It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt

I heard this a lot when I was a child. I heard it, for example, on the occasion when a rowdy game with my brother ended with him lying on the floor of an empty pool. We were measuring who was stronger. I am two years his senior and back then he did`t stand a chance. I can still remember the thud he made as he hit the tiled floor and the expression on my mothers face when she realised her little boy might have gotten hurt while she wasn’t looking. My brother lost conscious, came back to us a few moments later, and was just fine. There was no consequence to the fun and games. But I still remember my mother`s face.

I recently saw that face again, only this time it was not instigated by a thud but by a quiet slip under the water. Mark killed himself on September the 1st and the expression on my friend’s face when we learned he went for a swim in the sea after he had been doing drugs for a few days straight is another face which I keep with me.

Drugs are fun. Period. I used to be a bona fide party girl, so I know what I’m talking about. Drugs are A LOT of fun. However, as I’m sure anybody reading this who’s ever taken (or, if you’re like me, abused) drugs will know, they have a dark side. That high and mighty feeling you experience on coke? That unconditional love for everything that pores out of you on e? Yeah, all of that has a polar opposite. After the happy feelings are done you go to a bad place, and you better know how to handle yourself whilst you’re there because when you’ve fucked up all the chemicals in your brain, not much makes sense until a few days later when the brain and body get a grip on themselves again and you start feeling like a normal person.

Mark didn’t know how to handle the dark place. And I can tell you from experience that it’s not an easy thing to handle.

For years I wasn’t so confident I was handling mine. But I didn’t know how to stop. I needed drugs. To dance. To laugh. To be at my best. I hoped that I would one day wake up and decide I don’t need the clutch anymore, that I would suddenly be ok with being just me, and that I, as I am, would suffice. But that’s where drugs get you. The longer you use the clutch, the more difficult it becomes for you to walk on your own. The more you sink into drug abuse, the more skewed your perception of yourself and the world around you becomes. The more of the artificial highs and lows you experience, the harder it gets to face an average day. That’s what drugs do. They peel away at your lawyers, gradually and ever so slowly, until you’re just a throbbing nerve, unable to deal with anything.

Not everybody is going to lose their mind because of drugs, turn into a junky, OD, or commit suicide. I understand that. I am one of the people who came out on the other side somehow, even though it did take a death to snap me back into reality. Be careful what you wish for.

I am however proposing that people who are maybe a bit more fragile to start with, should think about the consequences fucking around with their brain chemistry balance could bare. And I’m proposing, that we need to talk about this, and drugs in general, more.

Drugs are everywhere. Everywhere. I have at least two functioning drug addicts at the office. I myself was a functioning drug addict for years. I hate that word. Functioning. Because you know until when you’re functioning? Until you’re not. And then you’re somebody else’s problem.

It’s all fun and games.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do drugs. Me saying that would be hillarious. But you should respect them and you should know that you too have your limits. You are not invincible, no matter how much cocaine you put up your nose. You are not invincible.

Mark didn’t know where his limits were. I’m not going to pretend I know what he was thinking but here’s one thing I can say about his state of mind in the days leading up to his death: he didn’t understand that by momentarily making the pain go away by swallowing pills meant the pain would come back ten times stronger when the artificial high would subside. And that the pain he felt when he woke up in the morning would only get multiplied in the evening after whatever he took to get himself through the day would wear off. And drugs always wear off.

It’s so easy to not get out of bed. It’s so easy to just keep running away, numbing out and ignoring the world. It’s so damn easy to quietly slip under the surface and disappear.

You can’t take enough drugs to make you run away from yourself. Unless you die. And that’s the bottom line.

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