When the doctor prescribed Brittany Xanax, I didn’t know. She lived in Seattle and I think she was afraid to tell me, to be honest. She knew how I would react. Yet, the Xanax did help her. I thought he had prescribed her other anxiety medications and I was so relieved that she seemed to be coming out of her deep depression. We took a family trip to Mexico and although she was very thin, she was in great spirits and we had an incredible time with 22 of our extended family members and a week of fantastic memories.
Yet, within just a few months of being prescribed Xanax, she was now going thru her prescription in 2 weeks, instead of 30 days. She then started to buy it off of the streets, in order to keep feeling sane. I know she was scared of how she was feeling, yet she didn’t know how to stop her actions. This went on for several months, until once again, she relapsed with heroin.
My husband John and I truly had no idea this was happening. She hid it VERY well for several months….until the addiction became too much for her, and even she knew she had to stop.
In January of 2014, Brittany called and asked if she could move back home. At this point, she had been out of the house for 3 years, living in another state. She missed us desperately. She wanted to go back to school, finish her nursing degree, and she really wanted to spend some much needed time with her sister, Brooke. Since we were unaware of what was going on in Seattle, we welcomed her home with open arms. I was so excited to have my family TOGETHER AGAIN!
Within a few days of her arrival home, we had to go to a funeral of a close family friend. A few minutes after we arrived, Brittany whispered in my ear that she had to use the bathroom and would be right back. After about 20 minutes, I began to get nervous. That sinking feeling in my stomach was back with full force. 10 more minutes passed. Now my head was playing a tennis match of “no this isn’t happening again” to “OMG this really happening again”. I excused myself to the people I was talking to, and went in search of Brittany. As I was walking out of the room, I was silently praying that she was just outside smoking. Or on the phone. Or ran into someone in the hallway. Begging God to not let me find her in the bathroom.
As I slowly opened up the bathroom door, that was when I saw her legs. As I got closer to the stall, I noticed her hands were hanging down, almost as if she was resting her head on her legs. “Brittany, are you ok?” No answer. My stomach was churning. My breath caught in my throat. I knocked real hard on the door, tried to open the door….nothing. “BRITTANY!”…I said, much louder this time. Nothing. I knelt down on the bathroom floor and stuck my hand under the door and grabbed her leg. She finally stirred. Thank GOD she’s alive! But at the same time knowing in my heart what we were up against again. Tears streaming down my face, and anger on my tongue….my God we are in a funeral home! “Brittany, get out of there right now. We are going home”. I had to get her out of there without making a scene. In my head this is like a movie….this isn’t really happening. Someone dear to us is dead and now my daughter is basically killing herself in the funeral home bathroom. I’m in shock, literally, just SHOCK.
The next day she finally admitted that she had relapsed on heroin in Seattle. It was getting bad again and she knew she had to get away. Her asking to come home was her silent cry for help. She didn’t think she needed rehab though. We told her that she needed to just stay home, focus on school, go to support group meetings and get her life together. We felt now that she was back home, she would have the love and support of her family and we could keep an eye on her.
It was a Sunday evening, about a week later. We were all in the den, together as a family. Both girls were sitting next to each other doing their homework, and John and I were watching the Grammy’s on TV. We were laughing, singing to some songs and just having a great night together.
All of a sudden, Brittany’s entire body went stiff. She was sitting on the floor and as my eyes travelled over to her, she slowly tipped over, fell to the ground and her entire body was convulsing. I screamed, jumped up and ran over to her. I could hear little Brooke crying “mommy what’s wrong with Mimi???!!”. As John cradled her head, I yelled for him to put her on her side. For some reason, I just knew what was happening. She was having a seizure.
I called 911 and while I am on the phone, Brittany was seizing hard. Her eyes rolled in the back of her head, her teeth grinding, her entire body shaking uncontrollably.
It was the absolute, hands down, most frightening thing I have EVER witnessed.
Once at the hospital, Brittany had ANOTHER seizure. Both of them were Gran Mal, the most severe kind. The neurologist pulled me aside…”Mom, we are doing everything we can. If she has another seizure of this magnitude, the effects may be very bad and permanent.”
I was paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t leave her side. Please God, don’t let my baby die!!!