Category Archives: Addiction and Mental Health

PTSD, Triggers, Keeping Silent And Remembering Trauma

The smallest things will trigger a response from me. A loud male voice behind me at the grocery store, the smell of beer and leather, bright lights and loud music, aggressive men in general, and even the way my Dad calls my name sometimes startles me.

Deep in the back of my mind I think I still resent my Dad for the way he handled everything. For the way he shook his hand and thanked him for bringing me home. For the way he called me a “drunk and a liar” as I was on the floor covered in blood in and out of consciousness.

I told myself I deserved it for many years. I allowed other men to treat me just as bad. Mostly because I was told by my own family that no one would believe me. I shouldn’t have been there. I shouldn’t have been drinking.

It wasn’t the first time it was just the worst time.

REMEMBERING THAT NIGHT

I don’t remember the day. I don’t remember the exact year. I remember the apartment because I was there everyday. I remember the person because we had been as close as two people can be for over 10 years. We were both alcoholics. The only difference was I did my drinking between 4pm and 3am. I never drank during the day and I never drank alone. He drank whenever, by himself or with other people.

Over the years I had seen him be cruel. He had been physical with me on a fee occasions but I wasn’t a small girl and always thought I could handle him. I admit to drinking to the point of blacking out and having no memory of the previous night. I know during these times some things happened without my permission. I only know this by how I looked when I woke up and where I woke up.

I was undiagnosed Bipolar and doing anything I could to not feel emotions. My alcoholism eventually made this a million times worse. I also admit I wasn’t always nice while drinking. I could be obnoxious, jealous, and petty.

I would try to stop or slow down my drinking many times.

One night I took my cousin to the apartment with me, I wasn’t drinking. Someone thought it would be funny to put Rum in my soda. I took a big gulp and that was it. He was pissed and said “You better not get drunk because you’re not staying here tonight”. Of course this pissed me off and I thought “Who the hell is he to tell me how much to drink? He wouldn’t even have groceries or clean laundry if it wasn’t for me.” So I drank and drank.

At some point we started to argue. I remember asking him what the big deal was. Over the years he always said to me “You always hurt the ones you love the most”. And he did.

I turned my back to walk away from him and he picked up one of the heavy oak chairs on wheels that came with a beautiful table that turned into poker table and hit me over the back of my head.

I think I fought back and angered him because he grabbed my hair and pulled me to the floor. He got on top of me with all his weight, pinning my arms down with his knees.

He started punching me in the face, he wore a skull ring. With each punch he said a word “YOU, STUPID, FUCKING, BITCH” I remember spit flying out of his mouth and my nose swelling shut.

The blood started to go down the back of my throat and I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t get any air and I couldn’t move. For the first time ever I was terrified.

Eventually he pulled me up by my hair. I noticed one of the bedroom doors open and a girl I had known for years looked out at me and hurried up to shut the door. I know I said “Help” but maybe I wasn’t loud enough. I had bleach blond hair at the time and it was soaked with blood. My clothes were soaked with blood.

He dragged me to his apartment door which was always open and threw me down the stairs. I don’t know how long I stayed at the bottom of the stairs.

The next thing I remember he’s trying to get me to a car and I fall on my hands and knees in a puddle.

He had his friend drive me and my cousin to my parent’s home. He carried me to the door where he told them I fell. I kept trying to tell them it was him and I didn’t just fall.

It might have been the blow to the head because I wasn’t able to remain conscious. My Dad took this as a sign of being extremely drunk.

When I could speak and told my parents as much as I could my Dad said no one would believe me. I shouldn’t have been there and I was a drunk and a liar. They told me not to go to the Hospital and that I would be fine.

I wasn’t fine and wouldn’t be fine for the rest of my life.

The heavy chair hitting my head had actually caused permanent damage. I found this out 6 months ago.

PTSD is bad enough. When you have an underlying mental health issue like Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and Substance Abuse Disorders, it can turn into something much more complicated.

Dealing with Conversion Disorder has been as bad as coping with Bipolar. I never really know what is going to set it off. It’s embarrassing to start stuttering and have people stare at you. To start shaking and have your hands tremor so bad you can’t count change. To have no control over your body.

My family doesn’t like to talk about any of it. He admitted to a bar full of people what he did. A friend of my brother’s was there. He also called my brother that night saying “I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re gonna hear but it’s not true” None of this made sense and my brother called wanting to know what was going on. My parents said it was a misunderstanding.

Two years later he was arrested for Domestic Assault & Battery and was sent to counseling. He broke the woman’s jaw.

These are some of the reasons we stay silent. We’re talked out of it, told no one will believe us or we see that nothing is really done about it.ddc04855251fa6c0f0d2cc95d4f717f1

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TAKING CARE OF DAD~ MORE ON THE ELDERLY AND ADDICTION

There are some people who abuse alcohol or drugs their entire lives and live to be 80 years old with no problem. On the flip side of this you have people who later in life, form addictions due to an “event” or “trigger”.

Retirement, death of a spouse or loved one, loss of income, or a decline in physical health can all be triggers for addiction in older people. Depression is one of the biggest problems.

You wake up one day unable to do the things you once loved, worried about finances, still grieving the loss of your wife/husband who was also your best friend, your children have their own lives now and you find you have fewer people to talk to. All of these things can lead to depression.

I’ll discuss more about depression at a later date.

A person’s age and gender contributes greatly to how open and honest they will be when answering a doctor’s questions but doctors play a role too. Too often an older adult’s concerns are dismissed as “old age” and prescription medications are used to solve the problem.

The #1 drug prescribed to people over the age of 65 and on Medicare are Benzodiazepines. They are used to treat anxiety, pain, and insomnia. They are also one of the most dangerous medications prescribed to seniors.

According to the American Geriatric Society benzodiazepines pose an increased risk for impaired alertness, respiratory depression and falls.

All benzodiazepines slow down the Central Nervous System. When used for insomnia it’s only effective for a few weeks. When combined with another benzodiazepine you can lose consciousness and stop breathing.

There are symptoms people experience when combining benzodiazepines that you need to contact your doctor if you exhibit:

  1. Continuing slurred speech or confusion.
  2. Severe drowsiness or weakness.
  3. Staggering.

There is a big issue with over-prescribing or “polypharmacy” which means having more prescribed medications on a daily or weekly basis than is healthy for one person to have. It becomes dangerous due to different drug interactions and side effects.

A person with a chronic or serious illness can find it challenging to keep up with a complicated medication schedule. Taking multiple meds at one time can cause some medications to neutralize each other so they end up taking more believing they either didn’t take it or it’s not working.

My Dad didn’t understand why he was still feeling so anxious specifically at the end of his dialysis treatments. He wouldn’t understand unless he had a degree in Pharmacodynamics or was a doctor (most doctors still don’t understand how to adjust medications for patients on dialysis). The pain medication he was on for his compressed nerve was making him anxious as it was being dialyzed. The anxiety medication he normally takes is at a very low dose. He didn’t think twice about doubling the anxiety medication. He would be unsteady on his feet when leaving the Dialysis Center and no one said a word.

Some people go to more than one doctor who may prescribe a medication without knowing what the patient is already taking. Patients don’t always remember all of their medications and don’t make a list like they are asked to.

I usually go with my Dad to any new appointments to fill out the paperwork and list all of his medications. His Nephrologist doesn’t see him in his office he visits him during his dialysis treatment. This means I can’t be there. I’m not there to fill out any new paperwork or to let them know about any new medications. My Dad isn’t going to tell them. My Dad will say everything is “Fine” when the doctor comes around.

Primary Care Physicians should be going over a patient’s list of medications on a regular basis and making adjustments. I know my Dad’s does not. If he did he wouldn’t have prescribed 2 benzodiazepines with an opioid. My Dad shouldn’t still be on Klonopin and they should be looking at Chronic Pain Management instead of him taking Hydrocodone that isn’t even working. I made him stop taking the Restoril. I personally wanted to go to his doctor’s office and tear him a new one for even prescribing it to a 75 year old man. It’s a dangerous medication for anyone to take long term but even more so for people over 65.

None of this matters when you are dealing with someone so full of pride and stubbornness that he won’t admit just how sick he is.


TAKING CARE OF DAD~A LOOK AT ADDICTION IN THE ELDERLY

Chronic pain conditions affect about 30% of elderly people. The first line of treatment they are given when they see their doctor is either an immediate or extended release opioid medication like hydrocodone with acetaminophen.

Elderly patients with chronic pain usually develop insomnia which in turn can make pain worse.

Benzodiazepines are often prescribed for insomnia and anxiety. These would be medications like Klonopin and Ativan. Insomnia and anxiety can both occur with chronic pain.

Older patients  have an increased sensitivity to Benzodiazepines. As we get older we don’t metabolize medications the same way we used to. This can cause an increase in sedation and memory loss. Unfortunately too many people are unaware of this.

With the opioid addiction crisis becoming more of a problem the CDC came up with a set of guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

The guidelines are intended to improve communication between providers and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy and reduce the risks associated with long-term opioid therapy.

Nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain. Clinicians should consider opioid therapy only if expected benefits for both pain and function are anticipated to outweigh risks to the patient. If opioids are used, the should be combined with nonpharmacologic therapy.

Clinicians should prescribe immediate release opioids at first and at the lowest dose. For acute pain 3 days or less is often sufficient, more than 7 days is rarely needed.

Clinicians should avoid prescribing opioid pain medications and benzodiazepines concurrently whenever possible.

My Dad has always had severe anxiety. He never told a doctor about it, I think he only discussed it with my Mom and me.

When he had to go on dialysis he found that towards the end of the three and half hours he felt the overwhelming urge to get up and leave. He couldn’t keep his legs still. He’s always had problems with his legs being restless. He’s always been a light sleeper and now the restless legs were causing him to get no sleep at all. He finally mentioned it to his Primary Care Doctor. His Doctor put him on Klonopin, 5mg three times a day or as needed. I know my Dad, he wasn’t going to take them three times a day and I felt comfortable with it being a low dose.

His health became worse and he was under more stress. He wasn’t sleeping at all and his legs were moving all the time. His Doctor prescribed Restoril 30mg. I wasn’t aware he was taking this medication until he was on it for a few months. I started to notice a change in his behavior.

Restoril is a benzodiazepine. Now he was taking 2 benzodiazepines but this one lasts longer in older adults. The other problem is how these medications work when you’re on dialysis. His Doctor has a habit of not taking this into consideration or looking it up. During the day he was off balance at times and sometimes sounded like he was slurring his words. I was pissed about it and told my Dad he shouldn’t be taking both medications that there were better alternatives, but he was so afraid of going back to not sleeping he wouldn’t listen.

My Dad hurt his back a few months ago. I repeatedly told him to go to the doctor but he refused. He finally went to his Primary Care Doctor who of course prescribed him Hydrocodone on top of everything else he was already taking. I didn’t know he was getting 90 at a time.

My Dad came home a few weeks ago extremely upset. He had crashed his truck into a guardrail and didn’t know how. The truck was brand new and completely totaled. He took out 200 feet of guardrail and both air bags deployed. He refused to go to the Hospital even though his ribs hurt. If they had tested his blood they would’ve found Klonopin, Restoril, and Hydrocodone in it and he would’ve been arrested. He had no idea the medications were still in his system and effecting him as much as they were.

You would think this would’ve scared him but it really hasn’t. He’s in so much pain from the compression in his back and the previous fractures that he can’t sleep. At 75 and being on dialysis he doesn’t want to have surgery and I don’t think anyone would do surgery. The doctors he’s seen have been useless.

I sit here and watch him fade away. He’s down to 149 pounds, he’s all bone with a sunk in face. He doesn’t look like my Dad. He’s getting up in the middle of the night and saying scary things like how he wants to die. He has no memory of what he says or does from the night before. I can’t remember the last time he said something positive.

I don’t know how much longer I can watch him pop pills slowly killing himself. I’ve done this already with my Mom.

I feel so guilty for wanting to have a life of my own. I’m also petrified because I’ve never been away from home.

I don’t want to be 75 and alone. My Dad has had a wife who adored him, children who love him, a job he loved, travel experiences, a lot of good memories. It’s sad that only 1 of his children worries about him but that’s most families. My siblings think I owe my parents because of what I put them through when I was younger. First, my brother was way worse than me. Second, I think I’ve more than made up for my mistakes in ways they will never know or understand. I did it with love, understanding, being there when needed, listening, and on occasion I made some of their dreams come true. I’m proud of that.

But it’s time for me to have a life. I won’t survive mentally watching my Dad die. He’s always been my hero I don’t want to think of him as anything else.


DECISIONS (I CAN’T MAKE THEM)

I have a million things I want to do. A million places I want to go. A million ideas to put into action.

The problem?

I can’t make decisions.

I have energy in my mind but not the rest of me. The thought of taking a shower, doing my hair, make up, getting dressed, is exhausting. So I don’t.

I’m tired all the time.

Then there is the anxiety. The feeling that something bad will happen if I leave the house. The extreme worry that my Dad will get sick or have an accident. It’s not far fetched.

On his way to the post office 2 weeks ago the package he was mailing started to slide off the seat. He took his eyes off the road for a second to catch it. When he did his truck hit the guardrail, his front tire got hooked on it and he took out 200 feet of guardrail. Both airbags deployed, the 2017 $25,000 truck was totaled, and he refused to go to the hospital.

I had to take care of everything for him. He isn’t a people person and he doesn’t hear very well. He thinks you get further dealing with people by using his deep angry voice when my mother always said “You get more with honey than you do with vinegar” a concept he never understood all the years they were married.

Where was my twin sister during this crisis? At the beach, sleeping, taking care of the kids, at the beach, and sleeping. To be fair she has ME/CFS? She had Mono for a long time that wouldn’t go away, she went to several doctors and no matter what they did she was still testing positive for Mono and could barely move. This went on for a few years when she started having a specific type of seizure where you might not notice right away. She would just stare off at nothing but I noticed 2 of her fingers would flutter when it happened. It was harder for me to have empathy because she never did with me.

Lately we were working on our relationship and had made a lot of progress. But I needed her these last 2 days and she couldn’t be there. I understand she’s tired and feels sick. I don’t feel well either. I’m having problems with my kidney stents which is beyond painful, a fever, and headache that makes you want to hit yourself in the head with a hammer.

There’s something really wrong with my Dad. I can’t handle it on my own. He’s lost so much weight. He has diarrhea all the time to the point he isn’t making it to the bathroom. I also noticed that it’s black which I know means blood. He’s cold all the time even when it’s 90 degrees outside. He isn’t sleeping, his legs move constantly. His Primary Care Doctor is giving him the wrong medications.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I didn’t have a summer. I wanted to go somewhere for a few weeks just to take a small break but I don’t think it’s possible. Who would check in on my Dad? I worry about everything all the time. Even about dying alone because I have no contact with the outside world. Plus I quit smoking and gained 30 pounds.


HOW MUCH LONGER?

I grow more tired every single day. My Dad grows more difficult to deal with each day. The pain medication mixed with anti-anxiety medication has changed his personality even more.

I find myself jumping at his voice and trying to make myself invisible when he’s around. I cringe when he slams doors and growls at the smallest things. I know he’s in pain but none of this is helping me.

Where are my siblings? My brother is somewhere in the state but I haven’t heard from him in at least 8 months. He never called to wish my Dad a Happy 75th Birthday in June and he hasn’t been by to get his mail.

My twin sister didn’t call my Dad on his birthday either. She called after his birthday or said she would. We are having a tough time. I need help with my Dad and she refuses. She lives 10 minutes away and doesn’t work. She did say that her “Mono” became active again and she had to rest. I then find out that she’s at her mother-in-law’s beach house with the kids going to all these events. Not resting.

My Dad fell out of his truck after dialysis the other day and couldn’t get himself up from the hot pavement in our driveway. I couldn’t hear him yelling my name. He eventually crawled to the door. One arm was covered in blood and missing the skin on his entire bicep. I couldn’t stop crying while I cleaned him up and bandaged everything. Of course he yelled at me to “Quit your crying!”. He’s my Dad, I couldn’t help it.

I can’t watch another parent die. I’m not healthy enough. My last stent exchange didn’t go well. It was done May 20th and I’m still urinating mostly blood (sorry for the over sharing). I also have a lot of pain in my back and pelvis. I know something is wrong but I can’t take care of it right now. My Dad is going for Injection Therapy on his back on the 31st. I have to take him. I hate the hospital he’s having it done at, it’s where my Mom passed away, it’s where I died for a short time when I went into Kidney Failure, and it’s where nurses commented on my mental health in front of me.

I’m tired, lonely, angry, disappointed, and keep wondering why I’m fighting so hard.

People go out of their way not to talk to me. It isn’t because of anything I’ve said or done. It’s because of what I might say or do. And that’s the worst part of all.6fdde65c60ad6b93a59fc21b54fa7621


WIDE AWAKE ROTTING

I don’t know why I blacked out. If it was the stress of dealing with my dad, the heat, me not feeling well, all I know is that I woke up on the floor.

When I woke up on the floor of my bedroom it was like I was somewhere else. I didn’t recognize this disgusting place filled with bags and bags of empty water bottles, paper towels, cigarette butts and ashes that had taken over the room. But it was my room. I had let it GET THAT BAD. I kept ignoring it or I didn’t want to see it. The shame of finally seeing what I let happen was too much. I had to leave it a little longer and remember what had triggered me in the first place.

I know I’ve been allowing people, places, and things said, get to me when I shouldn’t. I exist with every nerve ending exposed, my heart on my sleeve, and no protection. I always have, I also replay conversations and events in my mind that I feel were hurtful or that I deserved. (the key words are “I” and “I” am not a good judge because I am so sensitive) It’s probably one of the worst parts about it all, the constant film running in the background of my mind. It’s been the hardest thing for me to control or find coping skills that actually work.

Music, coloring, and research, work depending on the day. With an autoimmune disease, kidney disease, and medical disorders having to do with my blood that can’t be explained, my medications work at different levels in different ways.

One of my doctors believes part of my Conversion Disorder comes from watching my Mom die. Not just the horrible way she died in the hospital but the way she slowly killed herself at home.

She knew everything she had to avoid to stay alive, she knew everything she had to do to stay alive. I knew when she gave up. When she started staying in her room all the time, stockpiling food she wasn’t allowed to eat and not talking to anyone.

At the time I was working 60 hours a week and trying to maintain my alcoholism.

My mom was never thin but started to gain weight rapidly. This made it harder for her to breathe and put stress on her heart. Her bones were brittle and weak from chemo and radiation she had 7 years before. We were so lucky she even survived, most people don’t. I don’t know what it was that made her give up after fighting so hard previously.

When she fractured her back it was the beginning of the end. She would lose control of her bladder and bowels. She cried, moaned and screamed in pain all night long. Nothing we or the doctors did gave her any relief. They decided to do surgery even though she wasn’t healthy enough for it.

She made it through the surgery but the weight gain and immobility made it so hard for her to breathe she felt like she was suffocating. It was her biggest fear.

I now see some of the same behavior in my Dad and it scares me. It’s the opposite with him, he’s lost a lot of weight and does too much. He has old fractures in his back that he chose to ignore over the years. This time his sciatic nerve is being compressed so he can’t ignore it. He’s fallen down numerous times and doesn’t tell me unless I see blood and bruises. Yesterday he was stuck on the pavement of our driveway for over an hour bleeding from a large wound on his arm. He fell out of his truck coming back from dialysis.

He refuses to go to the hospital.

I called my twin sister to let her know what was going on and I might be taking him to the ER. She never called or texted back. Once again I’m left to deal with watching a parent die. Only this time I don’t think I’ll handle it at all.

My Dad and I are close. I told my Mom everything but my Dad and I have a lot in common. When I quit drinking for the last time he watched movies I know he had no interest in, same with TV shows, just to keep me company. He’s never given up on me. It’s only been these last 2 years that we’ve really argued and that’s due to both of our illnesses.

I want to live my own life.

I’m just not sure if I deserve to.

I destroy everything around me or they leave.


LITTLE DEATHS AND SUICIDE SHAMING

The remarks made by an actor on Twitter recently about a friend’s suicide made me more than angry.

He thought his friend was “selfish” for taking his own life. After all that is what his spirit guide told him. I think he’s mistaken about what a spirit guide actually is. A guide doesn’t tell you what to think or do, they guide you along your journey.

If he was such good friends with this person why didn’t he see the signs of his friends struggle? I didn’t know the man but I noticed he was different. Maybe because I’ve been there.

Like in poker, we all have tells. Staring off while the people around us laugh and talk. Not really paying attention or adding to the conversation. Nervous habits like bouncing your leg up and down, tapping your fingers, constantly looking around a room. The smile that never reaches your eyes. Sleeping more or less than usual. Drinking more or using drugs more.

The man was an addict. I’m not sure why he thought it was okay to drink as long he wasn’t doing heroin. It doesn’t really work that way. You’re still self-medicating.

As far as reaching out to a friend or loved one goes when you have a serious mental illness that you are self-medicating with drugs or alcohol it’s almost impossible to do.

Each time I attempted suicide I was drunk. All I could think of was the pain, the guilt, the hopelessness. Every bad thing said to me played on a loop in my brain. “You’re a waste of space, no one likes you, no one will ever love a fat c*nt like you, you should just kill yourself, we can’t believe you anymore because you’re a drunk, etc”. There was no room in my head for the idea to reach out to someone. I didn’t even know I was Bipolar and had been for quite some time. I automatically thought I was worthless. I had thought this since I was 8 or 9.

The human mind can only take so much abuse. I could take a lot of physical abuse and I did. But it was the constant psychological damage and trauma that I couldn’t handle. I doubt most people could. My own family could only handle knowing a small fraction of what I went through and what I thought. They refused to hear anymore from my doctors. I still have to find a way to live with it all.

After 5 suicide attempts before the age of 27 something inside me stopped trying and just drank more. I finally stopped drinking 10 years ago and was correctly diagnosed as Bipolar with Social Phobia, Anxiety, PTSD and Conversion Disorder. Knowing about the mental illness helped me stay sober. Getting to the cause of my drinking went a long way.

I would like to say that I don’t think about suicide but I still do. It’s in a different way now. It’s more like I just want to run away or disappear. It’s harder without family or friends. It’s even worse when you have a chronic physical illness that is life threatening.

My twin sister has stopped speaking to me. It hurts. But she can be extremely toxic. Everything is black and white in her world. She didn’t call our dad to wish him a Happy Birthday on the 5th because she said “He never called me on my Birthday in January”.

First he’s 75 and your FATHER. Second, you never answer your phone and I know he tried to call and it went directly to voicemail which she never checks either.

Long story short I lost my temper for the first time in a long time. I even dropped the F bomb in front of my Dad. That’s how mad I was.

I’ve been left to take care of him and his other 2 children could care less. My Dad is stubborn and cranky. He’s now taking vicodin like candy because he herniated several discs in his back and refuses to stop lifting heavy objects.

I need a little vacation.0d806ffdc1b7a4766b4b545aeb74354b


FINDING MYSELF

I’m not a religious person. I believe in what I can see and feel. This makes it hard for me to find any real spirituality that fits in with what I believe.

I’ve researched Buddhism, which is okay but I would have to fake a lot of the positive thinking they have going on. I’m not sure my body can do Yoga right now either. Most of their concepts are hard for me to wrap my brain around.

I’ve researched Hinduism which is similar to Buddhism but not.

Paganism which can get a little dicey. My Celtic/Norse heritage which can also be a tough one. Shamanism sounded good so did Wicca but I have too many questions and I’ve never been someone who could “just believe” in anything.

I tend to lean toward the darker side of things. I know it’s unhealthy.

I do believe in animals and love to watch them and their behaviors. My favorite has always been the Wolf.

I also think there is something to the metaphysical properties in gemstones. I can’t dispute the research that’s been done the last 50 years or what’s been found that’s the same across many cultures and beliefs. Amber is has the same meaning and properties to Native Americans as it does to Buddhists. I enjoy working with real gemstones. I’m not talking diamonds. I’m talking amethyst, black onyx, agates, the less expensive ones.

I’m still lost and have no idea what I’m doing. I need purpose. I’m also tired of modern medicine telling me they can’t help me anymore.

My GFR is at 40 and my recent surgery didn’t go well when they changed they my ureteral stents. One became embedded which caused more scar tissue which I can’t afford to have. This means having my stents changed more frequently under anesthesia and having a breathing tube. Of course they couldn’t wake me for 2 hours after the surgery because my twin drove me to the hospital and decided to tell me exactly what she thought of me before I went under the anesthesia. When you have Conversion Disorder that can’t happen. The anesthesiologist was not happy with my sister. He had seen her talking to me before the surgery and he had seen me crying.

It’s been a difficult couple of months. I’m more tired than usual, my neck and hips are killing me and my social anxiety has been at an all time high. I’m used to physical pain so my neck and hips have to be bad for me to complain. I kept working while I had 2 herniated discs in my back with 2 bulging discs above and below each one. The only thing that finally stopped me was when I got stuck on the pavement getting out of my car. They thought I wasn’t showing up until I finally reached my cell phone and told them I was outside on the ground. lol

My Dad is having sciatic nerve pain right now and is the biggest baby I’ve ever seen. He won’t listen to a thing I say even though I’ve been through it all. I had 3 Epidurals, water therapy, a 2 hour IV drip of some cocktail to release the muscle spasms because I was shaped like the letter L and they refused to do surgery because it would cause a domino effect. But he listens to one of his friends who says he was kidnapped by aliens! It’s frustrating.

Other than all of this everything is okay.group-wolves-called_9ee7f18bde1c5374


WHAT MAKES YOU AN EXPERT ON MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION? *Sensitive Subject Matter

I am my father’s daughter. Like my father, when I find a subject I relate to or a hobby I enjoy, I learn everything I can about it. I don’t mean this in a normal way. My father never made it past the 8th grade but taught himself everything one needed to know about most animals specifically birds.

He taught himself how to breed Exotic Birds on The Endangered Species List and obtained a Federal Permit to do so. He was 1 of 11 people in the United States to successfully breed one species. He knew about diseases, diet, flight patterns, temperatures, everything.

I was born into a family filled with addicts and people with mental illness. I spent a lot time around all of them. Both my parents come from big families but mom’s side was a very close bunch and also very dysfunctional. My mom was the oldest and did her best to help her brothers and sisters no matter what. My sister and I always went with her even if that meant visits to the State Mental Hospital or a Group Home.

My sister and I always talked about one of us becoming “crazy” like it would be the worst thing in the world. It kind of was. I already knew it was me, my parents already knew it was me. The only one who didn’t see it was my twin sister. It would take her 20 years to admit I was sick.

I know all the ins and outs of being hospitalized against your will. I know what happens when you swallow a bottle of prescription sleeping pills after drinking a case of beer and a pint of Fire Water. If someone gets you to the Hospital early enough you get charcoal, which I did the first time. If you get there a little later they pump your stomach, which they did the 2nd time. If you fight them they also restrain you.

I know if you cut your wrists a certain way you can do permanent nerve damage. Which I did on one occasion so my pinkie is numb most of the time.

I know after so many visits to the ER for attempted suicides they can keep you and they did. No one came to talk to me or give me any tests, I sat and watched TV with all the other people who were either detoxing or had mental health issues.

I know after about 4 or 5 visits to the ER for attempted suicide a judge can court order you to undergo therapy and see a psychiatrist. I was court ordered several times but no one ever diagnosed me or asked many questions they just handed me a bucket of pills. This is common for State run facilities.

Every single time I tried to take my life I was drunk. I never tried sober. I thought about it sober but never acted on it.

People say “Why didn’t you ask for help?” I say “Because I was drunk, confused, couldn’t get out of my own head, all I could think was what a waste of space I am, how no one loved me, how could anyone love me?” When did I have time to stop and think “Gee I should probably call my sister who is sick of hearing me cry all the time”.

It doesn’t work that way. When you’re in the middle of a tornado you can’t think rationally and that’s the point.

I don’t know why people expect this.

We need to reach people before they get to the tornado.

It’s the only way this will work. If you know someone with a mental illness call them, invite them for coffee, tell them you love them, give them purpose, stop them before the snowball starts going downhill picking up those negative thoughts growing larger and larger.

I want to know I matter. I want to know I’m still loved even though I’ve f*cked up so many times. I want someone to hug me and tell me it’s ok even if it isn’t.

This is why I am more qualified to speak about mental health and addiction than any Doctor or Talk Show Host because I live it and I’m still here.quotes-about-strength-robin-williams-depression-quote-all-it-takes-is-a-beautiful-fake-smile-to-hide


I SEE YOU

I watched you on YouTube the other day. I was shocked but not surprised. I was more angry than anything. Seeing the blue lips, bloated face, under eye bags, and the bloated stomach made me want to cry or punch you in the face.

You’ve continuously lied about your sobriety throughout the years. I knew you probably lasted a month or two, something wouldn’t go your way and you would be back to where you started.

I also know that you believe drinking wine instead of Jack Daniels means you’re doing better or you’re not “that bad”. I also know that your drinking has cost you career opportunities, lost friendships, and drastically changed your appearance. In your business appearance is part of the job.

You use juvenile behavior and humor to cover up the pain you don’t want to deal with. I noticed this in the 90s when you first started to get into trouble.

No one wakes up and says “I love wine so much, it tastes so good that I think I’ll drink it all day until my lips and teeth are permanently stained blue, I lose my looks, my career, friends and family”.

We drink because there’s a pain or something missing that we don’t know how to explain or deal with. Whether it’s grief, abuse, mental illness, etc. it’s there and instead of recognizing it we self medicate. Sometimes we aren’t capable of recognizing it. We something isn’t right, we different than other people, but we don’t know why and are afraid to find out. It’s easier to self medicate than deal with the real issues.

In the back of my mind I knew from young age I was different. Who wants to admit that they aren’t “normal”? No one. You do whatever you can to fit in no matter the damage it causes.

You will never get better if you don’t ask WHY you started drinking or using drugs in the first place. What were you feeling that first time? I know what I was feeling at that exact moment. I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t pretty, I couldn’t talk, I didn’t look like other girls, I was too quiet, no one was going to like me, I was fat, everyone was going to laugh at me, I could go on and on. After my first few drinks all of those thoughts and feelings vanished.

It’s difficult watching people going down that same self destructive road. I can’t exactly contact them and tell them what I think. First they would think I was insane and it doesn’t work that way.

For some people there is no “rock bottom”. They will drink themselves to death. I would’ve. I had plenty of moments that for anyone else would have been “rock bottoms” yet I continued drinking.

The one thing that helped me to stop was learning why I was drinking.

Once I was diagnosed as Bipolar w/Social Anxiety Disorder and PTSD I finally understood why I felt the way I did from such a young age. I had stopped drinking before my diagnosis but it was extremely difficult. I was staying sober by locking myself in the house. It was no way to live. Finding out there was an underlying reason made a huge difference.

I won’t say I’m in a great place now because I’m not. But it has more to do with my physical health interfering with my mental health. At least I know what the problem is and know how to deal with it.

 


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