Sunday, February 24, 2008

I feel his pain~

Jesse called in a reflective mood, a good mood really, one that's been lacking of late. It was late
afternoon, I'd just laid down on the couch with my book, but my eyes were heavy, a nap was waiting.
Because so many times on the days when he calls four or five times with nothing much to say, I rush him off impatiently, and because this time he was upbeat and chatty for a change, I stayed on the line and let him talk.

I listened, eyes closed. He talked. I umm hmmed.

"Emotions," he said. "What are they, really? I mean are they related to nerves? Or brain chemistry?"

I opened my eyes. The roses I got for Valentine's Day were beginning to wilt.

Emotions. Me, the one in the family who is all for feeling them, expressing them, discussing them. What were they, really?

"Brain chemistry, mostly, I think-- the rush of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine . . . all that. Why?"

"Well, I was thinking, " he said hesitantly, "and I know you don't like the topic-- drugs and all, Percocets-- but I was thinking. Percocet takes away physical pain. It blocks pain from being transferred along the nerves."


"Well, it takes away emotional pain, too. So, I was wondering if feeling emotion had something to do with the nerves."

I was sleepy, but I know we talked more about Percocet pain relief. About emotions. I remember he said he sometimes felt a lot of emotional pain. I asked why. He couldn't say. He assured me he hardly ever took Percocet. Just occasionally, once in a while, not often, he said. Well, that's good, I said, eyes closed again.

"You know, how a good mood feels? I wish good emotions could last as long as the bad ones do. It seems like the bad feelings make more of an impression. I wish the good ones would last as long. You know?"

"I do," I said.

"Well, thanks for talking," he said abruptly, his way of ending a phone conversation.

I fell asleep. It wasn't until more than 24 hours later that it occurred to me. Jesse had probably been talking to me from a Percocet high.
“The worst drugs are as bad as anybody's told you. It's just a dumb trip, which I can't condemn people if they get into it, because one gets into it for one's own personal, social, emotional reasons. It's something to be avoided if one can help it.”~John Lennon


Barbara said...

Sounds like he needed a sympathetic ear.

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh that realization must have given you a jolt. I wonder if he really needed someone to talk to but couldn't get it out.

Wanda said...

I agree, and you gave it to him!!
Thats a good thing.

Ross said...

Hello Ruth:

I'm not exactly sure what Percocet is or does, but recall many years back how my friends who were wanting a "high" would somehow get some Percocet and be happy as clams for a while. I always wanted "lows" ... my natural state was somewhat above the level.

Not sure if Jesse is prescribed meds, or if he takes them, but "mood stabilizers" have sure helped me. I'd never heard of such things until 3 or 4 years ago. The med I take has been easy on me, the only side-effects are not unpleasant sexual ones.

So often I hear of people who stop taking prescribed meds because they feel that the drugs make them something they are not. The other reason people stop taking drugs is because they "feel fine now" ... which, I suppose, means people find the drugs have made them feel as they really are.

I actually signed a contract with my latest therapist ... this is what you do here ... and the contract spells out what we are working towards, some rough time-lines, what we want to put into it (or not) ... Not a bad idea.

A friend (since childhood) of mine recently offered: "Isn't it amazing that you and I are still alive, Ross?" Not just because we both come from very short-lived families, but because so many of our friends, and people we knew quite well, have died already ...

This friend and I no longer have immediate family we can call from time to time ... a huge sadness for both of us. But WE stay in touch.

The best "conversations" I ever had with my mother were when we were on holiday together (in my teens, of all times!) ... just sitting or lying in the sun somewhere saying nothing. I suppose I was like a penguin chick, knowing my one parent among the millions.

Is that an emotion? or something hard-wired in our genes? or a simple gift?

Good thing Jesse can call.

Tere said...

It is so hard to read between the lines when we have conversations, to know when to have your ears perk up, to know when someone is just talking and when they need help. You listened and that sounds like what he needed.

Tim Elhajj said...

Hang in there, Ruth. You never know what might happen.

sc morgan said...

Oh, Ruth. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for so many reasons, many of which you know.

As you probably already know, Codeine (an ingredient of Percocet) and all opiates, for that matter, are mood elevators, which brings about the problem of facing the lows when getting off them. And the lows are that much lower every time and the highs not as high--the ever downward spiraling journey of the addict is hard to watch (or listen to). The best we can say for Jesse is that at least he is talking about it and beginning to acknowledge that it is true. Insight--that missing perception of the addict.

All I can say to you, Ruth, is lo siento. So hard to know what to do; to listen or hang up or tell him to see a counselor or what. I'm sorry you are the one he calls. Why do you suppose he does that when he's loaded? I suppose the thing that kept me on the line for so many years was the hope that one day my son would actually hear what I was saying. You never know when they might be listening and "get it."

Carter said...

You know I feel for you.

Ruth D~ said...

And then again, I could be wrong. He might just have been in a chatty mood . . .

Thank you, my friends, for the caring comments.

Bob Sanchez said...

Sometimes all you can do is listen to him. I feel for you.


leslie said...

I think you did well during that conversation, Ruth, to just listen and not judge or make any suggestions to him. He needed an ear for his thoughts and that's what you gave him. Next time, he might ask for more. Have you seen my post on "Mental Illness and REcovery" yet?