Please Share If You…….

I am an Alcoholic with Bipolar and Conversion Disorder. I have been sober over 7 years. I come from a long line of alcoholics and family members with mental health issues. My niece was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder around the age of 15. She was diagnosed before me. Her diagnosis actually helped me get my diagnosis. I have probably been Bipolar from the age of 12/13. At 17 I started drinking. My niece chose heroin to self medicate. She has been clean for 2 years or so. She may have had 1 slip up. My brother, her father, is an active alcoholic.

My brother and ex sister in law would fight often in front of the kids when they were little. It would get pretty bad. My ex sister in law chose to stay with my brother for far too many years. My mother would even beg her to leave for the kids. She refused. When my brother eventually left her it was too late. The kids had been subjected to way too much. The oldest, like I said is Bipolar and a heroin addict in remission. The middle daughter cuts herself and has been caught drinking frequently. The youngest is graduating top of his class from high school and does nothing wrong.

The thing I hate is getting ridiculous “memes” or quotes from my sister in law and other members of Social Media. The most recent one is “Share if you hate heroin!”. I’ve received others saying “Share if you hate Cancer!” or other diseases. The problem I have is if I don’t share does it mean I “love” heroin or Cancer? No of course not. I think it’s a pointless thing to do.

As far as hating an addiction goes I feel it isn’t the alcohol’s fault or the drug of choice’s fault. You make a choice to use these as a tool to cope with a deeper issue. When you blame what you are addicted to instead of trying to find out WHY you are addicted you probably will not do well in your sobriety.

My father is an exception. He loathes alcohol. He quit drinking over 30 years ago. He won’t go anywhere that has a lot of alcohol. Just the smell of it angers him. The problem with this is he never talked about his drinking. He never learned the correct way to deal with his anxiety and anger. Those feelings have ruled over him for years. I recently asked him if he wanted at least a few good years of having the anxiety gone at least. He said if it involved talking to a Doctor, than no. So I tried. It wasn’t the first time. I can’t force him and I can’t be his verbal punching bag either. I disengage when he gets in a mood.

I detest that no one takes responsibility for their actions. Those kids wouldn’t have suffered half as much as they did if my brother had divorced earlier. My own mother was willing to take her and the kids in to live with us. All we would hear is “But I love him!”. Ok then stop complaining and do the right thing for your children. Instead my sister in law spent most of their marriage dragging my mother into their fights and the rest of us. For years there were phone calls in the middle of the night because of the both of them. They were toxic together. I have a hard time cutting her any slack because of the kids. I know it isn’t the nicest thing to feel or do but it’s how I feel.

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PREDNISONE & OTHER INFO

My father is on Prednisone for Temporal Arteritis. It’s an inflammatory disease that is diagnosed by bloodwork AND a Biopsy of the Temporal Artery. The Biopsy is the important part. Of course my father refuses to get a Biopsy and is going on the diagnosis made by the Emergency Room Doctor at a Hospital that has tried to kill him several times and had a huge hand in my mother’s death.

The Prednisone itself is a harsh medication. It makes it harder for you to fight infections, causes weight gain, brittle bones, diabetes, and changes in personality and mood. I no longer recognize my dad’s face or his personality. His face is so bloated his eyes look closed. He angers easily and has a problem controlling his temper. This is not the man I know and love. It is hard to watch him change.

He will not listen to me even though I live with him and I’ve always been the closest person to him besides my mom. If my sister came over and saw him and spoke to him about his health, for some reason he would listen. She’s too busy. She didn’t even talk to him on Easter. She feels that he knows how to work a phone too and should call her. She is an idiot with her head in the sand. It’s her favorite place to stay. That way she isn’t responsible for anything.

I have to go to a Hospital I’ve never been to tomorrow for testing before surgery. She can’t go with me because she is working the “book sale” at her kids school. My dad is going with me. I don’t want him to. He is sick and shouldn’t be around other people that are sick.

I really need him to come off the Prednisone. His Dr. at Dialysis says he needs to come off of it but gave him no suggestions or names of people to see. They have infiltrated his fistula 5 times now. I become more disgusted every time he comes home. I called there once because I was angry. My father was furious with me. He’s so filled with pride it’s going to kill him.

He has done nothing in regards to a Living Will or a regular Will. His state of affairs is a mess. Someone will have to deal with his 300 pigeons and his enormous antique clock collection. My sister believes she can just open the doors to the pigeon coops and they will fly away. She’s in for a big surprise. My sister and brother know nothing about antique clocks either. They do not know what is worthless and what is valuable. I imagine a yard sale with over 100 antique clocks all priced at $10.

I’ve stopped worrying about it. They can have it all. I would rather have my dad. My plan is to take off as soon as anything happens to my father. Let them deal with the mess I’ve been dealing with for years. I’ll live in my car if I have to. L.A. has a very nice homeless population in this one area I know of. There is a car wash across the street where most of them wash up. It doesn’t scare me anymore to think of that happening to me. I would be more afraid of being hospitalized against my wishes.

Back to the Prednisone. I need to find a way to get him weaned off of it. I may have to play nice with my sister and get her to talk to him.

In case I forget I watched a YouTube video of a young woman who had a Nephrostomy. This is where they have 2 tubes coming out of your back to drain your kidneys. This may be in store for me. I really, really, hope not. I’ll have to weigh quality of life against quantity at that point.

Pressure, Guilt, and Understanding

Putting pressure on me to do something is the surest way to get me NOT to do it. I hate guilt trips too. I wish family, society, the world, would try to understand what it takes for some of us to simply get out of bed.

My ex-sister in law called this morning to wish us a Happy Easter!!! She is the type of person who comes across as super happy even when she isn’t. She is a big believer in, if you think positive you can do anything. She has also found religion in the last few years. I am happy for her as long as she doesn’t pressure me into anything. I am basically an Atheist. I believe in the Sun, Moon, Sky, Earth, Water, Wildlife, and the beauty I can see in things everyday. When I recently reminded my ex-sister in law of this her response was ” You are not an Atheist. I don’t believe that!”. Ok don’t. It doesn’t change my mind.

She shares her religious sayings and positivity with me and others on Facebook. I scroll on by. She told my father that my nephew is graduating from high school and is the Valedictorian. She insisted that my dad and I had to go to his graduation.

She never seems to understand what a toll things like this take on my dad and I. My dad is 73 in June. He is on Dialysis three times a week. He’s had a quadruple bypass, an aortic aneurism, and now Temporal Arteritis. He is on extremely high doses of Prednisone that make him ill and uncomfortably bloated. I’ve had my kidneys fail twice in 6 months, stents put in that have to be changed on the 31st, an infection that is being treated with 1,000 mgs of an antibiotic a day. The antibiotic is making me sick. There are few days where I actually feel healthy. Yet she still insists. There’s also the fact that they cut my brother out of everything but still invite us. I don’t like it. Instead I send a gift or a card with money in it and make sure I talk to them personally to tell them I love them. They don’t care if I’m there or not. My nieces and nephew are more concerned with boyfriends, girlfriends, and friends. It’s their mother who can’t let go.

I’m tired of having to explain myself to anyone. I shouldn’t have to. This morning a clerk at the grocery store embarrassed my dad. He can’t hear well and the Prednisone makes his hands shake. He pushed the wrong button twice. She snapped at him and yanked the machine around and said “I’ll just do it!”. Some compassion please??? I told my dad that when I go to the store now I kind of let them know that I have problems listening or lifting heavy things. I don’t come out and say “Hey, I’m Bipolar and don’t feel well physically so could you treat me with respect?” I do say something like “Wow, I hate allergy season my ear always gets blocked!” and then I laugh. Most of the time this takes them out of their “I hate working with the public” mode long enough for them to have a slight understanding that their customers are human also. I worked with the public for over 18 years. I know how difficult it can be. I also know that it doesn’t give anyone the right to take out their frustrations on me or my loved ones. I really wanted to call the store on my dad’s behalf but I didn’t.

If you have loved ones in your family that are chronically ill don’t try to force them to do things they feel they can’t do or don’t want to do. My father still feels an enormous amount of survivor’s guilt. He feels bad enjoying family things when my mom is no longer here to do it with him. It depresses him to a point where he just isolates himself more. I know it’s frustrating to other people but think how you would feel losing your best friend and the love of your life. My mom would order for him in restaurants because he’s quiet and mumbles. Plus he’s had ringing in his ears since he was in the Navy. My mom was so loud and outgoing he was happy to let her take over when it came to social situations. Then one day he was thrown into the world without her. I can think of nothing sadder than that. I have to end this now because I’m crying. Happy Easter.

 

A MUST SEE: THE REVENANT

There have not been many movies lately that I’ve been dying to see. The Revenant was one of the ones I’ve been waiting for. I’ve thought of nothing else but this movie’s effect on me.

Disclaimer: The politically correct term Native Americans I intertwined with the movie’s term of “Indian” only to show the time period of the film.

Spoilers: This review/commentary contains spoilers. You can still enjoy the film they aren’t game changers.

The Revenant: Leonardo DiCaprio Tom Hardy

Rated: R

 

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Glass, a scout for a group of fur trappers and soldiers. With him he has his young son who is part Native American. Tom Hardy is Fitzgerald, a trapper not part of the group of soldiers in the hunting party. Fitzgerald is also someone who hates Indians due to his partial scalping years ago.

Glass and his son help the group find the best places for trapping and how to avoid attacks by the local Indians. In flashbacks we are shown the love Glass had for his Native American wife and the events that bring Glass and his son so close together. Their bond as father and son is deep.

During their expedition the group is attacked by a local tribe. With the help of Glass and his son a handful of the men are able to escape to safety. But because Glass’s son is half Native American and Glass lived with a tribe, a select few blame the attack on him. This causes internal strife amongst the soldiers and the trappers. They argue which direction to go in and who to follow. Making the situation worse Glass is savagely attacked by a bear protecting her cubs. Glass is now considered “dead weight” and the men want to leave him behind. His son wants to stay with him along with another loyal boy. The leader of the group offers extra money to whoever does stay behind. He won’t leave the two young boys to fend for themselves so they agree to give up their share of the money to anyone else who volunteers. Of course Fitzgerald offers his assistance.

Fitzgerald is told to only leave when and if Glass dies, to give him a proper burial, or he doesn’t get his money.

I’m trying not to give everything away but it’s hard. The story gives an astute insight on the subjects of grief, redemption, forgiveness, and the lengths one would go to in order to avenge a loved ones death/murder.

Glass’s character is so consumed by vengeance he doesn’t care about his own life. He will do and survive anything to reach his goal.

From the musical score to the breathtaking cinematography this film was perfection. There isn’t a lot of dialogue and there doesn’t need to be. Leonardo DiCaprio says it all with his face. Personally I think this is the best performance of his career.

Tom Hardy, who is no slouch himself, plays his part so well you hate him. Even a die hard fan like me was rooting against him. It was sometimes difficult to watch him portray a man so detestable. I didn’t even feel that way watching Bronson! It shows just how ingenious his work is.

The film is long but never feels like it’s dragging. I wanted it to continue. Unlike Spotlight where I felt every minute ticking by.

There is no doubt in my mind that The Revenant should have won Best Picture. I’ll have to settle for it’s wins in Best Actor, Directing, and Cinematography.

When I am still thinking about a film days later I know it made an impact. Sometimes award shows are to mired in the social and political aspects of a movie instead of going with how the movie made you think and feel. After watching The Revenant I thought of my own losses and grief. Would taking revenge really make me feel better? Is it worth the repercussions? Does it start a never ending cycle? I don’t believe too much in forgiveness given certain situations. I’ve always struggled with the concept. You have to be prepared to give up everything once you take that dark path. I’m not ready for that I still have so much to do.

One of those things is to watch The Revenant again.

A New Experience

I recently met with a new Urologist. This is my fifth. The primary Urologist I had was the type of doctor that saw two things when he looked me. Bipolar Disorder and my bladder (ureters). He never saw me as a whole person. No one has been able to find a cause for my kidney failure and as I would have my first consult with each new doctor they would end with “I don’t know what I could do for you”. To me this was unacceptable. The Nephrologist telling me I really only have one kidney and my choices were stents for the rest of my life or tubes coming out of my back. He thought it was good news.

The new Urologist was kind and compassionate. He explained in detail what the tubes coming out of my back would be like. They would hang down against the sides of my legs with little drainage bags at the end. I could never shower again and would have to do sponge baths only. The tubes are open to infection and get infected often. He told me he would try his hardest to make sure this wasn’t an option. He’s going to try a new kind of stent that the doctors I had been to previously didn’t have access to yet. He also said that there is a surgery similar to a kidney transplant but it involves your own kidney. He said this was a worse case scenario. He thinks that I will probably have to have stents the rest of my life. They aren’t so bad. The only downside to them is going under anesthesia every 3 to 4 months. It isn’t good to have that much anesthesia. The last 2 times my brain didn’t want to come out of the anesthesia. This is part of the Conversion Disorder. I can only hope it doesn’t happen again.

Right now I’m battling an infection and have to take 1,000 milligrams of an antibiotic for two weeks. I’m not feeling all that great. Plus my good computer is acting up and I have tried everything to fix it. The dog needs to be neutered ($180), I need an eye exam to get my contacts ($250), and I have a cavity. Oh! My car is acting weird too. I hate being stressed about money. I wish there was a way for me to do something to make money without interfering with Disability. I’m limited in what I can do. There isn’t much out there. I feel pretty good considering all of this. Mentally I have been doing better I just hope it lasts longer this time.

TO EXPERIENCE

I can only relay what I have experienced with my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism. I can also tell you what I HAVE NOT experienced because of Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism.

My health is a little up in the air right now. It’s reached the point where I think of the things I’ve never done. Things that I would like to before I can’t.

To be touched by a man that loves me without violence or alcohol.

I’ve never had that.

To be kissed by a sober man or even hold hands with one while I am also sober.

I’ve never done that.

To  travel by myself somewhere warm and just breathe.

To have happiness for longer than a week.

For people to see me as I really am. Or to be seen at all.

To be able to make friends easily to ease the loneliness.

These are not huge things but to me they are. I still work on them but feel time is running out. Some things I’ll have to accept won’t happen. That’s ok. As long as I am me and not pretending to be someone else.

 

Trouble

I responded to a post about the A.A. organization. The person writing the post went over the regulations for A.A. The problem is it contradicted itself. The writer’s response to A.A. being a religious organization was that it might have been that particular meeting. If you didn’t like it you can “start your own meeting down the street”.

It was also pointed out that A.A. does not make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses. There’s no leader or religious affiliation. Then there was a list of what A.A. DOES DO.

A.A. has helped many people and I realize meetings are different across the country. The problem is the naivete that everyone will follow these dos and don’ts on their own without regulation. It just doesn’t happen.

In my State, and yes I went to many different meetings across my State, almost all meetings are held in a church or on church property. At the end of the meeting they say a prayer. I received many a dirty look for not holding hands and reciting along.

I was strongly encouraged to go off of my Depression medication because it was a “crutch” and my Anxiety wasn’t Anxiety it was probably my gallbladder.

When I first tried A.A. I was young and damaged. I have a hard time thinking I could have started my own meeting when I couldn’t even write my name.

So who makes sure A.A. does what it was set up to do and not what it isn’t suppose to do? Are you just suppose to go from meeting to meeting until you find one that fits? Most people attending meetings were getting rides from other people or walking due to D.U.I charges or financial situations. It’s absurd. It’s offensive for me to see someone write “If you don’t like the meeting you can go down the street and start your own”. It’s flippant.