Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Feeling "high" - the positives...

This is scary for me, because this is a topic where I can easily be judged harshly. But I feel this is important to talk about. I take several medications for my pain, both narcotic and non-narcotic. Both have side effects that would be considered desirable to people who are looking for an escape from reality. These side-effects, I have to admit, are desirable to me as well. But my motives are very different. Unfortunately motives and intentions aren't something that can be verified with a test. It's an act of trust every time a doctor hands over a medication that can create a "high." I enjoy those side effects, I won't lie. But let me tell you why...

I woke up this morning and I was feeling terrible. I took my non-narcotic on schedule like I was supposed to, but it wasn't enough. I had to change clothes because the elastic, even though it wasn't tight, was painful on my skin. The weight of the pants was hurting my hips and lower back even thought they were a light cotton knit. My hands and feet were aching and it was difficult to walk and type. I took a narcotic pain pill and waited for the pain to subside.

Normally, the medication just evens me out. If I limit my activity, I can manage. But this time, the medication actually made me feel better than my "normal" levels (slightly better than house-bound). I walked outside and notices that I felt a slight floating feeling and my skin was tingling pleasantly. It took me by surpise: I was a little buzzed. I was amazed. I was joyful. I was actually feeling a high.

I know what you're thinking. But the high wasn't my goal...

I don't do movement for fun. I do movement for purpose. I don't have enough spoons to waste them on "silly" activities. But this time it could be different. The high told me that I had freedom do to MORE. If I'm high, I've got extra medication in my system to burn. Physical tasks that are normally impossible for me I can now do. Ironically, it's safer for me to take "risks" with my body.


It felt sooooooooooooooo good. I was able to enjoy my body. I was able to enjoy movement freely. I didn't have to ask myself, "Is this going to hurt?" I knew from the high that it wouldn't. I could move like Jagger. Later, I didn't have to hold the railing walking down the stairs. I could skip down them. And I did. Spontaneously and without a second thought. The freedom is magical. I'm not in it for the high. I'm in it for what the high lets me do.

I love to do physical exercise, cardio-vascular fitness, cooking, sculpture, and all sorts of other projects. But I just can't. Not because I have some sort of catastrophic thinking. I can't because I have too many things I have to do. I need to be able to take care of my responsibilities. If it falls outside of that, I can't be wasting spoons on it. If I do an activity for fun, it can rob me of my ability to do something I have to do. That's not good.

I want to live up to my obligations. So the fun gets cut. The exercise gets cut. The art gets cut. I rely on quick food rather than cooking a real meal. I take the short-cuts I have to, so that I don't undercut what's really important: keeping a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a working car in the driveway and food in my belly.

And I don't know how to explain that to my doctors. I know the DEA is all to willing to yank their license and take away their livelihood. I've had doctors that have left the pain profession because the pressure was too much. I don't want to put my doctors in that position, but honestly, I am undermedicated for pain. I need the big guns. But who is willing to put their life career on the line for a stranger? Not many.

So I live as best I can. And I relish the days that I feel the "high." Because then I can move without thinking. Without worrying. Without wondering how much this is going to cost me later. Because it won't. I can engage with others and join with them instead of just watching from the sidelines. I can be a part of---an active participant in life again.

I can feel normal again for a little while.

Yeah, I'm high. And I'm a better, more effective person because of it. Getting high doesn't automatically turn people into sloppy addicts, sponging off of everyone around them chasing a fix. I'm chasing responsibility. I'm chasing functionality. The high helps me get there.

How is high bad then?


  1. I wish I could dance! Enjoy it, and do it for the rest of us!
    Thanks for being brave enough to share this.

  2. Thanks, Andy ^_^ It was short-lived, but thoroughly enjoyed. Next time I'm able to catch a wave like that, I'll be sure to do a jig just for you...