the flower-scrolled path~

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~A tale of an opium eater~

Outside of hunter-gatherer and more primitive populations, depression and other ills, more specifically syndrome x diseases, are rising in the industrialised world. I think our modern industrial diet, stress and lack of natural movement have the most to do with it…

…there are a lot of broken people these days…

…and broken people are hard to fix.

For many, proper diet and exercise don’t do enough to alleviate depression. When these are tried by intelligent broken people who invest time and energy researching for answers and find that they’re not getting the results they’ve worked so hard for, the next step is pharmaceuticals. When the entire gamut of antidepressants, on and off label, don’t work, and often cause much harm, other tactics must be considered.

 Most research in the last 50 years has revolved around monoamine neurotransmitters. That is a lot of investment of time, money and institutional infrastructure for drugs that research has shown have an efficacy rate of 60 to 30%. Not good results… and of the “good results”, most people deal with mental and physical side effects that invite the questions, “WTF?! Is this worth it?”

However, a theory is growing in the psych-med community and pushed to a certain extent by the laity in the blogzoo concerning the targets in the brain that involve depression. Many of us are calling “bullshit” on the serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine axis and taking our health into our own hands. The theory revolves around the idea that the body either doesn’t produce enough of the required amounts of endogenous opioids, or the reuptake mechanism (enzymes etc.) is in hyperdrive and breaks them down and sweeps them away too quickly; so until medical science fixes the problem, the system must obtain opiates/opioids from outside (exogenous).

Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine, an alkaloid of the poppy. It is used in opiate addiction therapy, but is slowly coming into its own as an off label antidepressant in the US. The reason for this is that, unlike other opiates, tolerance is built very slowly over time if at all, there is little if any euphoria, and results are experienced with small dosages because of partial agonist as well as antagonist activity at various opioid receptors. So in a way, if I may use a very rough analogy, one is “feeding” one’s self with a needed substance, like a nutrient. Good luck finding a doctor to prescribe it though. Lots of hoops to jump through for both you and the doc. As well, the doctor is required to operate under conscious deception, and most docs are probably not willing to risk this.

In Canada, forget it. I think bupe is available in BC, but docs there are in the same predicament as in the States. I talked to my doc about the potential for this drug for depression and despite the fact that I am an in-shape 6’2″ Teutonic Germanic in good health, in middle age, have no criminal record and make a six figure wage, he looked at me with a contempt that a thief couldn’t inspire. This is where we’re at, kids…

…so I had some choices: go into daily methadone therapy (‘done having a good efficacy for depression too), which is a pain in the ass and a waste of hours each day; buy drugs illegally; take my chances with online non-script pharms or poppy pods; or grow a poppy garden…

…I grew a poppy garden.

~This blog is a collection of ideas thrown around to see what sticks. These are just my thoughts and theories; I have no idea if opiate therapy will work for me long-term; if it will be the ticket or if I’m making the biggest mistake of my life. I hop out of bed every morning, fix, and head to work with a smile, knowing that I’ve kicked that devil off my shoulder for the day. I don’t drink, don’t smoke; I exercise appropriately and my diet is impeccable…

 …however, nothing is certain despite that I’ve had success so far. I’ve made a choice and have, with research and eyes open, developed a physical dependence. Every morning I awake motivated to get up and fix because the wd’s are my alarm clock. I know that if I have to stop my therapy quickly for any reason, the bitch goddess of the poppy will not let me go without showing me some pain.

You’re probably not an idiot, so I know that you will never take what I’ve written as an implied permission to travel down my path. I know that you will weigh the pros and cons and take into consideration your own situation and meditate over what’s best for you: your own current mental health status vs opiate dependence…

…your call.

If you’re going down the flower-scrolled path and have anything to say; ideas, suggestions, insights, or just communication with a fellow traveller, feel free to contribute. Maybe you have something I didn’t consider, could benefit from and can share with others on the way.

The human body is so complex, and science and research so limited… if you choose this way, remember that we are not all the same and the potential for disaster could lurk around any corner for you, while leaving me happily breezing along; and as Burroughs said, “Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life”.

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