Abigail s Story

North Carolina, USA

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"**Trigger Warning: Addiction.** Even as I type this, I am extremely anxious. Addiction, like so many other invisible illnesses, is stigmatized. People think that you choose addiction, but you don’t. Once the chemical is in your body, your body has changed. Your psyche has changed.

 

People throw around the word. They say, 'I’m addicted to this' or 'I’m addicted to that', but if more people actually knew what the world implied, they probably wouldn’t throw it around so much... or at least I hope they wouldn’t.

 

For the past 7-8 years, I have had a migraine every day, nonstop. Nothing much helped the pain except narcotics. At first, I took them here and there, so I could actually function. But, then it got to the point where I felt like I had to have them to function.

 

I went to a migraine clinic during my senior year of high school and, while I was there, they took me off all of my medications to see if any of them were giving me migraines. This, this is when I realized just how bad it had gotten. I was shaking, I was really irritable, and I had cold sweats. I was experiencing withdrawal. This is the point I had never let it get to before. I had never gone this long without it.

 

Roughly a year later, I went off to college and I still had the migraines. I took the medication with me since it was the only thing that brought relief. I tried my hardest not to take anything, but it quickly got to the point where the pills were gone as soon as I had them in my possession.

 

Both my mom and I had realized that I could not have control over them so I would have to learn how to cope with the pain without the medication. I went through a large period of time where I hated myself, both for letting it get that far and for also having such issues controlling myself. I had been letting the pain and addiction control me for so long... how was I ever going to be able to go back to how I was before?

 

Due to the severity of my migraines, I ended up coming home to continue my college education. I have been taking online courses for about one year now and I am learning how to cope better. I struggle and I often find it difficult to forgive myself, not only for what I did to myself but what I put my parents through. However, my parents show me grace and love me. If they can show me grace, why can’t I show myself grace? I need to forgive myself and I am learning. I am human and I am going to struggle. I cannot expect myself to experience recovery all in one day.

 

Healing is not linear. My struggles do not make me weak. I am fighting with everything within me and I won’t stop. Like I said before, I’m pretty anxious about writing this because I fear the reaction, but I also know that I am not less of a person because of my struggles. And neither are you. I’m a work in progress and so are you."

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