About the Book:
Brain on Fire meets High Achiever in this “page-turner memoir chronicling a woman’s accidental descent into prescription benzodiazepine dependence—and the life-threatening impacts of long-term use—that chills to the bone” (Nylon).
As Melissa Bond raises her infant daughter and a special-needs one-year-old son, she suffers from unbearable insomnia, sleeping an hour or less each night. She loses her job as a journalist (a casualty of the 2008 recession), and her relationship with her husband grows distant. Her doctor casually prescribes benzodiazepines—a family of drugs that includes Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan—and increases her dosage on a regular basis.
Following her doctor’s orders, Melissa takes the pills night after night; her body begins to shut down and she collapses while holding her infant daughter. Only then does Melissa learn that her doctor—like many doctors—has over-prescribed the medication and quitting cold turkey could lead to psychosis or fatal seizures. Benzodiazepine addiction is not well studied, and few experts know how to help Melissa as she begins the months-long process of tapering off the pills without suffering debilitating, potentially deadly consequences.
Each page thrums with the heartbeat of Melissa’s struggle—how many hours has she slept? How many weeks old are her babies? How many milligrams has she taken? Her propulsive writing crescendos to a fever pitch as she fights for her health and her ability to care for her children. Lyrical and immersive, Blood Orange Night shines a light on the prescription benzodiazepine epidemic as it reaches a crisis point in this country.
WOW. ‘Blood Orange Night’ is an incredibly powerful memoir. Melissa Bond began to suffer debilitating insomnia for which there seemed no relief. With two babies, she turned to a physician who prescribed benzodiazepines which unbeknownst to Melissa, are highly addictive and come with a whole array of horrible side effects.
Ativan seemed like the answer to her prayers. Until it wasn’t. What followed was a gradual dependence on the powerful drug which affected every aspect of her life. She did not know that Ativan was indicated for short use only, not the years that her doctor prescribed.
The author, incredibly, never seemed to lose her perspective or her innate humor and warmth. She remained a loving and devoted mother to her two young children, and a supportive wife. Her marriage at time was stretched to the brink by her horrible insomnia and then, by her physical addiction.
“I have no tumor to point to, no lab results over which we can cry together and show friends and family, no known story of what is happening to me. There is only the fire that I tell him is in my head.”
I applaud Ms. Bond for sharing her her very personal story in all its intimate detail. I have been on a memoir/non-fiction kick lately, and to say this story is a page-turner is an understatement. I related to many of the author’s issues and loved her writing style. This book is not preachy, but is told in a very straightforward, relatable way. Highly recommend!
”This is the story of millions of people just like me. I just happen to have survived. I just happen to be upright.”
(Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy in return for an honest review.)