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Life After Tramadol Part 2

Oct 12, 2009 - 2 comments

Day 37.  Still amazed by that.  Just amazed.

Emily’s journal still brings me to tears.  Good tears.  I read a post last night about how, in the beginning, she was here alone.  Nobody to talk to about the insanity of tramadol withdrawal. Could I have done it without the support I found here (as a lurker in the beginning)?  Don’t know. I had the support.  Now I look at all the wonderful people here posting and sharing experiences and struggles and victories, and…wow.  Amazing.  We really are all in this together.  


Random weirdness continues, but overall the trend is excellent.  I am noticing that I have more good days (days when I don’t have back pain, leg pain, or major depression) and fewer bad days (days when I have significant pain, pain in places I have never had pain before, depression, and severe fatigue).  The RLS is gone.  I have slept six of the last seven nights.  There is no lingering nausea or migraine pain.  I am feeling generally clear and level-headed, two adjectives I longed to use to describe myself for many years but never thought I would.


I came so close to losing the people who mean the most to me.  So unbelievably, scathingly close.  Why they stayed faithful to me during the tramadol years is something I will never fully understand.  I do not deserve their continued love.  My personality changed because of the poison, and I became someone I would never put up with.  I became self-absorbed and impulsive.  My obsession with the drug outsaturated my heart for those whose lives give mine meaning.  Everything looks so different in the light of morning.  Now I just want to look at those people and pleadingly, tearfully apologize for who I became.  And assure them that wasn’t me.  That I am still the person they believed I was even when I wasn’t.

But they look at me as if they already know.


I noticed that several people mentioned the verbal “fog” during tramadol wd.  Emily called it “word hunger” (for lack of a better word) – so perfect!  Well, I have it.  I can’t recall a time when I didn’t write prolifically, either in journals or for school.  Can’t do it anymore.  Writing here is it for me.  This is, though, the most important writing/thinking I can do right now, even if it isn’t Pulitzer Prize material.  For everything there is a season.  This is a season of self-reflection.  I have been forced, by this and other (related) aspects of my life, into a sort of sabbatical.  Too analytical, I am.  Yet there is no such thing as thinking too much about what has happened in the last three years.  Take it apart, examine it, understand it, learn from it, take whatever souvenirs I think will make the future better.  That is my goal.


I spent three years in a tramadol-induced coma wherein I didn’t examine much of anything.  I was dead in a bottle of pills.  And the frightening thing is I didn’t even know it at the time.  As I type this I hope that my mind will eventually return, or reappear, improved in the ways that it needs to be.  I may not be as quick as I once was, but da&n it, I will be better in ways that count.  Quickness is really overrated, anyway.  


An afternoon with my grandmother.  She is my hero in every way.  I have always had the “artistic temperament”, oscillating between extremes of hot and cold, but her quiet dignity and calm strength inspire me to cultivate a cooler surface.  Still waters run so deep.  Would I give up the highs and lows for a life in the middle?  I gave up everything for a life that was numb and dull.  The answer is obvious to me.  My perceptions have changed, thank goodness.  Nothing I have endured compares to anything she has endured.  And through all of it she grew kinder, deeper in love for others and more appreciative of life.  I am aspiring, considering.  We share genes and we share these very important moments.  She told someone, who told me, that she is proud of who I have become, and part of that is because of how I have handled adversity.  The first thought was, “she doesn’t have ANY idea how terrible I was.  How weak and pathetic I was.”  Then I realized those are tramadol thoughts.  While she may not know the names of my struggles, she knows how I have chosen to respond to them.  And she wouldn’t have said it if she didn’t mean it.

And that is that.


I spent at least three-fourths of the summer wearing a sweater and a coat.  Now it’s 50 degrees and blustery and cloudy and I dreaded these days so profoundly.  But they are here and the cool air feels so wonderful.  How did that happen?  My body (and, more importantly, my mind) was so completely messed up by tramadol that I could not function no matter what the environment was.  I will never, never forget why I decided NO MORE.  I am DONE.  Even knowing the he{{ that would follow.  How determined am I?  There is a pill bottle behind my medicine cabinet door with 90-something pills in it.  When I open the door I don’t even flinch.  I would rather cut off my own arms with a spoon than take one.  I would flush them but I don’t want to allow that poison back into the environment in any form.  It makes me angry to think the pills are still being manufactured.  They are destroying so many lives.  Breaking people down.  Creating so much misery.

Some days the dark tramadol lies are almost overpowering.  I think about the most terrible, most terrifying things.  The poison preys on fear.  Are you afraid of something?  Tramadol knows it, and at some point, you can expect it to be used viciously to break you down, too.  It is an unscrupulous enemy.  Write yourself a note to remind yourself on those days…it’s just LIES.  The sun is still shining above the clouds.  It’s just a passing storm.

Because that is the absolute truth.


There is no more magnificent birth to witness than that of hope where there was none.

37 days out is a Very Good Place to Be.

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by desperado57, Oct 18, 2009
So inspiring, so heartfelt, so incredibly helpful. I quit Tramadol before it caught me in its claws - benzos are my problem; nevertheless, your musing have left me with a profound feeling of STRENGTH and HOPE, and I thank you for that.

Keep up the good fight.



Avatar universal
by Oz11, Feb 27, 2013
So on  the fog for me is that for over 15 years I was sure the drug helped me. The truth was it had stopped working long ago so I added another drug  Vicodin . I had a real illness so I felt my Dr. Knew what he was doing. I liked it that way. Until the side effects, constant restless legs most likely because the drug was not working and the body was going through withdraw.  Kidneys not up to the level they were before the drug. For me I am in the Hugh fog bright now the fog of day 4...... No tramadol no Vicodin, just symptoms,,,,, no sleep,,,,, the hell of the rotten candy store rotting my teeth forced me to close that door.  I will make it,,,,, thanks for all your sharing.

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