Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/27/16)
- TITLE: I am Sara
By Bonnie Bowden
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My name is Mrs. Harris. I am a pastor’s wife, mother, and a recovering drug addict.
My story began five years ago on a chilly winter day in the Midwest. It was one of those days that you want to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa. My husband, Brian, was working late at church that night, leading the men’s Bible study. I expected, Sean, my 17-year-old son, home from basketball practice at any moment. Instead of Sean, I was greeted by two police officers who informed me to get to Riverside Hospital immediately because my son had been injured in an accident. My cell went off. It was my husband calling to see if I had heard the news and telling me to meet him at the ER.
I ran into my husband’s strong hands and outstretched arms as soon as soon as I got through the sliding doors. I took in the lingering scent of Obsession by Calvin Klein on his sweater. It had been a Christmas present from Sean last year. “Is he okay?” “What happened?” “Have you talked to the doctors?” “Is the church praying?”
I don’t remember his exact words because shock penetrated my brain like a thick London fog. Sean’s truck hit icy pavement … slammed into a tree … currently in surgery for multiple breaks … the doctor expects him to make a full recovery … may need several months of physical therapy. Everyone’s praying.
Soon after my son’s accident, my husband and I decided that I should quit my accounting job to help Sean in his recovery. The long days spent at the hospital rehabilitation center and the mounting medical bills began to take a physical and mental toll.
It became clear that I needed to do something about my insomnia, nervous fear, and decreased energy. I felt guilty that even after repeating Philippians 4:6--Do not be anxious about anything--over and over again, I felt worse; so I decided to schedule an appointment with my doctor. After asking several questions, she assured me that I had a “chemical imbalance” and handed me two scripts: one for an antidepressant and one for Xanax. I didn’t realize that benzos like Xanax are addictive. If I had known the risks, I would never have swallowed a single pill.
In the beginning, Xanax worked wonders. My sleep improved and I felt as calm as I was before the accident. When I started to pace or overly worry, Sean would say, “Have you taken your “chill pill” yet?”
Although Sean was fully recovered after a few months, my descent into dark despair was just beginning. The problem was that every time Xanax started to lose its effectiveness; the doctor would up the dose. One night I was so incoherent, my husband rushed me to the ER. It seems I had taken an accidental overdose and would be admitted to the psych unit. “I can’t go there,” I said, “I’m a pastor’s wife.”
“You’re addicted to Xanax.” The short, balding psychiatrist told me. “We are going to have to detox you.”
“I’m not an addict. My doctor prescribed it.”
“Your doctor should have warned you of its potential dependency. This is our only option.”
I ripped off all the blankets and threw them on the floor. My hospital gown was stained from the sweat oozing through my pores. I put my hands over my ears to drown out the pounding. The nurse put something in my I.V., but every muscle in my body still ached.
After the worst was over, I continued to take the antidepressant and started to see a therapist. For the first time in a long time, I could see hope. Only this time, it did not come in the form of a “chill pill”.
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