actually, the real reason I can’t stop crying is because I am atrociously devastated that Love Island is over. My irrational hyper-focusing on trashy tv programmes continues to baffle me, but some how I had become dependant on the one hour each night where I can delve into someone else’s lives. Just as I did when watching Strictly Come Dancing, every single year from the age of about ten. I feel as if I know all the islanders personally... Weird, I know, but that's beyond the point. I have dug myself into a hole so deep that I’ve spent almost all my time since getting home waiting to see if itv2 will be airing a reunion. (Update: They will not. I'm devastated)

Not good, I know. But it is interesting that I am already beginning to see which ‘symptoms’ remain and which are slowly starting to fade away.

I stalk all the 'lslanders' on Instagram, and think about whether all the 'popular people' I used to go to school with will think I'm pathetic if I follow each any every one of them. (Yep, this is still something I think about.)

Then, I sleep.


Cold Turkey Day 2:


5:34am Nearly shat the bed.


6:02 Still on toilet.


8:54 It’s snowing. Obviously no where near as nice as Austria, but nevertheless I let the blobs settle on my bare face and cry a little as I walk to the train station for my hospital appointment. I can feel the flakes intertwining with the tears. It’s cold.


10:51 Trying not to pass out at Earl’s Court station. Spent the morning in hospital. Going home to sleep. If my brain would just shut up for a bit.


11:13 Ran for the bus which made me emotional ????? I should write a book about all the weird and wonderful places I've cried.


14:11 I’ve had salad for lunch three days in a row and that’s an achievement. I’ve also just finished watching Big Bang Theory for the seventh time through. Fun Fact: I can quote a minimum of five lined from every single episode... Sadly, I don't think that that's the drugs either.


Cold Turkey Days 3 + 4:

The next few days all sort of blended into one. As horrific as they have been, I kinda had no choice but to pull my shit together. From trying not to vomit over all the gorgeous children that I look after (Which wouldn't have happened because I feel to sick to eat anything anyway), to even managing to teach two drama classes in the depth of depression, (Which isn't actually anything new to me) I feel like I might be getting there. Slowly, like a fat, slimy, exhausted little snail.


Cold Turkey Days 5 + 6:

Chris has not left my side for the last three days. How he manages to out up with me, I don't have a clue. I cried for an hour because I wasn't hungry, and then I cried some more when he offered to buy me a panini.

Having to explain to my brother and sister what's going on was a complicated one. Mostly, because however I tried to explain it, I managed to make myself sound like an absolute crackhead. Great. Way to set a good example.

My incredible grandmother came to visit, which was a huge happiness booster and my dad cooked some divine spreads for us, which did make me a bit sad because food is still making me want to vom. Words cannot explain how grateful I am for the love and support from my family and friends at this time. There is no way that I could have got this far without them. They keep me going, and, I'm going to find it rather difficult to leave them all in TWO DAYS TIME TO GO TO THAILAND.


So don't go anywhere.

If you're already bored enough to be reading this, you'd better come back in a few days time. There will (hopefully, as long as I don't get corona virus) be pictures and articles and videos and lots of cool exciting things that I haven't really planned yet, but it'll be worth it.


So here finishes the update on my life for anyone who’s interested.

If anyone has any suggestions or things they'd be interested in reading about, don't hesitate to get in touch, I've added a contact page too, so I'm feeling rather professional!


Big love,


Em

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