DRINKING: Why I Miss It And Why I Stay Sober

I like to remember when I was drinking sometimes. Once in awhile I miss it. The important thing is to remember the good times and the bad times. I have a habit of only reflecting on the good times. I also have to remind myself why I stay sober. My reasons won’t be the same as someone else’s reasons and that’s fine as long as it works for me.

I loved the excited feeling I would get inside as I prepared each day to drink. It was a ritual. I had to do my hair and make up and pick an outfit to wear. Even though I was over 200 pounds these things still mattered to me. I make myself sound disgusting but I guess I had a pretty face and there were men who were attracted to me.

When I drank there was a physical change in me. I stood up straight and held my head up looking people in the eye with a confidence only alcohol could give me. At times this did cause trouble. Other times it worked to my advantage. I never would’ve met as many bands as I have if I hadn’t been drinking. I never had to pay for a meet and greet, my best friend and I would somehow end up meeting them. I was the charming one and she was the beautiful one.

I regret the fact I don’t remember some of the people I’ve met. How could I forget an entire car ride and conversation that lasted over an hour? I didn’t blackout often but we had been in the pit during the concert so it’s possible I hit my head. Guys hated it when we went in the pit so I would make W. go in with me just to piss them off. Drinking with me was like a box of chocolates, you never knew who you were going to get.

Alcohol almost always acted like a stimulant with me until I reached a certain point. I just never knew when that point would be so I would drink until I got there. I wanted to feel normal inside, I wanted the pain I couldn’t name to go away, I wanted to be able to talk to people and not feel like I didn’t belong all the time. And alcohol did that for me.

Alcohol also made me say things I wouldn’t normally say, do things I wouldn’t normally do, spend time with people I wouldn’t normally spend time with. Did I love meeting Lars Ulrich, Zakk Wylde, Sebastian Bach, Stephen Pearcy, Pantera and being at The Rainbow? Yup. But some meetings didn’t go so well and all I can say is I’m glad they were as drunk as I was.

Never being in a relationship wasn’t exactly fun either. The police knowing my name in three towns was bad too. Pepper spray is never fun, twice is just cruel (both by accident I was caught in the crossfire). A DUI is something to be ashamed of not to mention what I put my family through.

I’m sober now because I know why I drank. It became clear when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It didn’t take me long to stop drinking after that. As I learned more about why I drank it made things a little easier. Treating addiction has to go hand in hand with mental health treatment or you are not going to get far. I know this firsthand.

If I drank now my body couldn’t handle it. My brain would think I could drink like I used to but I only have one kidney now. I have thought about it recently because my medications are not being absorbed and I feel like I did when I was younger. I have my dad to think about. If he wasn’t here I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have some kind of light fruity drink. Which I never ever would’ve had years ago but now it’s the only thing that sounds appealing. Kind of strange.

I’m tired, alone, trapped, isolated, filled with grief but for who? Maybe everyone and myself the life I could’ve had and now never will. The 20 years I wasted or my mom who I still miss ever single day or my best friend who I never see or my twin who would rather commit me than have a conversation with me.

I always told W. if things got bad I was going to Vegas and pulling a Nicolas Cage. She always laughed and said “No you won’t”. This last time I said it and she started crying. She said she wouldn’t blame me and she knew how bad it’s been for me but she loved me. First time ever someone said the right thing.

So I’ll stay sober and try to help my Dad celebrate his 74th Birthday tomorrow. Do they sell cakes shaped like pigeons?

How Today Went~ 1 Big Meltdown, 2 Threats, Binge Eating & Bad Driving

I went to bed early last night knowing I had to wake up by 4:45 a.m. to get ready to take my Dad to the V.A. Hospital to have Cataract Surgery.

I have no idea what medications were in my system when I woke up. I won’t know how any of that is really working for quite some time they now tell me. It seems that when you have Chronic Kidney Disease with kidney function now a little under 70% and Celiac Disease some of the medications can actually build up in your system and make your Bipolar worse.

The medications can cause a toxicity. Wasn’t it nice that no one told me this in two years?! So I have no clue what is going on in my body. I only know that the fast acting medications with a shorter “lifespan” are working. Dr. Drew will be excited to know that the only drugs I’m taking that work are Klonopin and Adderall. Hi, Dr. Drew! Still alive!

My father couldn’t remember how to get to the hospital even though he had been there twice before. My sister was driving so he wasn’t paying attention. I put Google Maps on my phone and was using that until he started barking directions at me over the woman’s voice. I tried to ask him how he knew if he couldn’t remember but he’s stubborn. When he says go left you go left even if it means into a fence. (Just kidding) I finally pulled over and asked him where he wanted me to go. The parking lot of the hospital was a mess and had no signs plus it was under construction. He made me park in the employee parking and we ran inside a building. There were several different buildings to pick from.

He was running from floor to floor and I couldn’t keep up. I was getting angry. He was treating me like an idiot, he knew I couldn’t keep up with him and he couldn’t hear me. I finally stopped and yelled some horrible things at him. He had brought me to the Psychiatric Floor where they admit patients. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He didn’t do it on purpose but in my mind at the time I was thinking he did to get back at me. I started to feel sick and tingly. I could smell the hospital smell and hear the patients. I was spinning out of control fast.

Next thing I knew I was slumped against a wall stuttering I guess what sounded like “Daddy”. I was crying too. I know only seconds had gone by but it felt like hours. A man who worked there reached me the same time as my dad did. I could hear my dad tell the man I was okay that I just needed to see him and calm down a little. He was right.

We made it to where he supposed to be but I couldn’t answer the nurse’s questions. I had to try to write my cell number down while my hands shook. I was ashamed for how I treated my dad earlier and how people looked at me. I was ashamed for losing control under stress and stuttering/shaking to the point my dad looked like he would cry.

I was stupid enough to call my sister for comfort. She instead threatened to have me committed. I guess this is going to be the new card she plays every time I do or say something she doesn’t like.

After his eye surgery I took my dad to dialysis and bought as much gluten free crap as I could find and ate it in his truck outside the dialysis center. Three and half hours later we came home. He told me how much he loves and appreciates me and understands that it’s hard for me even if he doesn’t show it. He blames himself. He also said not to listen to my sister because no one is taking me anywhere I don’t want to go. I love my dad.

The Chauffeur And A Change In Routine

My father is having surgery on his remaining Cataract tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is also a dialysis day for him and he usually does the early morning one.

The Eye Clinic called about his appointment and he told him to make it for 6:00 a.m. and he would do dialysis at 2:00 p.m. and they agreed.

The problem is he obviously can’t drive himself. My sister drove him last time because I just had surgery and couldn’t. There’s no way she’s waking up 5:00 a.m. to take him this time so I have to.

The problem with this is when I’m thrown off schedule with my sleep and the medications that actually do work (Adderall and Klonopin) it changes my behavior or mood. I am always worse in the morning and I’ve been like that for years. I do get better as the day progresses but start to go down again by 3:00 p.m. it’s a short window where I feel kind of okay. I’ve had trouble leaving the house for the past 6 to 8 months. My dad and sister believe if I’m forced to leave the house it will help me. They don’t realize how many times I sit in parking lots and cry.

It’s more about what I see and feel when I leave the house. I see new moms laughing with their babies, I see happy couples shopping together, or sometimes I talk to someone and feel like I’ve talked too much and embarrassed myself. I think people can tell I’m alone and starving for conversation, that I’m desperate. All of this hits me when I get back to my car and sit there crying. Sometimes it’s a smell that brings back a memory or on occasion I think I see my mom. The World starts to crumble and I can hear the blood rushing to my ears while my face becomes hot.

So I have to be the Chauffeur tomorrow all while trying not to cry or say the wrong thing because I’ll get yelled at.

My sister sent me a text today wanting to know which was better Amazon Prime, HULU, or Netflix. So I gave her the information on all three and broke it down for her. I don’t know why I did it took me almost an hour to put everything together and she never responded or thanked me. I should be used to it by now but it takes many, many, bricks to hit this head before I realize what’s good for me and what isn’t or do something about it.

For 2 people so concerned about my mental health they do a good job at trying to destroy it.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE SCARED AND NO ONE IS THERE?

I’ve been having a harder time than usual and I’m not sure why. It could be 1 of 1,000 reasons. The problem is I’m too tired to find out. I’ve called 13 Gastroenterologists and none of them take Medicare.

I’m pretty sure a person isn’t supposed to have chronic diarrhea for more than 6 months. I have not 1 day without it. I also have a constant pain under the bottom of my right ribcage that radiates to my back. I can actually put my hand under my ribcage and massage the area to make it feel better.

There are times where the pain is excruciating and is from between both ribcages then goes along the entire right side. This is when I turn a lovely shade of green/grey, sometimes vomit, roll up in a ball and cry. I have gone to the ER during one these episodes but I went to the wrong ER. Three people with degrees couldn’t find my Gallbladder with the Ultrasound machine. Eight hours without a drink of water, anything for the pain, any other tests done, or seeing the Doctor again. So I got nothing.

Mother’s Day is coming up and as you can guess it isn’t my favorite. I don’t have my mom anymore and I’ll never be a mom.

My sister acted like everything was fine between us when she texted me but refuses to actually talk to me or see me in person.

I called my Auntie Lee two times and she never called me back. Usually she does but what if I talked too much last time or sounded unstable? What if she’s tired of me? Tired of listening to me complain? I try not to with her because I know she has her own problems and I like to listen to her voice. Sometimes I do it without knowing it. I stop myself as soon as I realize it. My best friend hasn’t called me in a long time. My dad keeps barking at me. He had Cataract Surgery on one eye and I had to help put 3 different eye drops in his eye.

My dad has extremely small eyes, doesn’t know his left from his right, can’t open his eyes wide, has eyebrows that grow down into his eyes, and is the most impatient person on the planet.

I trimmed his eyebrows for him. I’ve always had to put eye drops in for him but this time is different. He kept yelling at me and when I asked him to tip his head back he bent it forward! I almost thought he was doing it on purpose! My stomach hurt by the time I was done.

How I just want to hop on a plane and go somewhere different. I know your problems go with you but sometimes I think my Dad and my sister play a part in how I feel. I don’t think they do it on purpose but what they say and do has an impact on me.

Have I thought about suicide? In a way I suppose. I think more of disappearing to a place where I can be happy. A place where it’s sunny all the time and there’s a beach nearby. A place where I can take care of some animals or help other people take care of animals. A place where I’m healthy and when I smile I mean it. A place where people are happy to see me when I enter a room instead of sighing and ignoring me.

The World thinks people like me are not aware of what is going on around us. The truth is at times I’m too aware. At these times I remember that there is something different about me, I worry about how “different” I appear to people and if I’m embarrassing myself. Then I sit in my car and cry again. It’s easier to stay home.

2 EXPERIENCES WITH ECT~ HOW IT CAN BE DIFFERENT FOR SOME WHEN IT SHOULDN’T BE

I’m going to do this in two parts to hopefully make it easier.

ECT PATIENT 1

Patient 1 suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and severe Depression. She was in and out of Inpatient Units, unable to work, sleeping most of the time and self-harmed.

It was at her lowest moment that one of her doctors suggested ECT or Electroconvulsive Therapy. She researched it and talked it over with her family. The success rate is actually as high as 60 to 90% Nationwide. She decided to give it a try.

When she arrived at the Hospital she found that there was a whole floor just for ECT.

“You go in, get settled in bed, they ask how you’ve been feeling, physically, emotionally, mentally. They get an IV ready and take your blood pressure, then they wheel you into the room where they actually do the ECT. I then have to state my name and birthday right before they put me to sleep”.  After waking up she finds a nurse or Doctor by her side.

“They already have me out of the room with a little oxygen mask and one of the doctors or nurses sitting next to me. Then we go into the other room where we get to snack and wait to get picked up”.

“It’s really, really helped with the depression. I mean I’m more afraid of the depression than the ECT, it’s saved my life.”

ECT PATIENT 2 (ME)

I had also researched ECT and talked it over with my Dad and sister. I had reached a point where there was nothing else to do. I was getting worse by the day. The depression part of my Bipolar Disorder had me thinking suicidal thoughts and my Conversion Disorder was out of control.

My doctor suggested that I go to the Hospital where he works during the day and tell them how I was feeling so they would admit me as soon as possible. Then I was to tell them he was my doctor and that we were planning to do ECT. This is what I did.

I was under the impression that I wouldn’t be in the Hospital for long but this was not the case. Even though my doctor worked there and they had access to my files they still had me wait for 3 days before scheduling the ECT.

During those 3 days they didn’t have one of my medications because it was too new. They also didn’t give me medication to sleep. Instead they use Benadryl. Most hospitals do, you just don’t know it.

The day of the procedure they got me prepared and gave me a light sedative first while they hooked up the heart monitors. The next thing I knew everything was called off because there was a “blip” on my EKG. They told me they would have to send me to another Hospital to have the ECT done because they did not have the “emergency equipment needed” if something went wrong with my heart during the ECT.

I was frustrated that a Hospital wouldn’t have the basic equipment needed if a patient went into Cardiac Arrest. They didn’t have a defibrillator? So I was sent to the nearest Hospital. I was there for another 3 days.

This Hospital had a doctor that didn’t believe in Klonopin so he refused to give it to me even though I had been on it for some time. They also didn’t have the same medication that was new to the market I had been on. So I went without my medications the entire time I was there. A nurse who happened to live near me told me not to disagree with this doctor because he had a habit of keeping patients longer than necessary if they did. Too late I had already had words with him.

No one explained what was going to happen. In fact no one talked to me at all before doing the ECT. When I woke up, I woke up alone and frightened. There was no doctor or nurse by my side.

Unfortunately because they did a Bilateral ECT and because of my Conversion Disorder I woke up thinking I was about 5 years old and I was waiting for my mommy. My head felt like it had been split in two. The pain was horrendous and my eyes wouldn’t stop tearing. I regret that they allowed my sister to see me like that. I know it scared her.

It took over 8 hours for me to slowly remember where I was, how old I was, and that my mom had passed away. The doctor kept me there another 3 days for no reason. My sister was pissed to say the least. I had not support from the staff at all and was forced to attend AA Meetings where AA members came to the Hospital and spoke. I wasn’t there for that, he wasn’t my doctor, I had been sober for years already, I screamed inside the entire time I was there.

When the ink was dry on my release form I told him exactly what I thought of him in front of 10 of his colleagues and got the hell out of there.

The actual ECT did work and my depression was gone for almost a year. The only down side is that it had sent me into a Manic Episode for about a month.

Would I do it again? Yes. But only if it was done the way I wanted it done. The “blip” was nothing but a “blip”. There was no reason to send me somewhere else. Patient 1 lives in the State next to me. I find it strange how the quality of care can be so different.

I DIDN’T KNOW I COULD BE USED TO DESCRIBE THE WEATHER (HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULDN’T)

WHY IT’S RUDE TO USE MENTAL ILLNESS AS AN ADJECTIVE

As a person with Bipolar Disorder I have no control over the weather and the weather can’t be “bipolar”. I was a little hurt to see this on someone’s Twitter page that I respect. The man support’s charities for abused women and isn’t an ignorant person so I had a hard time with this one. Am I really that offended? Not really. But only because I’ve had so much worse said to my face directly.

I wouldn’t want my worse enemy to go through what I have had to go through for most of my life. It has actually gotten worse since my diagnosis. When you are diagnosed you expect help or relief. When 6 years go by and you are now not leaving the house, jumping at any loud noises, your stuttering isn’t even stuttering anymore it’s gibberish or nothing comes out at all, the ache in your chest feels like a hand grenade landed there and thoughts run wild in your head non stop, people have stopped answering your calls and texts, the person you live with can’t hear you and you can’t repeat yourself, you destroyed any chance at a normal life, you are scared no one will be with you in the end, all you think about are the ends that you had to witness, that broke you until you couldn’t be put back together again.

I’m physically ill and can’t find a doctor. All they see is a “crazy” person. Until it’s almost too late. Like last time. Why? Because in the real world I don’t matter. “Oh, you say there’s swelling in your brain? You should talk to your Psychiatrist about that.”. Last time I checked a PSYCHIATRIST is different than a f*cking NEUROLOGIST! And why doesn’t anyone know about Genetic Testing to see what medications would work best for your Mental Illness??? DOCTORS DON’T READ RESEARCH ARTICLES OR MAGAZINES?

Yup, it’s great being Bipolar. No more friends, my family hates talking to me, my brother in law refers to me as “People like you” and doesn’t really want me around my nephews, my twin sister even avoids me, I cry almost everyday and then I have feelings of anger or wanting to disappear. I do nothing, I say nothing, it’s all nothing. But at least I affect the weather.bipolarweather_0

 

 

Why I Connected With “Manchester By The Sea”

Manchester By The Sea was a movie that stayed with me for days. We all have our own ways of coping or not coping with grief and trauma.

I’ve come to realize that I deal with both differently than the majority of most people. Whether it’s because I’m Bipolar or because I have Conversion Disorder, I’m not sure.

I’m tired of apologizing for my emotions. That I do know.

I’m also tired of apologizing for saying “I’m Bipolar” instead of saying “I have Bipolar Disorder”. Bipolar Disorder is about your moods and emotions, to me those are things that kind of influence who you are. It doesn’t necessarily define all of who you are but it does impact some of who you are.  If you disagree that’s okay but you don’t have to keep bashing me over the head with your arguments about why I’m wrong. Got it?

I’ve had to deal with a lot of pain, grief, trauma, guilt, and isolation in 44 years. Some of it I don’t remember and some of it is as vivid as a movie playing in my head. Those are the days that hurt the most. Those are the days I wish I felt nothing and I scream into a towel for as long as I can.

I know all about punishing yourself for something you believe you are responsible for. I do it daily. I’ve hurt my family and some other people so much over the years when I was drinking and even when I stopped. I think I could’ve done more for my mom before she died. When I play back that night I think of all the things I should’ve done. Some of them would’ve landed me in jail but it would have been worth it to wipe the smiles off their faces.

I constantly think I annoy everyone around me and walk on eggshells with every interaction. I say “I’m sorry” about 20 times in one phone conversation with my sister because I’m afraid she will stop talking to me.

I’ve started isolating myself more and more each year so I’ll be use to it when the time comes. I rarely leave the house now. It’s better this way. It won’t hurt as much when I’m completely alone. Someone asked if I was being dramatic. I said “You don’t know my family”.