Friday, March 11, 2011

The Need to be Me

My life has been a whirlwind of change in past months. Giving up daily drinking binges was an amazing turning point for me. I had been using the alcohol to express myself. I had to learn who I really was again. I was existing in my emotional sub conscience every day. It took some serious getting used to; to get comfortable being sober was not an overnight feat. I still drink for social occasions. I am not an alcoholic that spirals back into alcohol abuse after one drink. In fact, it only reminds me why I needed to stop, and, well, hangovers suck!

I suffered a lot of insomnia and anxiety about sleep for quite a while. I was used to blacking out and not remembering how I got to bed. I had a lot of amends to make with my 10 year old daughter, who had began resenting me, and fearing our daily trip to the liquor store. I had a lot of guilt for the $300 plus a month we were spending on alcohol. I can't take back the past, but I can appreciate that I pulled myself out and regained my priorities.

We finally got out of the tiny, dark, moldy duplex we were in and moved a block away into a perfect sized house. All of the kiddos have their own rooms, which I painted for them. Destin has a Bob Marley/Rastafarian room. Aliviya has a mix of her favorite color- Lime Green, Purple, and Teal. Victorya has a Lavender Tinkerbell Room. We have a huge sandbox and a garden area. I am going to grow some things this year!

I am growing inside, too. I realized that most of how I defined myself, was really about being a mother, a wife, an aunt, a sister-in-law... but that I hadn't been nurturing myself. I am still learning how. I have so much guilt when I think of myself. I have emotional road blocks in the form of all of the people who have judged me or condemned my actions.

I have been rapid-cycling. For anyone who does not know, I am Bi-polar and unmedicated. I choose to manage my depression and mania rather than medicate, and have been med free for many years. I have not rapid cycled since before my meth addiction and now I am re-evaluating my options for medications. My depressions and manic episodes used to be mild and switched only a couple times a year. They are now changing as often as 2 times a week. I need an adjustment period in order to recognize the change and switch gears, and it is happening so fast that I do not feel very in control anymore. I realize now that I was self medicating with the alcohol and so of course things are different without it.

I am under a new Dr's care and I am being my own self advocate despite my challenges. My back is slowly getting better. I had to switch my whole family to new Primary care, because the care we were getting was horrible.

Destin was hospitalized again for suicidal ideation related to his anxiety. He thought he was better and wanted off his meds. It was a scary lesson, but an important one. He is back on them and just finally stabilizing again. He has not been diagnosed, but I see classic symptoms of Bipolar. He is on abilify for his anxiety, but I do believe it is managing the bipolar symptoms.

We have an amazing in house counseling service and we have 3 different mental health professionals working with our whole family and it is wonderful.

I don't know where I am going with my life, but I am staying in the race and moving forward. I need to be writing again. I need to learn how to express myself without alcohol and get closer to my goal of writing a book. I need to be accountable for me, to me. I am getting past the fears that have prevented me from reaching some of my goals.

I am going back to school in the fall and my baby will be starting preschool! I also learned that my felony will not come up on an FBI background check after 7 years, and that means I can still be a nurse! Being able to use my mistakes and experiences to help others has always been my dream.

Making myself a priority does not come naturally to me, but I am getting better at it, and I am realizing that defining myself allows me to have better relationships. I need to be Me.

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6 comments:

  1. Oh missy ... I feel for you ... and I will tell you one of the most important things I have learned in life post-childbirth is that while it may be true that "if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy" ... the reverse is also true ... "if mama is happy and takes care of herself ... the whole house is happier" ... take the time to take care of you, it also teaches your children that you're important as well! *hugs*

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  2. i can very much relate to the self-medication thing. i stopped drinking a year ago after a lifetime of using alcohol to feel ok. its like learning to be a grown up person at last. good luck with everything and keep on keeping on!

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  3. Sweetheart, you know I love you right? Its been a long time since we've had a good chat but I know the connection is still there. Your post here triggered many thoughts and feelings for me. One is that I don't take any time for myself, my life is about others and if I don't figure out a way to take care of me I will not be much good to anyone sooner than later.

    Another thougth - I know there is a lot of controversy and personal convictions about taking meds, but I do hope that you consider it. I know from my own depression that when I decide I am well and stop - in a month or less I am so low I can barely get out of bed. NOT GOOD!

    Lastly, your dear son. This is so close to my heart because of Keven. I hope I can save you some of what we went through so that Destin has a fighting chance to continue on in his life without the ugly detour Keven took. If you have not heard of NAMI I suggest you contact them immediately and sign up for their Family to Family course. (National Alliance for Mental Illness). They are a non-profit and have been a valuable resource to millions. Explain to Destin that the reason he feels good enough to stop the meds is because THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB, and once he stops taking them, he won't feel good. I've lost track of how many times has been hospitalized for suicial ideation (last week he was!!) but its something you want to get under control NOW. Since Destin is a minor this won't show up anywhere, but they keep track of adults who have been in mental hospitals and it follows them for life. Keven can never join the military, work certain types of jobs, own a gun, etc. But the worse part is the stigma it carries.

    So all this to say: I care about you and your family. Just as you have used alcohol to self medicate, Destin will do the same if he's not on the right meds. Keven chose heroin and his life is basically fucked up. Do whatever you can now to steer him away from that direction.

    Love you.

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  4. Damn it is good to see you back on the scene and back to doing what you love and what a lot of people love...your writing.
    Congrats on taking charge of your life and providing guidance to those who you care about and those who care for you ie your family.
    Keep it up..believe me it sdoes get better every moment

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  5. How on earth do you manage without medication? I've got bipolar schizoaffective and just go nuts on mania without antipsychotics. I'm very new to this diagnosis (but not the symptoms: YEARS of depression with tiny teeny blips of what I thought "might be hypomania" now I know they were fucking hypomania and I'm very irritated at medical staff who treated me like a psychiatric hypochondriac for confiding this...) anyway I get so manic I lose the ability (temporarily: it's not every second of every day it's the peak between mid morning and mid afternoon) I lose the ability off and on to even think in English I just think in noise. I'm a VERY restrained person and everyone knew I had gone mad but fucking hell if I was the sort of person who's ultra impulsive anyway Id have got in SUCH trouble... I'm not asking for a long piece but... how do you do it? You sound like you're suffering as much as you can bear to right now and I saw your comment at Anna Grace's blog, which is what brought me here.

    O... I don't know what to say except I feel for you.

    And have you considered taking maybe just ONE medication rather than perhaps two?

    I'm only on antipsychotic (risperidone) and only 4mg (any more just would make me feel ill so I take this 4mg nightly to sleep out the most intense part)... but I'm not on a mood stabilizer. Now I know our problems are different and our diagnoses different but you might be OK on a different cockatail than you were before...

    I'm just realizing I feel a bit depressed, nothing major but I feel it and this stuff that is essentially from what I can divine antimanic just ain't cutting it. I can't do antiDs they make me hyper and last time I crashed WHILE ON THE BASTARD THINGS that was the all-time pits I didn't realize the pills were doing this, hallucinated a corpse in my bathroom mirror and thought I was in "spiritual crisis" I was depressed enough to lose the ability to put on a bullshit "I'm fine" act which means pretty bad depression...

    Darling you really need to speak to your doctor and find yourself a good one. I'm so lucky I knoew in a fingersnap that mine was more than OK, GOOD, VERY GOOD when I first met him. He didnt know what was wrong with me and pretty much his first words were "I don't think more drugs are going to be good for you" in other words he watched and waited and then I went manic and mad and THEN he gave me antipsychotics, then he told me I was schizoaffective. I had thought I was bipolar and dnearly fell over backwards. So I had to swallow this motherfucker of a pill... you might have to swallow a pill or two to feel OK. I can't preach I have "noncompliiance" written on my birth cert as my middle name ... all I'm saying is it seems from my end you need to do something. Take care ;-)

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  6. shit what i was thinking but forgot to say (typical) is that of course on top of an antidepressant you're probably gonna need a mood stabilizer if you don't wanna go manic. but you might be ok, who knows. you don't know unless you TRY :-)

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