It started with wanting to escape – the need and yearning to feel something other than pain every single day. At least, that’s how it was in my case.  

When I first tried Klonopin (Clonazepam), I truly needed help with my anxiety, which got worse after having my two kids, but it didn’t help with my anxiety, so much as it made me avoid my anxiety. With it, I became a more tolerable version of me – a sedated one. Klonopin is categorized as a benzodiazepine, which works to calm or sedate a person by raising the level of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.

With Klonopin, I didn’t care about my flaws, but looking back I see that I didn’t care about anything. It all just melted away. After a while, I began taking the pills to feel nothing and not for my anxiety, and it was always more than I should’ve taken. My depression and anxiety kept worsening.

I eventually built a tolerance to it, and after the kids would go to bed, I’d take six or seven a night just to get a high. I should say a low, because no matter how many pills I’d take, I’d always return to myself, where I didn’t want to be.

I didn’t mean to get addicted. I don’t even know if I’d use the word “addicted” so much as I’d say I abused the pills. I just couldn’t stop chasing that delicious feeling that I wasn’t actually myself and the warm flush of the medicine wiping away my dark, and sometimes scary, thoughts.

It’s sad when I think about it. I wonder if all addicts feel the same way, that they just want to be someone else. They just need to escape.

Even now, I catch myself longing for those pills, or rather for the ability to escape. It’s so alluring, going to a warm, happy place inside of you. But that place doesn’t really exist. Any happiness I might’ve felt was always frustratingly temporary. At midnight, I’d just turn back into a pumpkin – a sad, rotting pumpkin, with no glass slipper to speak of.

Now that I can’t rely on pills to make me feel better, I try to find other ways, but it’s no different than the pills. Everything is temporary. I might binge eat and take pleasure in the food that I eat, but that pleasure doesn’t last. Just another failed escape. It’s the same way with compulsive shopping – I always feel guilty for spending money, and the high of buying something disappears.

I’m sitting here wondering why the hell do I feel the need to escape? And I truly don’t know. I have a great life, with a great husband and amazing kids. We have a new house that’s truly a dream and I’ve never wanted for anything in my whole life. I’ve been fortunate, yet I know tonight I will take one of my anxiety pills (that I’m not abusing), and I’ll wish it would take off the edge.

My therapist has asked me the same question – why am I always trying to leave? Why do I crave a dissociative state?

And for once, I have no words.

Does anyone out there ever feel the same?

Stay in the light, friends. Stay present.

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