Blood Orange Night: My Journey to the Edge of Madness

Blood Orange Night: My Journey to the Edge of Madness

by Melissa Bond
Blood Orange Night: My Journey to the Edge of Madness

Blood Orange Night: My Journey to the Edge of Madness

by Melissa Bond


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Melissa Bond's extraordinary memoir of an accidental addiction, and what it took to recover. The writing here is propulsive and vivid; you’re with the author through some truly nightmarish events, most especially the blood orange night of the title.

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 regularly.

Following her doctor’s orders, Melissa takes the pills night after night until her body begins to shut down. Only when she collapses while holding her daughter does Melissa learn that her doctor—like so many others—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. “Propulsive, poetic” (Shelf Awareness), and immersive, this “vivid chronicle of suffering” (Kirkus Reviews) and redemption shines a light on the prescription benzodiazepine epidemic as it reaches a crisis point in this country.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982188276
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 06/14/2022
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 47,808
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Melissa Bond is narrative journalist and poet. In the years of her dependence on benzodiazepines, Melissa blogged and became a regular contributor for Mad in America. ABC World News Tonight interviewed her for a piece in January 2014. Melissa is a respected writer on the perils of over-prescribing benzodiazepines and has been featured on the podcasts Risk!, IGNTD, and The Addiction Podcast. Learn more at

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Part 1 Insomnia

ABC Wants to Know 3

His Heart 7

Sting and the Radiant Boy 17

Easter Egg Blue 23

The Night Rises and Grows Pale 31

Scribbles on a Page 45

Part 2 The Book of Sleep

Manic 53

Blur 61

Redemption and the Manga Chick 67

Pool of the Pelvis 83

Specimen Haze 95

Slip V Slide 101

Stage of the Bargain 109

Into the Soft Air 115

Part 3 Dr. Amazing

"It's an Incredible Drug" 121

The Lost Year 129

Cave-In 139

The Sky Is Failing 147

"Kiss the Kids, I'm Sorry" 161

Blazing Green with No Red in Sight 169

Siberia 185

Part 4 Great Balls of Fire

Down by Five 193

Hunched and Cocky 203

Five-Foot Dragon 213

Giant Black Wall of Destruction 219

Normal 225

The Insomnia Tapes 231

Benzos Don't Have Cleavage 247

The Book of Waking 253

Metaphor of the Holes 257

Afterword 263

Acknowledgments 267

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