I can’t remember a time (sober) where I didn’t hate myself. From my hair, always too curly and frizzy, to my face, always a breakout somewhere and too pale, to my body, always too fat. These things were reinforced by others even the men I was intimate with. I have had men make elephant noises at me in public after just being with me the night before. When I drank and was manic there were times I felt attractive I don’t know why. So after being 250 pounds for years and now being 135 I am having a hard time adjusting.
I am going to several concerts soon. I have not been to a concert sober. I have not been to one at my new weight. I have no clue what to wear. When I was big people would say “you dress really well for someone your size” gee thanks! Now I am clueless. I look in the mirror and still see someone I don’t like. Oh and when people ask how I lost the weight I don’t lie. I tell them I have Celiac Disease and that I am Bipolar and between the two I lost weight. The response I always get is “so you didn’t do it the right way”. I can’t win. I should just lie. But why should I have to? No one will go clothes shopping with me. My best friend hates shopping and my sister has her reasons. So when 2 salesgirls helped me today and went out of their way to be nice because the saw how frustrated I was I couldn’t help but think these two strangers have shown more compassion and kindness than my own family members. Then they asked how come I didn’t have anyone with me to help me out. I started crying. One of the girls hugged me and said it’s ok. I told her I was sorry. I then explained why I was crying. She told me what days she worked so I could come back and try on more clothes and so she would have more time. They don’t work on commission so she was genuine. I am so sad about the people in my life it gives me a pain in my chest. I’m working on how I see myself now if they could work on understanding and accepting me I might have a chance.
Hi, my name is Dana and I am an alcoholic. I drank for 20 years before starting my sobriety. I started as an everyday drinker then went to binge drinking. I do everything assbackwards. My blogs if you have read any of them are usually rambling and start out ok then get off topic and end I don’t even know where.
Hangovers were never really that bad for me. I could handle them. It wasn’t until the last 3 or 4 years of my drinking that they were horrendous. They lasted up to 5 days and at times I would vomit blood. My anxiety was out of control I had butterflies in my stomach constantly and had developed an ulcer. I also had gallbladder attacks and stones. I didn’t know I had Celiac Disease and was basically poisoning myself. I was depleting my brain of important vitamins and minerals it needed to work properly. This caused damage that could not be undone. I also have Bipolar Disorder and even the top doctors can’t tell me which is caused by the Celiac or the Bipolar. My stutter is under the symptoms of Celiac so are my tremors. They are both found in patients with Bipolar or Conversion Disorder. The problem I have with memory and word pulling/grasping are under both also. All the cognitive issues I have are found in both Celiac and Bipolar patients except maybe the swelling in one are of my brain. None of the doctors had an answer for that one except one who said it was from an in utero infection when I was in my mother’s womb and not to worry about it. I have a twin wouldn’t she have gotten the infection also? He got rid of me really fast when I asked that. So blame it on the alcohol. It works for me.
I started this blog about alcoholism and being diagnosed Bipolar because I had some had experiences in therapy and in programs for alcoholics. Some do really well with therapy and substance abuse programs. I just wasn’t one of them.And before anyone can say I didn’t give either a chance I will tell you that I attended meetings for 2 years and saw many therapists. I was court appointed to a drug and alcohol therapist for almost 2 years. She was very nice but I didn’t stop drinking, this wasn’t her fault she didn’t know what she was dealing with.
I live in a small state. The smallest in fact. Eventually you run into someone who knows somebody that knows you. That wasn’t really the problem I didn’t think I was invisible when I drank. I did manage to hide it well from family and work. I just never felt I could speak honestly at meetings. The old timers ran everything no matter where you went. They didn’t tolerate certain kinds of sharing and you were publicly admonished if they thought what you shared was inappropriate. It made me angry and I am not a person that says anything. There were a few like me but not many. I was dealing with an undiagnosed mental illness at the time so my experiences were a little different. I had a sponsor that wanted 3 meetings a day out of me. I worked 50 hours a week and helped with my mom who was going through cancer. She was “I found time to drink I could find time for the meetings”. I drank at night usually on the weekends by this time so that didn’t t make sense to me. Then came the “we are not a religious organization but we say a prayer at the end of every meeting and if you don’t you will be given the stink eye and ostracized” thing. I know it isn’t like this everywhere but in my state it is.
When you are Bipolar you find it extremely difficult to socialize. When you are forced to it just makes things worse. Family, friends, and acquaintances have questioned my writing this blog. Some are even upset. I have told them not to read it. I don’t use anyone’s names except my own. My doctor thinks this is good for me because I am medication resistant and therapy resistant due to some cognitive issues and memory problems. I even got a second opinion just to shut up some people that had threatened to stop talking to me unless I went to therapy. Here’s another thing. There are only 6 therapists in my state taking Medicare right now and not one of them is seeing New patients. But I am to blame. This is what I deal with daily. In a 3 minute phone conversation with my sister the other day she said the words “if you were normal” at least 4 times. She said she couldn’t handle me anymore and sisters don’t talk on the phone everyday. I always thought they did especially when their father is in kidney failure and they have lost their mom and are twins. My mistake. I am an embarrassment to her. I always have been and she is afraid people will find out exactly how she treats her family. Too bad I am not going to pretend I am something I’m not always being compared to the one that went to college, got married, has 2 beautiful children, has traveled everywhere, was never called the fat one and never had to change our mother’s diaper. She can play the victim all she wants but I am officially done. If this means I am alone so be it. I would have given anything to have children and have someone tell me they love me instead of trying to drink myself to death because I never thought I was good enough for this world. Thinking I was so useless and disgusting I would give myself to anyone to try and prove I wasn’t. It’s why I have been celibate for years now because I do not have to prove anything. I still hurt inside but I am deciding not to show it anymore if I can, my stutter gives me away but maybe if I stop talking it will be ok.
I have not been feeling well lately, I admit that. I have been crying often and have very little support. Some of this is my fault and some it is due to insurance. I can’t bring myself to actually get dressed and go to a Dr. When it is 20 degrees out and snowing it’s even harder for me. I live with my dad who is going through dialysis. He doesn’t always feel great either. He used to be my rock, we talked about everything. Animals, the news , movies, current events, just whatever was going on. We don’t do that anymore. He sits and looks on Ebay at clocks. I look at stuff on the computer and tv. If I try to talk to him he snaps at me because he can’t hear me or he doesn’t want to talk. I then cry. He then yells at me to “quit my crying” or says “jesus christ I thought you would be over this by now”. Meaning my Bipolar Disorder. Today was a really bad day, my sister hasn’t called me back in 3 days, my best friend hasn’t in over a week. So he started in again. I took the bait like an idiot saying I couldn’t really control it. Then the subject of ECT came up and he said he didn’t really have ECT and I said “really? Did the Dr. rub his feet on the carpet and shock me that way?” Cause that’s not how I remember it. Then he said he didn’t want to get into it. I was suppose to have more treatments. I said ” then you try it if you think it’s so great you’ll be on your goddamn knees begging for your mother! You couldn’t handle it!” Wrong things to say it was downhill from there. To minimize my experience was a shitty thing to do. A Dr. I didn’t know did the procedure, took all my meds away before and after it was done and wouldn’t release me when he was suppose to. Nothing went according to plan. Being forced to stay in a locked co-ed ward with mentally ill and detoxing patients was not what I signed on for. Being kept longer because you disagreed with the Dr. was something I still have nightmares about. Waking up thinking your 5 and your mommy is coming to get you (even though she is dead) is horrendous. Thinking this for most of the day until I remembered her death on my own was enough to make me want to bitchslap the Dr. for having the staff go along with this. Making it sound like a picnic was heartbreaking to me. Coming from the mouth of my hero, my rock. Trying to let it all go is something I struggle with. But I keep trying. Why I ask myself I don’t know. I want a better quality of life but it seams so allusive at times.
Everyone in the Mental Health Community has their own opinion about medications. Some swear by a “no medication” lifestyle, and use diet to control their Bipolar symptoms. Others will tell you the only way to go is Lithium. And still you have patients that have had great success with ECT or a mix of antidepressants with a mood stabilizer. No one can tell you what’s right for you. Only you can judge your reaction to a med or procedure.
My aunt constantly goes on and on about Lithium and how great it is. She has been on it for many years. All I remember is never wanting to be around her. She was always loud and sounded like she was a little drunk. This is what formed my opinion of Lithium. I also have existing problems with my liver and kidneys so why take the chance? I have given up repeating myself so now I just say “yeah” when she starts in or I don’t answer the phone. This is cruel to do because I now know people do it to me. But she also likes to go on about my mother’s death and that I can not do.
There is too much judging within the Mental Health community over who takes what or who works and who is on disability. I have seen arguments about marijuana use versus meds and alcohol, it’s all detrimental to the cause as a whole. If we stigmatize each other how can we expect our peers not to? I take Adderrall with an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, and an anti-anxiety med (as needed) and boy to hear it from people. What’s the Adderrall for? It’s constant. The pharmacy is the worse. It is actually used quite a bit in psychiatry. For some reason it helps my stutter and I don’t cry as much. I can function a little bit. When I tried going down on the dosage to see what would happen it was horrible. Within a few days I was waking up crying and my stutter was at a point I couldn’t talk at all. I forgot to mention I have tremors in my hands too that it helps with that came back. I also couldn’t stop falling asleep. I would wake up suddenly with drool running down my face. So I’ll be keeping that for now.
As far as the antidepressant goes I have noticed a change. I am cycling often. My depressive episodes are more often and last longer. I have read that this can happen if you have been on them for a long period of time. I have been on some kind of SSRI since I was 17. I am 42 now and was not diagnosed with Bipolar until 37. I have been sober for a little over 5 and 1/2 years. I have had 1 round of ECT and did not find it pleasant. Plus it shot me into an extremely manic state. I thought it was funny the Dr. was worried. I have also been on the ones that begin with a M. MAOI or something like that. They were a no go too.
What I am saying is we are all wired differently. Scientists admit they will never know all there is to know about the brain. My own father, my hero, thinks I need to just tell myself it’s ok and I’ll be happy. That alone rips my heart out. No matter what I give him to read or what I tell him he still thinks it’s a matter of will. Who would ever chose to live this lonely awful aching existence? To feel worthless most of your life. To always be a watcher in life and never really living it yourself? This isn’t what I chose and when I try to take part everything in me is fighting, telling me I can’t, but I keep trying. I have to or there’s nothing left.
So say what you have to. I’m going to do what feels right for me. And I’ll fight for anyone else that wants to do the same.
I reacted oddly to alcohol. It’s the reason I loved it so much. Most of the time it was a stimulant for me, I would still be drinking at 4:00 a.m. while everyone else was passed out. I would start at 5:00p.m. and continue until the next morning. When I drank I usually felt sure of myself, cocky, almost even attractive. I would talk to people and laugh. I was the complete opposite of my sober self. I even had a backbone at times which always got me in trouble. What I couldn’t say sober would all come out when I was drinking. Which made me one sarcastic bitch. Half the time people didn’t realize it because I always hung with a group that drank or partied a lot like me but were from a different background. I had graduated highschool and one semester of college where most of them had quit highschool and had been in jail at one time or another. This was from the age of 17 to maybe 28 I’m not 100% on the timeline. It was when I drank not the most but more frequently. Binge drinking is just as bad as everyday drinking. Binge drinking took more of a toll on my body and brain. I also react differently to painkillers. I will get super hyper but still have pain so I have to be careful with what I take. A lot of Bipolar people are like this. Alcohol helped to mask my Bipolar symptoms and make me feel like I belonged in the world. Sooner or later that ends. The worm turns and it doesn’t work for you anymore, you’re just as desperate as you were 20 years ago.
You do meet some characters and go to places you normally wouldn’t. Every year this family had a “Mega-Kegga” where you paid $10 to drink as much as you wanted, there was a pig roast and a live band. They rented “port-a-potties” and everything. I usually had a fun time I think. One year it had rained the night before and the grounds of the family home were muddy. I went into a port a pottie did my thing and was pulling up my pants when I heard my friend John shouting at me from outside. I was drunk so I didn’t understand he was telling me that the pottie was sliding and getting ready to tip over. Yup. It did. With me inside, pants only half way up and other people’s waste on me. At the time I was laughing but it was gross.
Another time I went to a dive bar with a couple of older guys I knew. I was underage. I wasn’t paying attention until I heard the guy near me scream. My friend had thrown a dart in his foot. When I asked him why he said because the other guy we were with was trying to sell me to him for $10 and it pissed him off. I just said ok and we left. Second time we went there someone was shot and I said that’s it we’re not going there anymore. Stupid me didn’t know that’s where they were getting their heroin from. I also didn’t know the one I was “dating” was using or that the teardrop tattoo under his eye didn’t mean he was “sensitive” or that he did 7 years time in Florida. Things I probably should have asked more about.
My brain does have some issues. No Dr. will say that the issues are definately alcohol related or not. I have a significant loss of white matter and a T2 hyperintensity that looks like a lightning bolt on one side of my brain. I have word grasping problems. Where the word is there in my head but I just can’t grasp it. And I stutter under stress or when really upset. I see words jumbled now when I didn’t before. It takes me longer to figure out what to say and the world is not a patient place. Sometimes I don’t talk to a person for days and when I do I get over excited and talk too much about everything that’s been in my head. Then the person is scared off or annoyed. It’s a lonely place to be.