Tag Archives: Bipolar Disorder

HAVING AN EXPIRATION DATE

I’ve been past my “suicide” phase for years now. I still think about it on really bad days but not like I used to when I self-medicated with alcohol. When I self-medicated with alcohol I didn’t just think about it. I’ve been sober close to 10 years now.

Seeing the results of my blood work I was scared. I didn’t know my kidneys were getting worse so fast. They use your GFR to determine when you should go on dialysis or go on the list for a kidney transplant. When the number hits 30 your Doctor starts preparing you for your options.

My GFR was a 40 one year ago. I kept putting off going in for surgery to have my ureteral stents changed. Part of the reason was the Depressive Episode I was in for a very long time. The other part was just fear. You know when something is wrong with your body. I knew I was losing weight again but there was some swelling in my feet and ankles. The color of skin is the same as chalk but with dark circles under my eyes. I’ve lost muscle mass specifically in my temples. I didn’t notice how bad until this morning. They are so hollowed out I could collect rain in them. I’ve been a little short of breath and having trouble doing simple tasks.

I’m pretty sure I won’t make it on a transplant list. I checked again today. If you have a mental illness, a past history of drug/alcohol abuse, or an autoimmune disease, you usually have a hard time getting on the list. I have all three. I have twin who could donate her kidney but before I could ask I was told she wouldn’t. She had to think of her children. Pretty sure her husband had a big influence on this decision.

Because no one knows why I went into Kidney Failure, or why my kidneys are getting worse, no one is sure about dialysis. My other option is to have a tube coming out of each side of my back just under my shoulder blades. The tube would drain fluids out of my system and goes down each leg. Someone has to learn how to clean and change the drains which I don’t have anyone to do this.

Before I make any big decisions I’ll go to my appointment on Tuesday and see how much longer I can keep the stents. If they don’t send me to the ER then I’m going on a Road Trip to Deep Ellum, Texas. I don’t care what anyone says. I have limited time to do what I wanted to do. So I’m going to try it. What’s the worse that could happen? lol

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SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE

I admit I’m afraid. I also admit it’s my own fault. I kept putting it off. I even might of done it on purpose.

The Doctor that changes my ureteral stents wanted to see if I could go a year this time but if I had any problems I should come in sooner. I started having problems around the 6th month. I didn’t call or make an appointment. I ignored the pain, the dizziness, loss of appetite, some swelling in my hands and feet, headaches, change in vision, etc. My Bipolar medications were not working correctly either. I’ve been more than depressed for some time now.

I went online to see exactly when I last had my stents changed. I could also see lab results and notes from surgery while I was there. I wasn’t happy.

When I first went to this Doctor he had to exchange the stents put in by a Doctor that didn’t like me very much. Normally I would think I was being dramatic but I brought my sister with me to 2 of my appointments.

My twin is odd in her own way. She can ignore me and say horrible things but if anyone else does it they better run. She’s gotten physical with a few people on my behalf. Nothing major, she grabbed someone by their lab coat and pushed another person out of the way who wouldn’t let us leave the Hospital.

So when she witnessed how this previous Doctor treated me in his office she wasn’t happy. I wasn’t either. He insulted me in front of the entire team about to operate on me and then told them I was “a difficult patient” and they should be happy I didn’t “bring my guard dog” referring to my sister.

When the Doctor I have now went to change the stents he found the guidewires had advanced up both ureters to both kidneys. On the left side the had crossed over one another. This caused scarring in the ureters.

I also didn’t know my GFR has been declining or that it’s as low as it is. I was told it was 67.

The last three results have been 48, 45, and 40. When it get’s to 30 you’re supposed to start discussing dialysis or transplant.

As far as a kidney transplant goes I highly doubt I would get one. My Dad is on dialysis already and my twin sister has already said no.

If you have a mental illness, have to take specific medications, have a history of alcoholism or drug addiction, have an autoimmune disease, you most likely won’t be considered. I can check all of these boxes.

I have things on a Bucket List left to do. I want to have serious conversation with Dave Navarro. We have a lot in common. There are places I want to see. I would like to see Steven Tyler in concert one more time. I want to spend a day with a pack of wolves. There are so many places I wish I could travel to. Places filled with art, music, food, lights, people, where I can walk around and just take it all in.

 


IF NOTHING CHANGES

Sitting here day after day with little human interaction is becoming both difficult and easier to do. When I do get the chance to talk to someone I actually get a sore throat if it’s for longer than 10 minutes. Luckily for me it rarely is.

I want to change my situation but I’m scared to death to do so. I also feel guilty about leaving my Dad.

I try to remember that he has already lived a full life. He’s travelled all over, done some pretty exciting things, found and married his soulmate, had two children with her, lived, laughed, and loved her for over 45 years. He has 5 grandchildren that love him but he doesn’t see them because he feels guilty that my mom isn’t here to be with them. I find this ridiculous. I also think it’s more about his hearing than anything. He can’t understand what they’re saying so he doesn’t interact with them.

His hearing has become a huge problem. He refuses to do anything about it. He used to love to watch movies with me. He stopped a few years ago because he couldn’t hear the dialogue no matter how loud it was. He has a habit of just agreeing to what a person is saying when he has no idea what was said. This isn’t good when it comes to his dialysis and health. I finally called the dialysis center and told them he can’t hear what they’re saying and is just agreeing with them. They had no idea after the years he’s been there.

I also told them that he isn’t following a renal diet at all and if he says he is he’s lying. I gave them the correct dosage of Prednisone he’s taking because he told them 10mg when it’s 40mg. They need to know these things!! He get’s pissed off and leaves early because his TV isn’t working. It isn’t about the TV, it’s about him feeling anxious so bad he HAS to leave. I told them this also.

I did this because for the last week he’s come home with feet and ankles so swollen they look like wax. They don’t look real. That’s how mine were when I went to the ER. Would he listen? No. Would my sister answer her phone? No.

I’m afraid if I change my environment things will stay the same. I’ll start to talk to someone and they will fall asleep while I’m talking or walk away. Both my dad and my sister fall asleep while talking to me. My dad walks away often.

Maybe I should record my voice reading a book and sell it as a natural sleep aid.

There are no words to describe how it feels when you’re ignored, dismissed, or on the opposite end yelled at for things beyond your control or still held accountable for mistakes you made 20 years ago.

Sometimes I don’t know what I want. I’ve seen the worst of humanity, I’ve been on the receiving end of  humanities worst, but for some reason I still crave human interaction. I still have hope. I just don’t know how much longer that little bit of hope will last.1c69ece744ce08e16a8cfc698acf0e23


A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SHAME

I know I’ve gone overboard with Social Media over the last 6 months. I usually think before I type but I haven’t done that in awhile. When I realize what I’ve written doesn’t sound right so I try to delete it but sometimes I can’t.

I made a comment on an Instagram post that I guess came across as odd. Someone replied “Are you okay?”. When I read it in my Notifications I had no idea why anyone would ask me that. Then I went to the comment.

I did sound manic and all over the place. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I then noticed another person had replied and I felt angry on top of everything else.

The woman is supposedly a “Mental Health Counselor” and she suggested I should “take a Holistic Approach to your mental illness instead of dangerous medications”.

I wanted to respond but since I am now back on the correct dose of medication I knew that it wasn’t worth it and it wasn’t right to have a discussion on someone else’s Instagram page. I let the matter go.

NEED TO KNOW

I don’t want to give a history of my health to every single person in order to explain my emotions, behavior, mood, or physical symptoms. I feel like I have to or people will assume the worst. The problem is they assume the worst anyway.

THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR COMPLIMENTARY AND INTEGRATIVE HEALTH

The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health is the main government agency for investigating non-traditional treatments specifically for mental illness.

  1. Complimentary methods where non-traditional treatments are given in addition to standard medical procedures.
  2. Alternative methods of treatment used instead of established treatment.
  3. Integrative methods that combine traditional and non-traditional as part of a treatment plan.

NATURAL PRODUCTS

Research is still lacking when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of Complimentary Treatments.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: These may help decrease the risk of chronic schizophrenia but what most people do not know is that this is only the case for young people experiencing psychosis for the first time.

Folate/Vitamin B9: The human body can’t make this on it’s own, some people with mental illness have low Folate levels. The FDA has approved one form of Folate as an add on not a primary treatment for use in depression.

Medical foods, mind and body treatments and vitamins fall under these categories also.

VITAMINS: Anyone on a prescription medication should be cautious when taking vitamins. Vitamins can make some prescription medications less effective or toxic.

40% or more of Americans treat themselves with alternative or “Holistic” medicine without professional supervision or disclosing it to their Psychiatrist/Primary Care Doctor. Many patients use Holistic medicine while taking prescription Antidepressants which can cause dangerous interactions.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder.

MRI scans of people with Bipolar Disorder are similar to each other but significantly different from people without Bipolar.

When Bipolar Disorder goes undiagnosed and the person is given the wrong medication and self medicates it makes them much more difficult to treat when they are diagnosed.

I remember when my Mom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. I was devastated. The first thing people said was “Did she smoke?”.

If she did smoke, did that mean she deserved to die a horrible death? People don’t think before they speak.

No one mentioned any Holistic medicine instead of Chemo and Radiation.

When my kidneys failed and I was in the ER, not one person mentioned “Holistic Medicine” as an alternative to saving my life.

Mental Illness is no different, at least for me it isn’t.

I may not always be able to edit myself online but face to face it’s much easier.

It’s easier because I never really talk to anyone. When I get the chance I get too excited and I start to stutter. The shame and embarrassment kicks in.

I would like to know 1 entire day without feeling shame. I know what I’ve put my family through. If I thought vitamins, yoga, meditation, would make it better believe me I would be doing it. Actually I’ve done it.Zen stones in water

 


12 STEPS TO INSANITY CONTINUED

Many people would not be able to stay sober without a 12 Step Program. I acknowledge this and accept it. I wish it went both ways. I have often been told that I “would never make it without a program”. I’ve been sober or in remission for over 9 years without a program. It isn’t for everyone.

I couldn’t handle being in a room filled with strangers and feeling their pain plus my own. I’m like a sponge that way. I also wasn’t hearing anyone say anything similar to my situation. No one admitted to drinking because they were afraid of meeting new people, afraid of talking to people, afraid to make friends, or just simply afraid.

No one admitted that at times they wanted to hurt themselves because they felt they didn’t belong anywhere. That they would look around a room and ask themselves “Why can’t I be like other people?” never feeling comfortable in their own skin. Or how much of a failure they felt like because the person that was born with them was able to do everything they couldn’t.

I can’t remember how many times I watched my twin sister and wondered if maybe there wasn’t a mistake made at the hospital. We were so different. Because we are twins people felt it was ok to comment on how different we were in front of us. I was always the fat, quiet one, she was always the thin, outgoing one. After years of hearing this it’s how you start to identify yourself too.

No one told stories of getting wasted and having sex with more than one guy in a night or waking up and not remembering if you had sex or not. There were no stories of hanging out with men who thought it was fun to make you cry or hit you. It was a group of men that for some reason wouldn’t let me go and I couldn’t get the courage to escape from for years. Some tried to help while others made things worse. Yes, I put myself in that situation because I thought I deserved it. I didn’t know I was sick or an alcoholic I just knew that at that time it was the best I could do. Secretly I hoped one of them would kill me and so I drank more.

There were no stories like that. I didn’t feel like I could tell them either. I needed a lot more help than a 12 Step Meeting could provide. I just didn’t know it yet. It would take several more years to figure it out.

Mental illness coupled with self-medicating is one of the hardest things in life you will ever go through. If you actually get through it I’m proud of you because it’s a Hell of journey and not many of us make it. It takes more than one or two relapses before you get it for some reason that’s just how it is. I’m here to say that if that happens don’t wast time beating yourself up. Ask yourself why? After that let it go and move forward. If you don’t you will keep repeating the same pattern.


12 STEPS TO INSANITY

Imagine you have had severe anxiety from a young age. You taught yourself not to make eye contact, to look at the ground while walking, used baggy clothes and long hair to try to be invisible. You felt more comfortable in long sleeved hoodies where you could pull sleeves over your hands because it made you feel safe. Imagine feeling nauseous 24/7 and throwing up or dry heaving daily. This started at 9 years old.

You discover something that makes it all go away. Alcohol. The thing is alcohol didn’t work on you the way it did on everyone else. Alcohol is usually a depressant but the majority of the times you drink you’re hyper, impulsive, talk fast, promiscuous, and stay up all night. You don’t think it’s odd because you don’t know anything else. But when the hardcore alcoholics you hang out with comment on it you start to wonder.

Eventually you aren’t the happy, hyper, drunk anymore. Events and circumstances change. Depression starts to creep in while you’re drinking. So does jealousy and anger. This leads to more negative events that change you dramatically.

When things get to a point where you’re given an ultimatum, a 12 Step Program or being homeless, you agree to the 12 Step Program. You shouldn’t have.

You had been to a few Psychiatrists who diagnosed you with Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder and put you on medication that wasn’t exactly working.

You’re forced to meet a person you don’t know and agree to make her your Sponsor. She goes to meetings 3 times a day. The first meeting you have to go to is a large open meeting where everyone knew each other. There were about 70 people and believe me people noticed when I walked in.

When a thrust a person with Social Anxiety into a group setting where they don’t know anyone, they’re there for something they feel ashamed of, and they also have PTSD but haven’t been diagnosed yet, it isn’t a great experience.

When you then force that person to get up and speak in front of everyone it causes harm. I hated it, I never wanted to go back, I disliked the people, I disliked the several comments made when a few men noticed the scars on my wrists, I hated that they monitored what you could and could not say at an open meeting, I hated that my sponsor wanted me to go to 3 meetings a day while working 50 hours a week and taking care of my Mom who had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. My sponsor’s response was “You found time to drink didn’t you?”

I didn’t drink like other people. I never drank during the day. I always drank from 4-5 pm to around 1 am on work night and later if I had the next day off. I never drank alone. I know this doesn’t matter, I’m still an alcoholic. But everyone is different in their patterns and behaviors.

The worse part were the comments about not really being “sober” if you’re on medication. I knew this was directed at me. Every meeting someone brought it up. How antidepressants were a crutch and a substitute for alcohol. I think I have permanent scars on the inside of my mouth from biting my cheeks and tongue.

I never felt like I could be honest at meetings. The stress was overwhelming. When my sponsor had us go to a meeting for a group of male convicts to speak that was it. I lost it. I told her I couldn’t do it. She told me I better get on my knees and pray because I bound to fail and go to Hell. When it comes to religion and anyone telling me I’m going to Hell or to pray it’s like waiving a red flag in front of a bull.

Things didn’t end well. I refused to put myself in a room where I might run into someone I used to drink with, someone who hurt me physically and mentally. I was right not to because there were 2 men in there that I did know. If they had seen me or I them I would’ve had a breakdown or worse.

People with mental illness and addiction have to be treated in a different way. 

I don’t believe a person with mental illness who is self medicating with drugs/alcohol should be thrown into a regular 12 step meeting. It isn’t going to work. We need more than that.

I’m more sensitive to the concept of shame. Shame actually had a lot to do with my failing to stay sober. When I was able to take shame out of the equation I was able to achieve sobriety. Too much importance is put on “How many days do you have?” or “What is your sober date?” First of all I have damage to my brain and don’t remember my sober date or how many days. 

Second, keeping track like that is setting yourself up for failure. Life isn’t about numbers unless you’re an accountant. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you’re intent was/is when you made them that matters.


I REALIZED I HAD ENOUGH IT WAS TIME

I had to leave the house today. It scared me and I didn’t want to. As I was driving on the highway I suddenly felt sad. Sad like I’ve never known. No one took my calls. I then felt like drinking. I have not felt the need to drink in years. After that came the question “What if I just let go of the wheel?” Then a tiny voice said “What the fuck are you doing?”.

I turned the car around and went to an Emergency Psychiatric Facility I had read about last year. I forced myself out of my car and into the building. I stood outside their door watching for about 10 minutes. My legs were shaking and my hands felt numb.

I eventually went in and stood in a corner shaking. A kind woman behind the glass came out and asked me if I needed help. I told her I did. I was stuttering badly and crying. One of the Social Workers told her he would fit me in as soon as possible. I heard him say “She has Conversion Disorder which is making it difficult for her to give information”. He spent 2 hours talking to me, getting all of my background information, my family history, everything about me that might be important.

Usually you have to wait a few months before seeing one of their Psychiatrists for an assessment but they had been monitoring me since I walked in and the Director of Psychiatry took an interest and made room to see me next Friday for 2 hours. They take Medicare. The Director is a woman which the male Social Worker thought I might have an easier time talking to because of some of the things I’ve been through and because I’ve never had a female psychiatrist.

We decided not to let my current psychiatrist know anything until I’ve decided if I’m going to keep going to them. I already liked the fact that the Social Worker was surprised my doctor put me on a new medication that was potentially dangerous and then didn’t want to see me for 6 months. It made me feel better, like I wasn’t the only one who thought he was dropping the ball.

This was a big step for me. Usually I would’ve needed my sister or my dad with me but I’m learning that isn’t always possible or fair.On-My-Own-Quotes-006


THE NEED TO REMINISCE

 

These were some of the places I drank at, had fun at or got in trouble at. I met interesting people and I met some of the worse people. Some are known and some are no longer here.

I remember filling my purse with Purple Passion and sneaking it in to Rocky Point. We weren’t old enough to drink. We would go to see hair bands that hadn’t exactly “made it” yet. Of course me being me while drunk, I made sure W and I met them all. It helped that W is extremely attractive. The problem was she never knew it and didn’t know how to use it. I could talk a good game if I was drunk so it worked.

The problem with W not knowing how attractive she was is I had to be alert at all times.

One night there were two guys in black leather jackets with long black curly hair. One of them was in his 30’s and had a walking stick. He didn’t need a walking stick. He was using it to lift the skirts of girls/women that walked by. I noticed it but W did not. I never wore mini skirts or any skirts and even if I did I doubt anyone would try to look under it. I was still around 200 pounds at the time.

We walked by and sure enough I see the stick headed W’s direction and she still had no clue. It touched the inside of her thigh when I grabbed it and threw it into the Beer Garden. People were not happy. But I didn’t care. No one hurt W and she felt the same about me.

We met Danger Danger, Kip Winger (I accidentally insulted his height by calling him petite), Pantera (Bad choice to go into the pit. Then I don’t remember the rest of the night where I supposedly brought them to a friends house for refreshments), Dream Theater, another band that begins with a S like Slaughter that wore flannels but I can’t remember the name. We probably went to a lot of shows there I just can’t remember.

Club Babyhead wasn’t for the weak. It was kind of crazy and we weren’t supposed to be in there. You couldn’t avoid getting hit by someone. Most likely it was going to be this football player/wrestler we had gone to school with. He was huge and it was all muscle. He was an attractive guy but not someone you could talk politics with or anything else too difficult. I was kicked out for good when I had words with the bouncer, another large man with a shiny bald head. This is where my bro in law first met Green Day and they stayed at his mom’s house. BFF’s ever since. So you know it wasn’t yesterday.

The Station is hard to talk about. The fire was horrible, the loss of lives haunting. I had my own demons with the place and the people who worked and went there. I did a lot of drinking there. I was never cut off. I would go with J and he would be passed out at the bar one minute and have another beer in front of him the next. I had seen people puke and go back to being served. I didn’t care at the time because I was still being served.

I also started going to The Station before I was 21. It depended on who I was with and who was working the door. Some of them let me in for extra cash and some for free if I was with the right person.

I met Sebastian Bach for the first time there, a guy who had been in KISS once gave me a lovely offer that I declined, I spent time with Zakk Wylde and his family when I found out my Mom had Lung Cancer, had a run in with the lead singer of RATT, spent hours talking to the lead singer of White Lion Mike Tramp, there were probably more but I don’t remember. There were more bad memories than good that went with the place. I was banned once but I don’t remember why. I do remember my phone ringing nonstop the night of the fire. People thought I still went there and were afraid I was there that night.

At Lupo’s I remember seeing FIGHT and I think VOIVOD was opening. I got into a fight with W’s boyfriend and my cousin went home with a member of VOIVOD that even I wouldn’t have touched with a 10 foot pole. He kept asking if I was joining them the entire ride back to J’s apartment. His English wasn’t great and neither was his name which fit him perfectly.

The METOO movement has brought up many unpleasant things for me. I’ve been sexually assaulted in some way or another more times than I like to admit. At first I thought I deserved it. I had such low self-esteem and the people I hung around with used it to their advantage. When I did tell someone nothing was done because they said “You were drunk. We can’t take your statement seriously.” The other problem was one of the people in the group had a Father that was friendly with members of the police department.

I take responsibility for continuing to drink and be in their company. That was my choice. It made me an angry, suspicious, and at times violent, person. I went from low self-esteem to raging bitch after several years of being treated like garbage.

I got a little better when I stopped having anything to do with them. Unfortunately memories like those never fade and that rage would come back now and then.

A career didn’t keep me silent, money or fame didn’t keep me silent, out and out fear kept me silent. When you’re beaten so badly you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror and you try to tell your family that you didn’t fall down the stairs drunk he did it to you and they say “We just can’t believe you anymore. You’re a drunk”. It changes your view of the World.

Eventually my family found out the truth. It was too late. The damage had been done. I was so scared when it was happening because at one point I couldn’t breathe. Blood was going down the back of my throat and my nose was swollen shut and bleeding also. I was pinned to the floor so I couldn’t lift my head, I felt like I was drowning. I just saw red and black before passing out. I then woke up at the bottom of his apartment stairs with him laughing at the top coming down towards me.

I don’t know. Lately everything bothers me. All the different movements. No one seems to have a story like mine. A shame filled, alcohol filled, hate filled, mental illness filled, never ending self loathing story.

 

 


BIRTHDAYS AND OTHER STUFF

When you are a twin, Birthday Parties are not really that fun. When you have problems with Anxiety at a young age they are worse. When you don’t understand why you feel the way you do or why can’t “act normal” they’re a nightmare.

I’ve described previous Birthday Parties where I would watch my twin sister from a hiding place trying to understand how she could talk to people, laugh, or even smile. I felt sick and wanted to go home. I’ve always had a hard time making friends. My voice is not loud and I’ve always had a hard time being heard. I was also afraid of saying the wrong thing or saying something that would make other people laugh at me. They already laughed at me because of my thick glasses, my weight, and my skin. I had won the lottery for being bullied.

It wasn’t until I started drinking that I actually had some great Birthday Parties. Sober people with self-esteem and self-respect wouldn’t have thought they were great but I did.

I think it was my 18th year when J. did a surprise party for me. There was HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner, a keg, cupcakes, an entire football team (invited just for me), a raffle (I won a bottle of Fire Water which I drank), and about 100 people in and out of his small apartment wishing me a Happy Birthday. Things did take a little turn for the worse after I drank the bottle of Fire Water but it was still good. (Fire Water at the time was as close to 100 proof as you could get Cinnamon Schnapps that we would put in the freezer).

Most of my Birthdays while I was drinking were actually fun. I think.

I have not celebrated my Birthday in the 9 and half years or so I’ve been sober. I am down to 1 friend who works a lot and has a boyfriend. My twin celebrates our Birthday with her husband and children. My Dad usually forgets or just says Happy Birthday.

January 11th I will be 45. I’m kind of feeling this one. I’ve been depressed for a long time now and can’t seem to climb out of it. My Dad and I are fighting constantly. Mostly because I keep trying too hard. He refuses to learn new things like how to use the new TV I bought him or the right foods to eat so he doesn’t die while on Dialysis. He also insists on shoveling the driveway when he doesn’t have to. My anxiety is at an all time high.

Lately he likes to make little comments or digs. I remember he used to do this with my Mom sometimes. My Mom would give it back to him. I have a hard time doing that because he scares me at times and I have no where else to live.

I’ve been doing DBT for the last few weeks and it sucks just as much as I remember. “Don’t judge your judging”. Ok. That’s a brilliant idea. I wish I had thought of that. “Take a walk outside when you’re triggered”. Ok. It’s 9 degrees out and there’s snow so that isn’t happening. And my favorite “Try doing some exercise or yoga”. If I had the energy or will to wash my hair, get dressed, shovel out my car, rob someone to pay for yoga lessons, maybe I would. “Make someone you love cookies”. Why? So they can yell at me for using the stove? Complain about what kind I made? Because this is what I live with.

It’s almost my Birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.5e507ed572b2cde6eba0358f3836f8ff


ROCK BOTTOM

I had many “rock bottoms” but they never really stopped me from drinking for too long. Only one thing eventually stopped me. Learning the reason why I was drinking.

It took too many years to figure it out but when I did it made everything clearer for me.

Drinking took away that empty ache I always had. It took away the anxiety I felt 24 hours a day. Yes, I know alcohol causes more anxiety as the alcohol leaves your system, but it was so bad I didn’t care. I just needed some time without it. Feeling like you’re on a roller coaster all the time is exhausting. Without alcohol I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. I never would’ve left my bedroom. Some would say that would’ve been a good thing. But they were not inside my head. If you have General Anxiety and Social Anxiety, which used to be called “Social Phobia” than you understand.

Alcohol took as much as it gave. It took my money, friends, family, health, dignity, and what little self-esteem I had.

I tried to stop drinking many times over 20 plus years. Some of these times were court ordered and some I decided on my own. I attended AA for two years and disliked it immensely. I also went to an outpatient rehab 3 times a week for a year. That wasn’t bad but I still went back to drinking. The reason? I never asked myself why and neither did anyone else. Self-medicating was never brought up anywhere I went. Not at any of the Psychiatrists, Therapists, AA meetings, or rehab.

It wasn’t until I was 36 that a Doctor asked why? I answered honestly. So I wouldn’t feel anything that I was feeling. He dug deeper. He asked about my family history and if anyone had addiction issues or mental health problems. When I told him my family history I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head. I didn’t understand why.

He said “No one has ever diagnosed you with a mental illness?” I told him one Psychiatrist diagnosed me with “Social Phobia”. He asked if she had given me medication for it. I told him she prescribed me Paxil then Prozac. At this point he was shaking his “NO” so hard I was worried.

We talked more and he made an appointment for me to come back the following week when he had my test results.

I was diagnosed as Bipolar with Social Anxiety. The Conversion Disorder came a little later. My hands shook but I didn’t think to tell him. I thought it was caffeine. It wasn’t until food started falling off every utensil that I knew it was something else. When I started to stutter and my head started to shake a little I was terrified. My Doctor had an idea what it was but sent me to a specialist to be sure.

I stopped drinking the day I was diagnosed. It’s been about 9 and half years. I do not know the exact date and time because I forget a lot of things. I’ve forgotten more since I had a round of ECT (Shock Therapy) that didn’t go as planned. Also I didn’t plan on dying for a few seconds or being under anesthesia for so long or so many times. But that’s what happens when you go into Kidney Failure and don’t know it.

I also don’t believe that if you “fall off the wagon” one time  that should you should go back to zero. I know too many people who had years of sobriety slip up once and because of the shame kept drinking. I believe if the stigma and shame were taken away this wouldn’t happen. I’m living proof.

Five years ago I drank one night. One night. Since then I have not had another drink. I was honest with my family about it and they understood but were not happy. They didn’t shun me or make me start over either.

I recently read a Tweet where someone had a drunk dream and their biggest worry was that they would’ve wasted their 5 years of sobriety. It shouldn’t be like that. What if you’r at a wedding and accidentally grab the wrong soda and it has rum in it? Do you start over? I know it’s different because it isn’t intentional but it was the first concert I had ever been to sober, I was alone, in another state, I was manic and I had just died a few weeks before. When I showed up alone I felt like everyone was looking at me (not in a good way because why would they do that?) Then when I realized it was in a good way I didn’t know how to react. I had always been over 200 pounds at concerts and now I was 125 (because I was sick) so I panicked.

The next morning I booked a flight home and talked to my family. It’s been 4 and half years since then. So 9 and half years. If you don’t like it you don’t have to do it.086a8d692cb6d849fed48f86d0d04959


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