Avoiding…Everything, Because That’s How I Do…

Obviously, I haven’t posted for a couple a weeks now.  Totally lame, I know.  It’s totally lame, not because I’m sure everyone is dying to hear what I have to say, but because writing is how I deal.  Writing is how I organize my thoughts a little.  I have not been organizing my thoughts and I have been purposefully avoiding doing this for two weeks now.

This is relapse country for me.  Relapsing isn’t necessarily about the chemicals I put in my body. Relapse is about the mindset I adopt.  I know I’m headed to a bad place when I start shutting down emotionally, isolating, and avoiding.  My avoidance seems to start off innocently enough.  At first I’m just reading , nothing wrong with reading and who doesn’t like a good book?  Then all I’m doing is reading; not communicating, not getting out of the house much, not taking care of myself.  I still feel reasonably good about myself, though, because I’m not drinking so I think I’m all aces.

The problem is that sticking my nose in a book for hours on end doesn’t make any of the problems or negative emotions go away.  I can keep reading but I’m still unable to get away from the lurking anxiety and depression I feel creeping up.  Pretty soon the books won’t be enough, I’ll need a drink or a pill to help me detach from these feelings I don’t want to feel.

The last two weeks sort of helped me clarify a pattern I’ve been in since beginning recovery.  I’ve hinted at a little so far but today I broke it down into an easy set of drawn diagrams.  Check this out:

2018-02-23-050017

Realize I’m depressed and really fed up with life as it currently is.  Decide to take action and start working on myself.  First step, of course, get sober.

2018-02-23-050017_2

Okay, sweet!  Got sober and now I feel like I am on top of the world and I can achieve anything.  2018-02-23-050017_3

Get a little mental clarity and realize that I have some huge issues in my life that must be dealt with besides my addiction.  Okay, I’ll just come out and say it; I’m not in a good relationship and I don’t know how to end it.

2018-02-23-050017_4

So far in my recovery my choice has been to take the easy route; screw this emotional bullshit and I am going back to drinking.

Seriously? and what is the definition of insanity?  I keep thinking somehow I’m going to get different results from my relationship.  I suppose it’s  not wrong to want the person you’ve spent years with to get sober with you.  It is wrong to keep staying with a person who keeps dragging you backward, though.

I guess after three years of trying it’s time to move on and accept that I can’t change anyone but myself.  I’m just terrified because I know this most likely will come some pain and some tears, things I really try to avoid.  How much more pain and tears will there be if I choose to do nothing, though?   What about my the tears and the pain I have when I relapse?  What about wanting to grow into someone better? No growth comes without pain.

I just can’t help but think about how much this is going to suck…and that drink sounds awfully good…

 

Art by me.

Advertisements

What About Love?

Been neglecting the blog a bit this week, yet again.   Probably because I’ve been getting  high.  High on that Love drug anyway.  I’ve been spending entirely too much time sitting around messaging my friend and enjoying the euphoric buzz of fantasizing about someone.  Yeah, unfortunately I’m still on that stupid kick and can’t seem to shake it.  Hello my lovely endorphins and this is so much easier and more enjoyable than, say, working out.

A fantasy can be so much better than reality.  My  fantasy my partner is perfect, he understands everything about me, he can read my mind and know exactly what I need when I need it.  In my fantasies there aren’t any fights that don’t end with great make-up sex, my boo is never sick or grouchy or just plain irritable for no reason.  I’m just as perfect in my fantasies; I don’t say or do things that hurt my partner, I’m always happy, I’m super witty and everything I cook turns out amazing.  Fantasies are fun, I guess that’s what makes poorly written romance novels such big sellers.  The problem with fantasies is that they are by definition fantastic.

fan·ta·sy     ˈfan(t)əsē/           noun

the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable

fan·tas·tic      fanˈtastik/            adjectiv

informal

extraordinarily good or attractive.

 

(Thanks dictionary.com for reminding me that sometimes I’m an idiot.)  Having a crush on someone is the act of imagining something extraordinarily  good that is also most likely improbable or impossible.  The funny part is that knowing logically that fantasy is simply fantasy doesn’t stop the brain from producing all those annoying neurochemical reactions that make us wobbly in the knees with butterflies in our tummies.  “Love” is really annoying like that!  Or maybe neurochemicals are just annoying like that?  I have long standing battle with all the different neurochemicals in my brain so I think I will just stick with blaming them

Love seems like an appropriate topic with Valentine’s Day coming up this week.  The over-hyped, commercialized “love” day or Singles Awareness Day (SAD) if you prefer.  Since I’ve been feeling all crushy this week and working hard to convince myself that I AM NOT it’s got me thinking about what makes love, well, love.  We all go through that crush phase when we meet someone.  We are absolutely  twitterpated, everything is great, our new partner can do no wrong.  Suddenly we’re in love with life again and life revolves around that person. The sun is brighter, the air is sweeter, birds are chirping everywhere for no apparent reason.  (check the last post link for why love is like smoking crack)  

Not only does our dopamine and norepinephrine conspire against us, just be careful handing out your hugs.  Turns out hugging someone for twenty seconds can raise the level of oxytocin in your system.  Oxytocin, also known as “the cuddle hormone”, now joins the army of bodily functions conspiring against your better senses.  The body produces oxytocin when mothers breast feed their babies.  Scientists believe oxytocin helps mothers bond with their newborn.  Want to know what else makes the body produce oxytocin?  Orgasms. Yup, the body produces a hormone that makes people cuddly and bonded after being intimate.  Oxytocin effects both men and women, there is no escape!  Nature has prepared us a wonderful chemical cocktail for the purpose of perpetuating our species.  It tastes great and it gets you really fucked up! 

As an  addict  I’ve always enjoyed the love cocktail.  In my twenties I jumped from one relationship to the other because I always felt like when the “high” was gone I must not be in love anymore.  Obviously I’m over simplifying;  low self-esteem, mood disorder, codependency and a variety of other issues led to my general flakiness but the bottom line-I wanted the high to last forever.

  I don’t think it’s entirely my fault, I do feel like our culture perpetuates the notions of “true love” and “happily ever after” and sets an impossible ideal for relationship perfection.  That’s part of my excuse, anyway.  Whatever the reason, I have not had a lot of experience with serious, long term relationships.  I’ve been in two relationships that lasted over two years, one being my current relationship.  I suppose that isn’t all that bad, I’ve known people with worse track records than me.  

It seems to me that eventually, no matter how in love you are, the crush high will wear off.  So, what comes after the crush?  What is love after all the fireworks are over and it’s time to go home?  If you have five minutes this is very interesting (and quick) article on those love chemicals:

LoveMonogamyandVoles

Since I’ve been in recovery I have been trying my best not to think with my addiction when it comes to my relationships.  I’ve thought that maybe I don’t feel the “rush” from my relationship anymore but that I should be building something stronger than that.  After the neurochemical party is over shouldn’t there be a partnership?  Now I find myself questioning that partnership, questioning why I really stay in my current relationship.  Do I have a good partnership or am I just too afraid of change?

These thoughts have been frightening if I’m honest.  If I’m very honest these thoughts make want to drink more than anything.  If I’m totally honest these thoughts have made me drink, more than once, in the past.  Really would like a drink right now.  Really would like to escape into a fantasy and not have to debate these thoughts at all.

Think I’ll have to continue this post later.  I’m getting a little tired and I feel like I’m about to launch into some boring and tedious thought loops about love and happiness.  Let’s do that later.  For now, let’s embrace fantasy love for the sake of Valentine’s day.  Perfect, happy, cutesy love that comes in a heart shaped box with a guaranteed Happily Ever After or your money back!

 

 

Ladies Night

I’ve been neglecting my blogging a little this week.  I suppose I have been a little preoccupied.  Some of my preoccupation has been less than healthy.  Sigh, puppy love.  I have, however, found some other, healthier preoccupations as well.   I am trying to get my head out of the clouds and focus myself back on recovery and staying sober.

Now that I’m a few weeks sober and finally not sick or post-surgical I decided it was time to start exercising-for real.  Regular exercise can help with depression and anxiety.  Exercise stimulates endorphins and helps boost self confidence.  I know exercise is an important part of recovery.  When I’m exercising on a regular basis I feel better and I’m less prone to rapid mood changes.  I know it’s good for me but it’s still hard sometimes to get the momentum going.

I can’t say I’m much of a natural athlete.  I was definitely that awkward kid in gym class that get picked last for every team.  Badminton, I wasn’t even good at badminton, I’m a little uncoordinated.  There is no way my ass is going to the gym.  It’s stupid but I can’t get comfortable with the idea of working out in front of people.  I stay at home and workout because it’s fun.  I can crank up my tunes and dance around like a lunatic between sets of free weights.  My dogs get me out for cardio because they hold me accountable to a least one walk a day.  I’m sore from getting back into the rhythm of daily exercise but I can already tell I’m sleeping a little better.

In addition to the exercise I finally made it to my ladies meditation meeting this week.  I missed the last couple of sessions because of my cold and surgery and because I was really being a chicken shit about trying something new.  I was fine with the idea of going right up until about an hour before I supposed to go and then my anxiety started kicking my butt.   I really had no excuse not to go this week so bullied myself into going.  “C’mon, c’mon, get your butt out the door, one foot in front of the other, don’t overthink, just do!”

Like a lot of things I think I don’t want to do I ended up having a nice time despite myself.  It’s been a while since I’ve been involved in a group and I had forgotten that sometimes it’s nice to share with real, live human beings.  I don’t have a lot of close relationships with other women.  Going through recovery I’ve met some great ladies and I realized that I really do need female friends.  I mean, I work in all male prison, I have a boyfriend who has two boys.  I’m around dudes constantly, it’s ridiculous!  Sometimes I just need that feminine energy and perspective.

The meeting was actually better than I thought.  We did a guided meditation which I was really needing at the moment.  The group is currently working on a book.

20180208_183202

Easy read but pretty deep subject matter.  I like it because it plays into what I’ve been learning about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, how our thoughts shape our reality.  I enjoyed sitting with a group of adults and discussing a book, life changes and other positive things.  I really enjoyed the fact that the focus was on spiritual and personal growth and not about drugs or alcohol.  The meeting experience ended up being a positive one.  I can thank my inner bully for pushing me out the front the door.

It has been a pretty decent week for my sobriety.  I’ve taken some more positive steps to bolster my sobriety.  Cravings and anxiety have gotten a little better, not amazing yet, but better.  Better can be good.  I’ll take it.

Just Gotta Get My Fix Somewhere

My brain just has to have something to be addicted to.  That’s the only way I can explain why I suddenly find myself behaving like a thirteen year old at Justin Timberlake concert.  I think I might be a little twitterpated…and it’s not with my boyfriend.  WTF?

Is this the hypomania talking?  Is this some kind of weird addiction my brain is coming up with to replace alcohol.  Is this normal?  I soooo do not know what normal even is!

 I have always found love and relationships to be extremely confusing.  I’m sure I am not the only who feels this way but I’ve always had this sneaking suspicion that I was not present the day they were handing out the rule books on love.  Right now I’m feeling just as confused as ever.  Here I was hoping that I had finally gotten old enough to not be ruled by every little romantic whim that makes my heart go pitter-patter but noooo. Just no.

 Here’s the story. I have a guy friend who I’ve known for almost three years and all that time we’ve never been more than just friends.  Yes, I will admit that I have always found him attractive.  He isn’t tall, dark and handsome but he’s cute and has qualities that I find attractive.  Friendo and I both love to read and have similar taste in books. Friendo is super witty and intelligent and always makes me laugh. Yeah, I got a thing for guys who can make me laugh.  I’ll take smart and funny over big and brawny any day.  All that being said we’ve just been friends, it’s never been more than that.  All of a sudden I’m having this interest in my friend that is a little more than just friendly.

 We went to lunch the other day and got on the subject of me not drinking.  At first I said I was just wanting to lose some weight, this is my usual excuse when I don’t want to tell someone I have a problem.  Even with friends I’m not big on discussing my personal life.  I always try to play it off like I am perfect and nothing is wrong.  My friend guessed that there was more to it than I was letting on.   I finally admitted that I drink way too much and that I just didn’t want to self anesthetize anymore, that I wasn’t happy with myself and I wasn’t sure I was happy with my life at the moment.  It kind of sucked to admit that last part  because I haven’t  really gotten around to admitting that to myself.

  I knew I was unhappy about my drinking and that it was wreaking havoc on my mental stability.  Quitting drinking has always been the easier part of recovery.  The hard part has been my relationship. Boyfriend is a nice guy with a really good heart.  I’ve been with boyfriend for almost seven years.  When we got together it was all about the party.  We’ve been drinking buddies for years. When I finally decided to get help and quit  he was supportive to an extent.  Over the last three years I’ve had ups and downs in sobriety but BF has always continued to drink.  Boyfriend drinks like I drank, daily and a lot more on weekends.  BF doesn’t see himself as an alcoholic because he goes to work, pays the bills and gets the kids to school early in the morning.  I’ve tried to explain that being an alcoholic doesn’t necessarily mean living under a bridge eating of garbage cans but he doesn’t see it.  Despite seeing me relapse several times and despite my asking him to stop to support me he continues to drink .  I know I can’t blame my relapses on him, at the end of the day I’ve made my own choices, but it’s a struggle to maintain sobriety living with someone who doesn’t think they need to give it up.

 January 1st was when I decided to quit again he said he wanted to join me.  I was super excited because I felt like finally we were in this together and I could really do this sobriety thing.  Unfortunately he seems to be back to drinking.  At the moment he’s been hiding out in the garage with his drinks.  I think he hopes I don’t notice but don’t kid a kidder, I am the queen of sneaky using.  Sigh.  The issue of my relationship came up a lot when I was in IOP, it came up with my sponsor, all the signs tend to be pointing to the fact that this may not be working yet I keep hoping against hope that it will work. I still love him even though this relationship may no longer be good for me. The biggest heartache for me is the kids.  Those little guys have been a part of my life for almost seven years, I have a relationship with them too.  Breaking up with an adult isn’t easy, how do you do that to little kids?  I’ve mentioned a million times already, I’m afraid of pain more than anything and I imagine things to be worse than they probably will.  I think I know what I need to do I’m just afraid to do it.  How does that saying go?  The pain of staying the same has to be greater than the pain of change?

2018-02-07-060744_3

 The last two paragraphs were what was going on in my head while I was pretending to be so engrossed in my gyro that I couldn’t speak.  Friendo is a nice guy but I’m not about to spill my guts that much.  Saying I wasn’t happy was enough.  Then friendo had to go and admit that he has been having problems with anxiety and has struggled with anxiety issues since childhood.  Maybe I’m too self centered or maybe we all just go around trying to convince everyone there is nothing with us but I never would have guessed that about my friend.  Oddly enough that admission made me more attracted to him.  Maybe it was just the fact that he admitted it to me, that he was able to be honest, that I find attractive.  Maybe it was just knowing that we’re a little similar.  Maybe my brain just latches onto anything that will give it a rush of endorphins.  Whatever the reason I suddenly feel this crush developing and I can’t stop thinking about friendo.

 This is not good.  Is this my crazy brain going through the love tunnel part of the sobriety roller coaster ride?  Are my feelings even legit or am I just feeling this way because I’m unable to cope with the issues in my current relationship?  Whatever it is, this can’t be good.

Since I cannot seem to get this crush out of my head I decided to do some reading today on the subject of love and addiction.  Studies seem to indicate that falling in love functions much like addiction on a neurochemical level. Falling in love stimulates many of the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by an addict’s drug of choice.  Check out the following article for some more in depth information:

http://nautil.us/issue/33/attraction/love-is-like-cocaine

 “Few academics and laymen regard romantic love as an addiction—because they believe that all addictions are pathological and harmful. Data do not support this notion, however. When neuroscientists Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki compared the brains of happily-in-love participants with the brains of euphoric addicts who had just injected cocaine or opioids, many of the same regions in the brain’s reward system became active. Moreover, when my colleagues reanalyzed our data on 17 men and women who were happily in love, we found activity in the nucleus accumbens (unpublished data), a brain region linked with all of the addictions—including the cravings for heroin, cocaine, nicotine, alcohol, amphetamines, opioids, and even gambling, sex, and food.”

 Very interesting and very annoying.  Damn you dopamine, you are supposed to be my friend!

OMG, friendo just emailed me a funny meme, squeeeeeeaal.  Tee-Hee.  Can’t adult will be acting age thirteen for the next few minutes.  Can’t write blog, must come up with something adorable to reply to friendo with…

This cannot be good.

 

art by me

Freakin’ Friday, Freakin’ February

Freakin’ Friday again and it just sort of hit me that it’s freakin’ February already.  This means I made it more than a month without alcohol.  Yeah me!  Except for that one little hiccup Ooops, F*ck Up.  I’ve rollin’ sober for the beginning of 2018!

When I get all proud of myself I’m almost tempted to start counting days.  Seems like chalking my sobriety up to calendar days hasn’t helped me in the past, though.  I get too hung up on those dates and when I mess up even a little I feel like a total failure.  Having to reset my sobriety date was pretty detrimental to my progress in previous sobriety attempts.  I think in too many absolutes.  Psycho Addictive Side of Brain makes up stupid things like, “Well, you already dun screwed up, might as well keep going.”  I don’t like giving the Psycho Addict any fuel for the fire so this time I’m just focusing on taking it one day at a time.  If I stayed clean today I am I’m making progress.

I still have that crazy Friday night urge to have a drink but it’s not quite as bad.  Time is on my side.  I keep thinking of Pavlov’s dogs, eventually they stopped slobbering all over the place when he stopped feeding them every time he rang that bell.  Eventually my addiction will stop slobbering up my life if I stop feeding my cravings every time they chirp.  Still a little slobbery today but less slobbery.  I believe the actual psychological term is “extinction” if one prefers not say “less slobbery,”  this sounds far more intelligent.

For some reason I got all into Edgar Allan Poe today.  Probably started when I was drawing up a sketch for a friend.  Friend wants a tattoo looking something like this.

raven

Needs refining and resizing but was fun to sketch.  Friend wants to get the tattoo on his rib cage.  Ouch buddy! Good luck with that.  After skulls and ravens it seemed like  natural progression to read some EAP.   After seeing this amazing quote I knew I had to put it into some art.

Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart;

of it’s constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. 

The way it stops and starts.” Edgar Allen Poe

Sometimes I am afraid of my emotions, my desires, the way they sometimes seem to take over and blot out all logical reasoning.  Addiction is my attempt to sate that constant hunger but no drink or drug can ever truly fill that place in my heart.  Do we ever find that thing that truly makes us complete in this life or do we wait until the after?

Man! Listen to me, haven’t read Edgar Allan Poe since high school and here I am getting all deep and melancholy.   I love that word by the way.  Think it might be time for some upbeat music or a funny movie perhaps.  Not going to let myself sink into the depression hole like I did last weekend.

 

Hey, if you’re reading this maybe give me a suggestion for something to draw this weekend.  Think of something with positive vibes.

Art by me.

 

 

Hypo-mania, Prison, Death and…Sex?

After my depressing weekend my mood seems to have jumped back to hypomanic.  This is the roller coaster ride from hell.  This is why alcohol is bad for me, m’kay.  Monday morning I had two cups of coffee and went to work feeling like I just smoked crack.  Constant, pressured, loud speech and I think I am hilaaarious.  Could not sit down.  Had so much whizzing through my brain I couldn’t concentrate long enough to actually accomplish anything.  I felt like I was teetering on the edge of euphoria, sliding to the side of anxiety and irritability.  And I can’t stop thinking about sex.  Seriously.

The last two days I switched from coffee to decaf green tea which seems to be helping.  I’m still bouncing off the walls but I feel less like a crack head and I’m managing to get some work done.  Still can’t stop thinking about sex. I’m glad I just recently read an article about Bipolar II and sexuality.

My Life With PTSD and Bipolar’s post

 Hoping I linked that correctly!  This post has given me a new understanding of some of my behaviors now and in the past.  I may have been a bit, er, promiscuous in my youth and by youth I mean until I was thirty.  Hyper sexuality happens and obviously it happens often enough to people with Bipolar II that it’s an actual diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV, who knew?  I didn’t know.  I just always figured I was flakey and got very easily bored with relationships.  I am happy to say that I have been in a steady relationship since going on medication.  Boyfriend will be pleased when I tell him this new information.  Now just to stop thinking about it, there are just times when it does not work into my day to be thinking about such things! (Now try not to think about white bears, you can’t right?)

Now that I cut straight to the chase and got the sex part of this story out of the way, let’s talk about prison and death. I hate death notifications.  I really do.  Death is one of those highly uncomfortable subjects that nobody really knows how to deal with.  There is no training manual on how to deal with death.  I have eight hours of crisis mental health training but I do not recall ever getting any training about how to handle telling someone that a loved one has passed away.  Despite having no training it seems to be an unwritten rule that it is my job to notify individuals when someone in their family has died.

Let’s put this in perspective.  I am a case manager for maximum custody inmates.  I deal with a fairly unique type of individuals.  I don’t mind working with violent offenders that very often have serious mental health issues.  I’m not exactly normal so I feel more comfortable working with people who are also not exactly normal.  Prison is all about acting tough, we all do it.  Inmates, case workers, officers, everyone’s a “hardass” or so we like to pretend.  I’m good at pretending to be tough, I’ve been doing it my whole life.  Nobody sees this girl cry. Ever.

I’ve seen some pretty disturbing shit in the years I’ve worked lockdown.  I’ve been there for four successful suicides, one successful homicide, numerous beatdowns – two of which will be forever engrained on my brain for the sheer violence of the attacks.   I may be desensitized to blood and guts but tears?  Tears are really hard in prison.  I don’t think sitting down with a stranger and breaking the news of a family death is easy for anyone.  I hate calling a big, tough guy to my office and telling them, in the most professional manner I can muster, that their father or mother has passed away.

I can’t imagine the guilt and sadness of my inmate knowing that they weren’t there for their loved one’s final days.   All I can do is say I’m sorry, I give them a phone call if they want and offer them religious or psychological services.  I’m not a fan of tears. Nobody sees this girl cry. Ever. Every single death notification I’ve done ended in those awful tears.  Today was no exception and this guy was, like, huge.  Burly and tattooed sat in my office and cried for twenty minutes.  I felt really bad for him but I was also thinking that burly, tattooed guy is probably more well adjusted than I am.  At least he isn’t so afraid of letting someone see him cry.

That was how my day started, craptastic.  Right after my awkward death notification we had to evacuate the building.  Why the evacuation?  To put a new A/C unit on the roof with a crane.  The buildings at this prison are all about a hundred years old and the maintenance workers were actually concerned that the new unit might make the roof collapse.  So, we all sat outside and watched the crane work like it was the most interesting thing since 80’s hairstyles.  Despite all the movies and TV shows out there prison can be really boring.  Yes, I have seen some crazy things but the reality is that 99% of the time my job is really boring.  Prison is boring enough that staff and inmates will all stop what they are doing to watch a crane put something on the roof.  Of course, thinking that there might be a chance the building will collapse made the operation more notable.

Inmates were taking bets; “Bet you three coffees the roof collapse.”

“Bet you three it don’t.  Smitty’s fat ass up there shoulda put a hole in it already”

Smitty is a rather portly maintenance worker. I’m hoping the Smitty theory works out and that guy gets his coffee because I couldn’t help but notice that the A/C unit is pretty much directly over my office.  If I suddenly just stop posting one day it’s probably because I’ve been crushed by a three ton A/C unit.  The roof did make it through the rest of my workday and fortunately no one else died either so the rest of the day was uneventful.  Just had to make it through the work day and try not to think about those white bears.

random scribbles by me.

 

Opening Up About Mental Illness

When I started this blog I intended to write about my addictions only.  I felt like blogging would be a useful tool for venting my thoughts and maybe getting some feedback.  I never intended to talk about my struggles with my mental health issues.  Except for one therapist and my boyfriend, I’ve never discussed my bipolar II with anyone.  I don’t even discuss my mental health with my family, it’s just something I’m not comfortable talking about.

I wasn’t comfortable talking about my addictions in the past either.  For some reason I am just the kind of person who likes to keep it all inside.  I feel like the more I let people know, the more vulnerable I become.  I do not like being vulnerable.  I made it through most of my life by building strong walls around my intense emotions.  I always knew there was something not quite normal about the way I felt but assumed if I just kept it to myself I could pretend to be like everyone else.   Nobody was going to see this girl cry.  Nobody.

A few years of being in and out of groups and learning about addiction have taught me that it’s okay to talk about it.  I’ve learned that I need to talk about my addictions, I need to have support in my struggles.  I’ve learned that I am not alone in my addictions and I that there are others who have faced the same problems as me.  In my isolation as an addict I always assumed I was the only one that did the stupid things I did.  Just knowing that others have walked this same path has done a great deal to help me heal.

For three years my focus has been almost entirely on my addictions.  I have never been to a meeting for people with bipolar disorder, I didn’t know those sorts of things existed.  While I have become comfortable talking about my issues with addiction I still have reservations when it comes to opening up about mental illness.  I was hesitant to even put this on my “about me” section of the blog.  I’m still having a hard time writing posts about bipolar II.

Why is easier for me to write about addiction than it is to write about mental illness?  Sometimes I think there is something more “cool” about being a drunk than being “mentally ill.”  Lots of people drink.  Lots of “cool” rock stars and actors struggle with addiction.  Not a lot of people have mental illness, even less people want to talk about it.  It just seems so uncool to have bipolar II disorder.  I don’t even like the terms “disorder”, “illness”, makes me feel like something that came out of the factory a bit broken.

Even though I have bipolar II the stigmas surrounding mental illness are still thoroughly engrained in my brain.  There is something wrong with me and I’m not allowed to talk about it.  I’m afraid to talk about it.  I don’t want my friends and coworkers to judge me.  I don’t want to hear things like, “It’s because she’s crazy, y’know,” or “can you deal with this job with your, um, issues?”  I worry that people will think I’m just trying to get attention; “You’re fine, I’ve never seen you act weird or depressed, you just want people to feel sorry for you.”

More than I worry about what other people will think I worry about what I think.  My life has been more stable since finally going on medication seven years ago. I say more stable, not completely stable.  Meds are only part of the equation and I’m still figuring out the rest, however,  I can see a huge difference in the way I lived before and the way I live now.  Yet, I still fight to accept my diagnosis.  There is still a part of me, after all these years, that doesn’t want to accept being what I am.  I steer away from labeling myself as bipolar II.  I’m still thinking I should delete that “about me” blurb.  I still don’t like talking about it.  Writing this post feels like slogging through three feet of mud.

I am so thankful for all the brave people who have chosen to blog about their mental health issues.  I haven’t been blogging long but finding blogs about people with bipolar and bipolar II has  been amazing.  I know I can’t treat my addictions if I don’t treat my mental health issues.  The only way to get comfortable with myself is to do same thing I did with my addictions; listen to others, learn from others, realize I’m not alone and learn to talk about it.

art by me

 

 

Liebster Award

Okay, not even sure if I’m doing this right but thanks so much  Scarlettcat for the nomination!

scarlettsbpdcorner has given me some amazing information about recovery and mental health, check it out!

What is the Liebster Award?

It’s an award in which bloggers nominate other bloggers for showing respect to their works and their dedication. It’s an appreciation and recognition for all the fellow bloggers out there in the blogosphere.

Rules For Accepting I

  • Write about it on your blog and thank the person who nominated you, write about their blog too.
  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Nominate 5 to 10 blogs which you feel deserve it.
  • Let the nominees know that you nominated them.

Here are the official rules for the Liebster Award 2018.

Don’t forget to create 10 questions for them to answer. Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they’ll know what to do. Once you’re done, come back here and comment with the link to your post so I can check out your answers.

Questions from Scarlettcat:

What is your favorite writer and why?   

Probably Milan Kundera, his books just draw me in over and over again and  I don’t usually read books more than once.

What motivates you to write?

Staying sane

When and why did you begin writing?

Writing is something I’ve sort of always done but I just started blogging a month ago.

If you could change 5 things about this world, what would you change?

Hmmm, five is a lot.  I think I’d be happy if people could just understand each other.  I think if that was possible it would solve so many problems.  Oh, and things that are good for you should taste like ice cream.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? It can be physical or psychological.

I would like to be less self-conscious.  Not sociopath like, but just more accepting of myself.

Do you still watch TV? If so, what do you like to watch?

Lately I’ve binge watched Black Mirror and Dark on Netflix..

If you could live forever in an imaginary world from a book, tv show or movie, which one would you pick?

When I was a kid I really wanted to live in the tree house the Berenstain Bears had in all the children’s books.  I’d still be really down to live in that house.

What is your morning routine?

Coffee, meditate, shower, get dressed, go to work.  It’s pretty boring.

If you could revive five deceased people, who would you revive?

Good question! But do they come back as normal people or monkey’s paw style?  That would change my answers.  If they were normal probably Buddha, my grandpa, Patrick Swayze, Friedrich Nietzche, and my dog that I had as kid.

What are your plans for 2018?

Stay sober

My nominations:

This bipolar brat

Brilliant Sanity

A Beautiful Mess

Without the Whine

thisgirlsgotcurves

Whats Inside a Madmans Hat

Questions for my nominees:

  1.  What is your first memory from childhood?
  2. If you could have an exotic pet what would it be?
  3. If you were a super hero what would your super power be?
  4. If you had to be stuck on a desert island for a year with one person who would you choose?
  5. What cartoon character do you find most attractive and why?
  6. What’s a memory that still makes you laugh when you think about it?
  7. What do think is your best quality?
  8. If your stripper name is the first street you lived on combined with the name of your first pet what’s your stripper name?
  9. What’s your favorite cheesy pickup line and have you ever used it?
  10. What artists would be featured in the soundtrack of your day today?

 

Ooops, F*ck Up.

Okay, truth time.  I sort of fell off the wagon last night.  I didn’t drink but I took a couple of my pain pills and I did not take them for pain.  Sure, it’s not the most horrible mistake in the world.  I didn’t go on a drinking binge and wake up in jail this morning.  I didn’t down the whole bottle of pills and wake up in the hospital either. Unfortunately, both of those things have happened to me in the past.  It was just a couple pills but I’m still disappointed in myself.

Last night I was feeling pretty depressed.  I was trying to blog, trying to do something with my negative emotions and it was almost working.  I felt sad but hanging out with boyfriend’s kiddo and looking at pictures of cute, fuzzy things was pulling  me out of it a little.  Then a friend from work started messaging me on Facebook.  I keep meaning to delete my FB account but never get around it, don’t we all?  Friend was messaging me and totally drunk.  Yup, it was Friday, my party day and here was someone reminding me of all the “fun” I wasn’t having.  I really should delete my FB account.

d2

I was already feeling bored, restless, and depressed.  Even though I said goodbye to friend and logged off Facebook I could not get the idea of a drink out of my skull.  I could almost taste it, seriously!  I was so close to putting on my slippers and driving to the liquor store it wasn’t even funny.  Yes, I have gone to the liquor store in my pajamas and slippers, I have no shame.  Besides, where I live is little, how should I put it?  Crystal-methy? It’s not uncommon to see people in slippers and pajamas at the liquor store or anywhere else for that matter.

Anyway,  somehow the Addictive-Psycho Side of my Brain figured out that a good compromise would be to take Vicodin instead of drinking.

APSoB- “It’s prescribed to you, you just had surgery, you’re allowed to take it.  It will make you less restless.  Nobody will even know!”

Me- “I don’t think I should take those if I’m not actually in pain, remember back when we were addicted to that stuff?”

APSoB- “That was then, we’re so much better now!  You’ve hardly touched the things all week! Remember when you could take all of them at once?  Two will not hurt you!”

Me- “I have been killing it this week, haven’t I?”

APSoB- “Totally.  You are a badass, what’s two gonna hurt?  You will feel better, we will tell depression to fuck off for a while and tomorrow we’ll be back to normal.  Best of all, no drinking so technically you’re still sober.”

Me- “That doesn’t exactly make sense but you have a very convincing argument.” Takes two pills.

d4

I think it’s funny how Addictive-Psycho Side of Brain is so loud when I’m craving and yet so quiet the next day when all I seem to hear are the voices of guilt and remorse.  What APSoB?  Suddenly so quiet?  Where are your brilliant ideas today?  APSoB is that friend you had in grade school that would convince you to do something stupid in class and then pretend not to know you when you got busted by the teacher.  Stupid APSoB, you are not my friend! You are soooo not invited to my birthday party this year!

I woke up this morning with a terrific headache, I actually felt like I had a hangover.  Along with the headache the depression was back.  Good ol’ depression, predictably there for me when I feel my worst.  I stayed in bed most of the morning.  Nothing sounded like a good idea.  Getting up, taking a shower, getting dressed-way too much effort and highly overrated.  So, I stayed in bed and prowled around on WordPress all morning.

Sometimes my guilt is a better friend than my addictive psycho brain is.  Guilt isn’t a great friend but better than APSoB at times.

Guilt- “So, not bad enough you had a slip last night, now your lazy ass gonna stay in bed all day too?  Pa-the-tic.”

Me- “Why do you have to make me feel bad?  I’m already having a bad day.  Furthermore, why don’t I ever seem to have any nice voices in my head?”

Guilt- “I’m not supposed to tell you this but you do have some positive voices in your head.  You just choose not listen to them.”

Me- “That didn’t make feel better.”

Guilt- “Hello, I’m guilt.  That is not in my job description.  As I was saying, you gonna lay around all day like a lazy piece of crap or are you going to get up and be productive.”

Me-” Leave me alone.”

Guilt- “You stink.  You need shower.”

Me- “Shut up.”

Guilt- “Dishes aren’t gonna do themselves.”

Me- “Fine! I’m up! But I am not doing any dishes!”

Guilt – “Bu-‘

SHUT UP!

d3

In recovery I’ve heard a lot about “acting as if.”  The first time someone used that statement I thought it was the dumbest thing I ever heard.  So, I’m supposed to pretend I’m happy when I’m not and that will make it all better? Yeah, that sounds great-said no one, ever.  After a few years of therapy and more than a few self help books I have learned that sometimes we do need to fake it ’till we make it.  It’s not about pretending to be happy, it’s about taking an action and hoping your mind will follow.  I did not want to get up but I did it anyway.  I did not want to take a shower, eat food, or take an ibuprofen for my headache.  I made myself do all those things.  Know what?  When I’m showered and have some food in my belly I actually do feel a little better.  When I feel a little better about myself my mood starts improve a little.

Do I feel magically better and not depressed?  Nope, but at least I can say I don’t stink and that already makes me feel a little more human.  There you are positive, rational part of my brain.

PRPoB- “You had a slip, put it behind you.  Don’t define yourself by your mistakes, look at your successes.  You’re still here!  You’re still trying!”

 

polymer art and photos by me

 

 

 

 

Friday Again? Already?

It seems like this week went by fast.  I guess I did take a couple of days off for surgery but it still doesn’t feel like it should be Friday again, already.  I think I traded horrible cravings for boredom and depression this Friday.  I’m feeling very “meh” at the moment.  Sometimes I hate my moods.  I didn’t feel depressed earlier today.  My day went fine; no drama, little stress, pain improving, no complaints.  So, why do I come home and suddenly feel anxious and irritable?

I suppose this week has been it’s own roller coaster ride in recovery.  I’ve been dealing with pain and having all kinds of weird, post surgical chemicals in my body.  I’m trying to breathe deep and remember that I am not what I think, I am not what I feel, thoughts and emotions come and go.  Sometimes it’s hard.  I’ve known depression for so long that sometimes when it’s gone I feel like some part of me is missing.  It’s not until the depression comes back that I realize what’s been missing. “Oh, there you are my old friend, it’s been awhile.  Pull up a chair and share with me your dismal view of the world for a few.”

I really didn’t want to write anything on the blog today.  When I get depressed my instinct is to isolate.  I mean, nobody wants to hear depressed girl talk about depressing shit, right?  I decided in the end that I would pretty much be full of crap if I only wrote blogs when I felt good about life and could come up with some funny spin on the dumb things that happen to me.  I wouldn’t be honest and I probably wouldn’t end up blogging that much.  Well, more like I would have hypomanic phases where I would write a lot and then long, depressed periods of silence.

Know what I find depressing today?  I really want a beer.  I really want to be the kind of person who can just have a beer and not ten.  I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t wake up hungover with massive anxiety and depression.  I want to be the person who doesn’t have to take medication to be “stable.”  I realize that this is a pointless line of thought but every once in a while my mind just has to go there. Sigh.

 

Thank you chatty kid.  I’ve been sitting here trying to write for the last thirty minutes but I can’t because I have a chatty friend right now.  We are discussing tactics for his next X-Box Live gaming session, breeding killer whales with great white sharks (would it look like a shark with black spots?),  dire bears, Greek gods and now….husky puppies.  Nice, we landed on puppies!

…And now we are looking at puppy pictures on his IPod.  Oh my gosh, I just want to squeeze it!  Okay, I am in a slightly better mood now.  I love you kiddo.

 

drawing by me.  yesterday the kids were playing with my little dog and I tried to grab some sketches.