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Venting Session: June 29, 2017 (2:15 am)
It had been brought up to be today that I am really not bipolar because apparently everyone is bipolar. Someone who has known me since I was a teenager, that I thought knew me pretty well, basically told me that I was making excuses and that there is unquestionably nothing wrong with me.
This is NOT something that you should say to someone to who currently feeling pretty under the weather, doubting themselves, and generally feeling highly unstable mentally. I had confided in this person not too long ago that I had tried to kill myself and they said to basically knock that s**it off and that they would always be there to talk.
I was under the impression that this person understood mental illness given the fact that they care for individuals with mental illnesses for a living, just like I had for so many years… probably way too many years. For me, it was like the crazy leading the crazy.
How can a person judge what is going on inside of another person’s head? Mental illness is not something that can be physically seen or heard. It is not a condition that can be monitored with one of the five senses, which is why mental health stigma is so high. At least, in my own opinions. People crave things they can physically see or feel. Whereas with mental illness, you have to go by what the person is verbally telling you.
I don’t get how you can know a person for so long, without actually knowing a single thing about them! This person is aware of all the psychiatric stays I have been through. My drug & alcohol history. Yet, they still think I am faking a mental illness?
Who would want to purposely want to deal with this s*it? To give up their job, their income, their car. To basically give up their freedom.
No. This person does not know me at all. When I tried to finally stand up for myself and ask them why the hell they would think something like that about me, and I tried to explain that there is a lot of information I have not disclosed about myself, but that I would be willing to talk about if they were interested. They actually asked me why I was bothering them? I wanted to slap this person so bad. Yeah, I can really talk to you anytime I need right?
Seriously? YOU contact ME, and then ask ME me why I was bothering YOU?
You obviously have a long way to come with mental illness awareness and it’s sufferers. Why would anyone want to put themselves through the horrible and screwed up things that their own mind can create. I don’t choose to keep my mind this way.
Thanks for letting me vent!
This is just the introduction to an article I wrote Titled “Families Who Survived The Odds” and I don’t know why, but I just love this intro and I wanted to share it on here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
CelebFamilies Who Survived The Odds
Families come together, through the good times and the bad. Joyous and blissful occasions such as wedding, births, anniversaries, and graduations are celebrated regularly and treasured; moments where milestones are met and welcomed with delight and enjoyment. Not everything can always be bright and cheery; however, tragedies happen. It’s how we handle these tragedies together as a family that makes all the difference. Surviving the odds with loved ones, and making it out stronger through life’s challenges is what matters the most, and is what defines us as human beings.
Life happens, and it happens to everyone. We cannot always control what gets thrown our way, but what we can control is how we react to and handle how we deal with the situations that get thrown at us. When we go through these dreaded tragedies, and our worst nightmares have been laid out before us, we look to our loved ones for the strength and courage to be able to overcome what we may have once seen as unbearable circumstances of fate.
As a single element, we may feel that we are incapable of surviving single-handedly. When families come together and unite, the impossible may no longer seem as impossible. Unfortunately, not all families are able to survive when times get difficult, and they crumble under the tension and pressure. However, the families that are able to survive the odds always make it out stronger and are capable of achieving anything in the end. They know what it truly means to be able to have almost lost it all, and are always more grateful for life’s tiniest of blessings”
The Constant Cycles Of My Bipolar Mind
By the time someone has told me how much they really like or dislike something, there is a good chance that I have already had 50 different emotions plays out within my head. My thoughts race beyond my control, making it is nearly impossible for my hands and mouth to keep up. It can make writing and speaking feel like something that I am unable to conquer at times, and to know this gets really difficult for my me, with because writing is a piece of who I am. It is what I love more than life itself. I find it difficult to find the words I am looking for because my mind and my hands are at constant odds with one another.
One minute I feel like I am drowning, the next I may feel like I am on top of the world and nothing could ever bring me back down… until it does. Then whatever I am feeling at that moment, will hit me like a ton of bricks and all of a sudden, I am falling again. This stuff is just not right.
For a brief moment, I may see things so vibrantly colorful and filled with light, and then they disappear from me and turn bleak and listless. Everything with a bipolar person is at extreme opposites and at constant war. It’s a struggle to even be able to make a simple decision. I hate love, yet I love life. How is that even possible?
Just the other day, I felt incredibly low until someone made one nice comment to me, here on my blog; all of a sudden I was radiating positivity. I felt light, I was helping others again. Then something happened, but I’m not even sure what, and depression started to suck me back down to its depths. Now, I feel lost and I don’t know why. How do you get lost, when you haven’t even been found?
I have been seriously thinking about posting bits and pieces of my articles on here since I found out that they have pretty much been slaughtering everything that I have written. Twisting my words until they are no longer my own. My personal thoughts and emotions have dissipated and the hard work, time, and dedication I have put into every single one of my articles have ceased to exist.
I feel like I have been busting my ass for absolutely nothing. I feel like to total shitty writer, and like nothing I ever make could ever possibly make any sense to anyone. I guess I am just feeling slightly discouraged is all. #writersissues
I feel like no matter how many steps I take forward, I am always falling too far behind. I lack motivation. I lack the necessary skills to make it in this demanding world. To be honest, I dropped out of high school in 10th grade, got my GED, bounced around from college to college because I could never figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was able to stick it out and graduate from Lincoln Technical Institute with a degree as a Medical Assistant because I thought the health care field was somewhere I should be working.
All I have ever wanted to do was write, and I suck at it. I have absolutely no grammar skills or abilities. My vocabulary is rather limited. What makes sense to me, makes decisively no sense to anyone else. I am uneducated. My typing speeds are something comparative to a toddler. I just cannot catch a break, and believe me, I could go on.
Okay, so yeah, maybe I am being a bit too daunting towards myself now, but like I mentioned earlier, I am just feeling really discouraged. And I mean, really discouraged.
This is what I am referring too by The Constant Cycles Of My Bipolar Mind I can surge from feeling I am an the brink of depression, then feel like I am on the verge of mania, then flatline to the feelings of being baseline, and then do it all over all again.
It’s a daily battle living with this disorder and never knowing what to truly expect, or never knowing what versions of Samantha I am going to get. I once had a co-worker make a very public post about me on social media. She said:
“If you are bipolar and you are going to try to kill yourself, what side of yourself are you trying to kill? Your sad self? Or your happy self?
I am not quite sure why, but that just popped into my head. But she posted that about me after I was admitted to a psychiatric ward, well before I was comfortable talking about and sharing my mental illness journey. What I would like to say to her today, is that thank you. Your arrogance made me more comfortable in talking about my mental illness in the long run. And to answer your question, it was both sides… I wanted to kill both sides because they were talking too loud..
My Panic Attack: June 26, 2017
With my emotions running ramped, it is not surprising that I am having panic attacks. It’s also not surprising that they are back to back. What is surprising, is that the fact that looking into my kitchen, and seeing that it was a mess and realizing that I need to get the dishes done and clean up while still getting my articles done sent me into a horrible, full blown panic attack. It was the tiniest thing sent me into the deep end.
I am still feeling overwhelmed, and it is really getting to me. I am trying to remain positive when all I want to do is give up. My PTSD is getting to me, my low self-esteem is getting to me, my mood swings are getting to me, my having to deal with my emotions because I am not sober is getting to me, everything is getting to me. I feel alone again even though I have people there for me and I was shown that today.
I was on the phone with my mom this morning and I was upset and crying off and on since the little things make me cry. I can’t stop the waterworks. I just want this to stop. It’s driving me insane. My mom was breaking stuff down for me to do, and I decided to try what she was saying.
I walked into my kitchen, like I said above, and started crying, walked into my bedroom and started hyperventilating. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was being choked, or like I was drowning, deep into the water. I started crying harder. I text my mom, told her I can’t go into the kitchen anymore and that it gave me a panic attack. It was so hard to text. The panic attack subsided rather quickly.
Then my as mom called me, another panic attack started and I couldn’t breathe again due to the fact that I started to hyperventilate and cry hysterically again. I felt like I was going to die, literally. My mom was on the other end of the phone trying to calm me down, then she said she was coming right over, and that she would be there in 20 minutes. The panic attack didn’t last too long and subsided again., but the tears were still there.
I avoided my kitchen like the plague, but another panic attack came about. My chest started to feel tight, my breathing became rapid, I started to feel panicky, and tears began to drop even more. Next thing I know, I am crying hysterically, I am in such a panic. The way it feels is compared to being told that a loved one has just died, or that your worst nightmare has just come true and you just wish it were over or you just feel like you are about to die. I start breathing so hard that I start to hyperventilate, and it feels like someone is strangling me and I have to fight for air. I just can’t breathe or catch my breath. I start to get dizzy from not being able to breathe right, and I feel like I am going to faint. Then all of a sudden, it starts to feel better little by little, and my breathing slows down a tad. And as sudden as it came on it was gone.
When my mom arrived, I was a little calmer but still a mess. I was still crying at every little thing. Why am I such a mess? I hate this. I don’t know if this all my bipolar or something else entirely. I am so glad my mom came over. She was able to calm me down a lot more and help me get me kitchen from being in such disarray. We talked about a lot and she suggested few powerful things to me that maybe I will eventually share. I didn’t want her to leave when it was time for her to go though because I didn’t want to be alone with my own thoughts.
After my mom left, everything got a bit better for a little at least. It’s always something bringing me down though, and even as I am writing this, yet, another situation has arisen. I just can’t deal.
I am in an emotional overload and I don’t know why. I am all over the place and every little thing has been making me cry. I know I have had a medication increase, but I really don’t think it is that. When I was talking to my dad, he suggested that it had to do with sobriety, and he had a point. I heard that before, that you can randomly start to feel emotions that you have never felt before because you are sober.
But, I am also different from all that because I am also bipolar, and I have PTSD. (and other things) So I am sure that all of that has to play in it as well. I hate this. I hate feeling like this like I am drowning again like I am getting pulled under the water and I can’t get out, and I can’t breathe. I feel like I can’t fight this, or these feelings either.
Since I am a self-injurer, and I am in an emotional overload, I am getting the urges to cut again. I am fighting them, and haven’t done anything as of yet, but they are there, and they are strong. I know my coping skills, and I have them, I haven’t exactly utilized them but I know they are there if I need them. Well, technically… I guess I am using a coping skill since I am writing,
I am feeling pretty overwhelmed and depressed. I hope I am not entering a depressive episode because I just came out of a manic episode not too long ago. (you can read about it HERE) I hate these up and downs with bipolar disorder. I hate the fact that I have to live with this disorder for the rest of my life. I have to dive into darkness and constantly try to dig my way out, and then rocket into a manic episode and never know what kind of horror awaits me.
I don’t think there are even any words out there that I would use that would explain how depression, anxiety, and mental ill exactly feel. I don’t think I could even describe how I am feeling to another unless they have been in this situation.
It’s just like a darkness, a black cloud has consumed you, It feels like you lost something or someone that you really loved and you are standing there at their funeral You’re looking down at their casket and seeing their bloated and lifeless face. for the first time, and you just want to break down and cry… Depression is like your worst day x10, and everything has gone wrong and you just want to give up and stop fighting because you don’t see the point anymore. The only difference is that this feeling can last a indefinite time, or even for a period of time if you are bipolar.
My emotions just tend to over run me sometimes. I know my coping my coping skills and techniques, but sometimes in the heat of the moment my brain can’t think of them or even comprehend them and it’s like there not even there, if that makes any sense.
Insomnia has also overrun my life and I am not sleeping very well at all. I mean, right now it is 4:30 am, and I am up writing this. I have an article due at 8:30 am that I have not begun and I am freaking out. I asked for an extension and have not heard back. My mind is just racing. What if they don’t grant me the extension and they fire me? There goes my writing career… I feel like I am going to have to another mini mental break down soon or something. I can’t even keep up with my housework obligations. I feel like I am failing in life right now.
Today was a decent today for awhile so I don’t know why I am feeling this way. I went to this lake, Lake Mauch Crunch, and that is set up like a beach with my mom and my boyfriend’s daughter and we had an amazing, relaxing, and sober, girls afternoon. I just want to add that my boyfriend’s daughter, who is almost 20 (he had h er when he was 15), is a very beautiful woman, but she doesn’t see herself that way. She is like me, and like a lot of women, who struggle with body dysmorphia. I hope that one day, she will be able to see how beautiful she truly is because she really is. ♥
On the topic of body dysmorphia, I know that I am a big girl. I get that. I have always been a girl. But no matter where I go, or who I see, I am always the biggest person there. That is how I see it. I can’t help it, and I can’t stop it. I can stand next to someone who is 200lbs more than me, literally, and I will still think to myself, wow I am so much bigger than her. I have been called ugly and fat by people my whole life and that is who I see myself. I have no self -esteem all. Posting pictures of myself below my neck is a major, major step for me and something I don’t do normally at all. But I an going to be brave and tough it out on here and leave my comfort zone as a way of working on my self-esteem, and post of full picture of my body on here and prepare myself for the fat shaming comment. So below if a picture of me in my bathing suit;
How To Counter A Negative Automatic Thought
Automatic thoughts are the first things, or thoughts, that come to our mind when something happens. Sometimes, these thoughts happen so quickly we don’t even realize they are happening until the negative thought is stuck in our head, and then we don’t know how to get rid of that negative thought once it’s there.
The easiest thing to do is try to counter it. If you spend a lot of time absorbed in negative thoughts, you are not always going to believe the counter, at first, but with time and practice, you will eventually start to realize the truth in those counters.
I am going to show you very simple counters with examples:
There will be three rows:
Here are the examples below:
- Trigger: I made a mistake at work.
- Automatic Thought: I am probably going to be fired. I always mess up. This is it. I am not good at my job.
- New Thought: I messed up, but mistakes happen. I am going to work through this like I always do.
- Trigger: I got into a fight with my boyfriend.
- Automatic Thought: He’s going to leave me, everyone leaves me.
- New Thought: We have gotten in plenty of fights before. I am catastrophising this. We only fought about who has to put gas in the car, he will not leave me over this.
- Trigger: I got a speeding ticket.
- Automatic Thought: I am going to lose my license.
- New Thought: It’s only one ticket. It’s seriously not the end of the world. I will make a payment arrangement on the fine tomorrow.
That is pretty much all there is too. It is just taking that negative automatic thought, and switching it around, making it logical instead of emotional. It takes a lot of practice. You can even create a notebook, or automatic though log and keep track of your progress.
Journaling & Mental Illness
Journaling can be an important and beneficial factor in mental illness. It can help improve your overall mental well-being because it can create a healthy outlet to express your emotions. A lot of people that struggle with any type of mental illness, or addiction, tend to stuff their emotions deep down inside of themselves, or they try to release them or cope with them, in unhealthy manners.
I’ve been there, and every now and then I still resort to unhealthy means to release my emotions, but journaling is what has been one of the best coping mechanisms that have ever been suggested to me. Everyone is different, and different things work for different people, but journaling is something that has worked for so many people that I have come into contact with, and I highly recommend it to people that struggle with getting their feelings and emotions out and suggest that it should be tried at least once. What could it hurt, right? It’s literally just putting a pen to a piece of paper, or even your hands to your keyboard.
When a person journals, they can let out their innermost thoughts that they wouldn’t dare share with another soul. You can be your true genuine self, and never feel judged by anyone because you are not writing for anyone else’s enjoyment. You are solely writing to be able to get out whatever it is that you are holding inside. Whatever you are writing doesn’t even have to make sense. It could be incomplete thoughts or just random words. It’s whatever you are feeling at that particular moment in time.
I have heard people say that they don’t want to journal because they are worried that someone else in their household may find their journal and read their private thoughts. I get that. When you write something that is meant for your eyes only, you want to keep it that way. There are a few different forms or means of journaling that can be done if you are worried about the traditional diary style due to lack of privacy.
Here are some options to try instead:
If you fear that prying eyes might see a traditional journal you can always sign up for an online account somewhere. This is one I have used in the past, and they even have an app you can download on your smartphone.PrivateDiary.net and with this one, it is username and password protected so no one but you can access it. You can even sync the app and the online site so you can create entries either way and never lose track of anything. It also allows you to upload pictures to your entries as well. If you decide you really don’t like the way this journal is set up, just type in “online diary” into a search engine and tons of results will pop up. Just keep searching until something catches your eye.
If your computer is password protected, and you never have to worry about anyone going through your files, you can always create your own journal using something like Google Docs, MS Word, etc… and just saving the files right to your computer. Maybe create a specific folder like, “My Journal” or “My Thoughts” and saving your entries in there.
Create & Trash:
If you are severely worried about someone seeing what your private thoughts are, then you can always physically write out all your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Then after you are done just rip up the paper and throw it away, burn it, shred it, or discard it however you see fit.
If you have a smartphone then you automatically have a journal or diary at your fingertips. If you have an Android device, all you have to do is go to the Google Play Store and search for “Diary Apps” and hundreds of them will come up. Just look for one you will like. Another option is just to create journal entries using your memo or notepad within your phone.
You could always create a folder and label it “My Journal” or something of the sorts, and create journal entries in your personal email account, send them to yourself and then save them in your designated saved folder.
There are obviously lots of creative ways to create and manage a journal without having to keep a physical copy in today’s day and age. Almost everything is digital now. As for myself, I still love to have a physical copy because I enjoy putting a pen to a piece of paper.
Every means of mental health and addictions treatment that I have ever come across, since 2001, has suggested that I journal, and I have been doing it ever since. I go through phases where I will journal rigorously every day for chunks of time, then I will go periods of time where I won’t journal at all, then I will journal in moderation. And what I have come to the realization of, is that during the periods of time when I am the most routinely active in my journaling, is when my emotions are the most manageable. I seem to have less frequent crying spells because I am not bottling up as much inside of me.
Now, what I mean by routinely active, is that I am not obsessively writing, but I am also not infrequently writing either. When I am not at either extreme is when I am at my best, which at times that gets hard to come by since I am bipolar, and what is bipolar other than polar opposites.
So, if you have never tried journaling as a way to get your emotions out, give it a try. Just one time. Learning a new coping skill mechanism is always a thing of great value because you never know when life may throw something new your way that your current coping skill may not be suitable for. What works for you one day, may not work for you the next. That’s the thing about mental illness, it’s not always predictable and neither is life.
Hope This Helps 😀 -Samantha ♥
Preparing For Your Psych Appointment
Most people don’t bother preparing for their appointments because either they don’t see the point in it, they think it’s a waste of time, or they think they already know everything they want to mention. But how many times have you left an appointment and thought, “Oh man, I completely forgot to mention that!” or “Oh, yeah I need a refill on that!” I know I have done it plenty of times before I actually started jotting down notes on things I want or need to mention. My mom had been trying to get me do this for years and then one day after forgetting to mention a really important side effect it finally clicked. So thank you for that mom!
Now that almost everyone has smartphones glued to their faces, all you have to do is create a list of things you should mention or bring up during your next appointment right in your phone’s memo or notepad. Lists and memos are not just for our parents and grandparents anymore. If you want to take change or your own health then this is something that you should really start getting in the habit of doing.
Just because I am labeling this is “Preparing For A Psych Appointment” does not mean that you cannot apply this to any other appointment you may have as well.
Creating a list of notes for your upcoming appointment is probably the best thing you could do to avoid leaving anything out. There’s no harm in being too thorough.
Here’s an example of what my list would look like:
- Medication Issues
- Side Effects
- Decreased Effectiveness
- Noticing No Changes (especially with new meds)
- Have I started/stopped any meds?
- What Over-the-counter meds am I taking?
- Has a different provider (Family Doctor, Neurologist, Etc..) started me on a new med?
- Mood Changes
- New/Worsening Symptoms
- If I am having “episodes” and for how long?
- Such as an actual Manic or Depressive episode.
- Self-Injurious Behaviors +/-
- How many hours am I sleeping on average?
- Any notable appetite changes?
- Any psychosis/hallucinations?
- Any dissociative episodes?
- Any Insurance/Income Changes?
- Any Major Life Events?
- Major Life Events should be noted because these could affect mood and overall well-being. (This includes, but is not limited too; Divorce, Marriage, Job Change/Loss, Move, Death in the family, Pregnancy, etc…)
- Noticeable weight change?
- Are there any bothersome physical issues?
- Dizziness, Headaches, etc…
This may seem like an extensive list, but too much information for a doctor to have is never a bad thing. It is always best to cover your bases when it comes to your health, especially your mental health. Not only does your mental health affect your mind, but it can affect your body as well.
Now, my list won’t necessarily look like your list. Everyone is different and has their own unique bases to cover. I just happen to have a lot of issues to generally discuss during my appointments. After dealing with my mental health for over 15 years, I try to get the most out of every appointment because my main goal is recovery and getting better. I try to utilize my time and make sure I keep my doctors informed so they can also keep track if they think I am making progress or regressing.
I hope someone can get some use out this. It’s definitely worth it. I wish I would have started making checklists for my appointments sooner. It would have saved me so much time, and so many unnecessary phone calls.
Sea Isle City 2017: Day 6 (Thursday)
For the first time since I have been on vacation, I did not isolate… at least fully. I spent some time working on my one article, even though my focus was horrific for some reason today. I just could not focus. My boyfriend and I talked about leaving and coming home today, but we ended up staying. Even though I am pretty homesick, I am glad we decided to stay in a way. I actually had a decent time today.
I am one of the most self-conscious people that I know, but I still put a bathing suit on. My boyfriend, Mike, and I went to grab some ice cream sometime in the afternoon and then walked to the beach. I was glad I talked myself into it. Summer if most definitely not my favorite season, but I love the sound of the ocean which makes it all worth it for me. I find it relaxing. I attempted to go in the water, but it was too cold for my liking.
We didn’t stay quite as long as I had planned on, but it was long enough for me. The group that we were with, were mainly all drinkers, so I was kind of like the odd man out. You never really pay attention to how much people actually drink until you’re the only one there not sipping on something. I just started to feel left out again… I just felt like I was maybe too young to be giving up drinking just yet since everyone else that was there was roughly my age and they all seemed to be doing just fine. I know I was just trying to justify it in my head and make excuses as to why I should be able to have a drink, and I get that now, but I can’t always stop the thoughts as they come.
I really am feeling pretty homesick though, and I miss my puppy like crazy. I think I have like separation anxiety from being away from my dog. I am just glad my mom was able to watch Max for me while I went on vacation. I don’t think I would have been able to trust anyone else with him. I know he is only a dog, and this is probably going to sound crazy, but Max is literally like a baby to me and I am so worried that when I leave here, he is not going to want to come to me, or even come back home. That maybe he is happier, and maybe even better off at my mom’s. I don’t think my thought process is normal. He is more than just a dog to me though. I was told I can’t have kids, so he is a kid to me. I am one of those proud pet parents.
I wish I would have utilized my time here better. Went to the beach more, got more sun. Did something. I don’t know. I feel like I wasted my entire time being so wrapped up in my writing and worrying about staying sober so much that I was unable to have fun. I did a few things here and there that may be classified as “fun” but not much. I isolated so much. However, I honestly do not think I would have been able to stay sober if I would have gone to all the dinner parties, and totally submerged myself in the whole socialization aspect like I have done every other year that I’ve come here. It’s definitely been a challenge for me.
I can’t help but wonder how long I am going to have to feel like this for. How long does the struggle sensation last? I don’t want to feel like I am battling something for the rest of my life. It’s bad enough that I have to battle mental illness until the day that I die, and now I have to do the recovering addict thing too? Forever? How long is forever? Will the temptations ever fully go away? I don’t know if I have it in me to fight this war forever because forever is a long time. I know… one day at a time. I can’t help but look at the full view of the picture at times though, but logically I also know that if I am looking at the bigger picture, I am missing a few of the closer details than. If that makes any sense.
I guess it’s just that sometimes the thought of the words “forever” or “never” scare me sometimes. I try not to use them or think about them. But they still randomly pop up inside of my head occasionally, no matter how hard I try to fight them off.
I miss the feeling of being able to get trashed, or high, and being able to just get out of my own head, even if it was just for a little while. That was usually the whole purpose as to why I would love to get so screwed up. I don’t know if that’s why people without mental illnesses drink or use, but I know that is why I used to use. It was basically like self-medicating. I hate being trapped inside my own head half the time. It isn’t the nicest place to be a majority of the time.
I have moments where I know I have made the right choice to get clean. Then I have the moments where I feel like I have made the worst mistake of my life because nothing is worth having to sit and deal with these emotional issues that sometimes arise. Then there are the mixed moments where I am totally undecided. I get mixed emotions about a lot of things in my life, but I guess that tends to happen a lot when you are bipolar.
Sometimes being stuck in my own head feels like I am being pulled under this giant, crushing, ocean wave, and I cannot breathe. It feels like I am suffocating, slowing drowning and getting pulled under over and over again. And every time I think I start to see the surface, another wave crashes over and I just get pulled further down, still suffocating, until my lungs ache and burn without oxygen. It’s like you know you’re slowly dying, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. You just stare and panic and everything goes blank. Being stuck in my head gets that severe at times; like it gets so overwhelming, my mind and everything races, I freak out until I ultimately have a panic attack, and then I just get so emotionally drained that I crash.
I am going to add some pictures from today below.
Sea Isle City 2017: Day 5 (Wednesday)
I am absolutely mentally exhausted. On top of my normal 6 articles a week, I had to do an extra 2 more due to another writer having an emergency. These articles should have been so simple, but they were in a new format and style for me, so I had to learn something brand new and from scratch which took up a lot of time.
I feel like my entire vacation has been wasted. I tried to explain that I am on vacation to the girl that assigns the articles because originally they asked me to write anywhere from an extra 5 to 7 more articles within a 5-6 hour time span. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they weren’t my normal 2200+ word articles I am used to doing, but they were still time-consuming either way.
If I would have been at home, in my own workspace, it would have been fine. But I feel like I am ruining my boyfriend’s vacation but I just have not been doing much of anything besides writing. He even told me today that he just wants to go home, and I can’t help but feel like it is partially my fault.
Writing is what keeps me sober though, and semi-sane, although it is starting to get a bit overwhelming right now, however, that is because I would actually like to get to the beach at least once while I am here. Isolating is starting to get to me a little. I know that I should probably socialize some, but I am not a very social creature anymore. Alcohol was what fueled my social interactions. Without it, I feel like I can’t really like a normal human being around people that I am not relatively close to.
I would also like to add some more content to my blog, but I am pretty sure that is going to have to wait until I get back to my home state in a few days before I will be able to that.
I didn’t get a chance to post anything on here because my mind was pretty preoccupied. I had an article that was due, of course, and then there was a family matter that kind of messed with my mental state a bit. It’s amazing what things can affect a person’s mental wellbeing and what doesn’t.
When I found out my aunt passed away, from alcohol nonetheless, I wasn’t really depressed, although I felt kind of bad and could only describe my emotional state with the word surreal. However, recently finding out that she had passed away weeks before we were even informed, well that… that affected me for some reason. I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, but it actually kind of upset me.
My mom and I were told Friday, June 17th, that she had died and now are finding out that she has actually been dead for almost a month now. It’s very sad that someone could be gone that long and no one even takes notice. I know I have mentioned it before, but just to clarify, we weren’t very close. Regardless, it’s still distressing. I wish I would have been able to get to know her better, but unfortunately, The Bottle Took Her, and I am sure she won’t be the last person in my family that the bottle will take.
What’s even sadder, is that besides my mom, her other siblings could seem to care less about her untimely demise as far as I am aware of. I know they didn’t get along, but that is, was, still their sister. I guess it is what it is, and how they see things is out of my control. My family is so divided that obviously, a relative could pass on, and no one would ever know, and to some, no one would even care.
I am the bipolar one of the family, I am supposedly the crazy one of the family, but yet apparently, I can still put differences aside and say that even though I wasn’t close with someone, a life lost is still a shame. Or maybe I am looking at this from the wrong perspective. Maybe because I am the bipolar one of the family, that is why I can put my differences to the side. Either way, I can say that my aunt will be missed.
Today was a pretty bland day for me. I don’t think I really left the beach house we were staying at, except for stopping and picking up pizza. I really isolated today. In my defense though, the weather was pretty crappy. It was windy and cloudy. I was also assigned 6 new articles today which are all due within the next 6 days. I don’t know how I am supposed to be on “vacation” while still attempting to get all 6 articles done.
I was not even sure I would be able to post anything on here today as well. I planned on going directly to sleep after I finished today’s article, however, my brain did not want to shut down afterward. So here I am after 3 am.
I was able to get out of tonight’s dinner party obligation due to the weather, and I am actually very proud of myself. I was left alone, with a bunch of alcohol and I did not touch any of it. I would be lying if I said the thought never crossed my mind. The only thing that matters is that I did not touch any of it no matter how much I wanted too.
I need to try to find balance in my life because the way I am doing things right now…. it is just not going to work for much longer. I stay up until all hours of the morning working on articles, sleep a few hours, and then do it all over again. In the process, I am isolating. I am not really going to meetings anymore either. Then again, since I am on vacation that is not much of an issue at this very moment. (I am more so referring to when I was at home regarding the meetings.)
Tomorrow, I need to try not to isolate so much. I need to try to actually get out to the beach during normal waking hours. I need to try to do something worthwhile. But also at the same time, I need to place enough time to the side so that I am able to finish my article as well.
I’ve mildly struggled with urges to use today, but as the night (early morning) wears on, and I notice that sleep is not coming, the urges grow that much more. I know that if I were to just get wasted that I could knock out right now and just finally be able to sleep. I’ve been watching a drunk person have a decent time for the past hour or so now, and I am just completely jealous. I can’t help but ask myself:
Why Can’t I Be Normal?
Well, I guess that’s how it goes though right?
Creating a Self-Esteem Log
Self-esteem is a big issue for many people. I know it is for me, always has been, and probably always will be. Baby steps are necessary, and the little things really do help. Creating a weekly self-esteem log can help build it up a little piece at a time. You can either create it in a notebook or in a word document. You can follow this format, or create your own.
Here is the basic outline.
Something I did well today…
Today I had fun when…
I felt proud when…
Today I accomplished…
I had a positive experience with…
Something I did for someone…
I felt good about myself when…
I was proud of someone when…
Today was interesting because…
I felt proud when…
A positive thing I witnessed…
Today I accomplished…
Something I did well today…
I had a positive experience with (a person, place, or thing)…
I was proud of someone when…
A positive thing I witnessed…
Today was interesting because…
I felt proud when…
Today I had fun when…
Something I did for someone…
I felt good about myself when…
Since I am using writing as my main coping mechanism for my mental health and addiction issues, I have come to the conclusion that it is probably in my best interest to try to add at least one blog post daily. Blogging, and writing in general, are very therapeutic for me. I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. Probably still using alcohol and drugs is my guess, along with being a total emotional wreck instead of a partial one.
Today started off kind of rocky. I was up until close to 5 am working on an article and didn’t go to bed until sometime shortly after. By the time I woke up, it was around 11 am. Not even an hour after getting up, I was told that everyone was going to a bloody mary drinking competition. Sounds innocent enough, right? All I have to do is avoid going there, right? Well, it just happens to be that bloody mary’s are (were?) one of my favorite drinks, and my mom and I used to toss them back like they were water. So right away that triggered me into wanting to drink.
The urges I was getting to drink were pretty bad, and since I knew I couldn’t drink, that then triggered the urge to self-harm. Right away, I pulled out my phone and started to utilize my S.A.F.E. alternatives app and started to fill out my impulse control log. Then, I started to text people and tried to distract myself. It’s already hard enough to fend off one bad habit/addiction, let alone two of them. In the end, my coping strategies worked this time around, and I calmed down enough and didn’t give in to temptation for either addiction.
One thing about this yearly vacation with my boyfriend’s family is that his “extended family” all meet up here. So each day during the entire week we are here, each family will host a dinner party at their home. So that is a lot of dinner parties, a lot of alcohol, and a lot of drunken people to be around. Attendance is mandatory. I can only pray for the courage to be strong enough to make it through each dinner party, each day. So, therefore, every day I know I am guaranteed to face some kind of challenge.
After I made it through tonight’s dinner party, barely, my boyfriend and I took a nice long walk on the beach. It felt pretty good. Little by little, I am seeing that I am able to enjoy doing little things while sober. I was able to take some pictures too, (which I am going to post a few on here) however they didn’t turn out the best since it was already pretty dark outside and I was only taking the pictures with my cellphone.
There are these 5 amazing people that I want to thank for being there for me these past few days, who have really been supporting me with my recovery. They have been putting up with my constant texts, calls, and rants. I know two of them don’t really visit this page but I want to thank them anyway. So Megan, Kayl, Mom, Dad, & Mike. . . Thanks for putting up with my constant crap. I know I am a difficult person right now, but I greatly appreciate your support and help.
On the mental health end of the spectrum today, I have been feeling pretty anxious, edgy, and a bit emotional at times today. There were certain parts of the day where I just thought I was going to burst into tears. Like when I found out they were having a bloody mary competition and I couldn’t partake in the festivities.
While I still have the highs and lows, I must admit, I do feel a tiny bit more stable than I was when I had my last manic episode and I think a lot of that has to do with the increase in my one medication, Vraylar. I have been on more medications that I can even name, and this is, by far, the best one I have found so far. At least that I can recall. I am NOT, in any way, trying to advertise for this medication. Everyone reacts to medications differently. What works for one person, may not work for the next.
I feel more stable than I have in a while, but at the same time, I don’t know if I truly believe my own statement. I know that sounds odd, but what I mean is, that even though I feel stable now, I never stay stable. Ever. Everything I do happens in a cycle. I will go through a depressive phase, then a manic phase, then I will feel normal – or baseline – for a little while, and then I will get depressed again. That’s exactly how it goes for me. It is neverending. It has been like that for as long as I can remember.
I find that everything I do goes in cycles. This is the life of a person with Bipolar 1 Disorder. I would even drink in cycles. I would go periods where I would drink every day, then once in a while, then not at all, then every day again. I have met other people who are bipolar who experience the same types of patterns that I do. Usually, it’s hard to tell or distinguish those types of patterns or cycles until you have been dealing with your disorder for a while. I used to regularly track/chart my moods and I had started to see patterns while I was working with a therapist. I am not sure if I would have been able to pick up on these types of behaviors on my own. Maybe I would have eventually, but at least I know now, and I have known for a while. So when I see myself getting into a cycle I can try to look for ways to cope or break the cycle before I get in too deep. However, there are other times when I am utterly clueless until after the cycle has already ended.
Usually, it’s hard to tell or distinguish those types of patterns or cycles until you have been dealing with your disorder for a while. I used to regularly track/chart my moods and I had started to see patterns while I was working with a therapist. I am not sure if I would have been able to pick up on these types of behaviors on my own. Maybe I would have eventually, but at least I know now, and I have known for a while. So when I see myself getting into a cycle I can try to look for ways to cope or break the cycle before I get in too deep. However, there are other times when I am utterly clueless until after it is already too late, or until the cycle has already ended.
I really encourage anyone who is living with bipolar disorder to try mood charting for at least a month minimum. It is simply amazing on the patterns that can be seen and picked up. You can Click Here to go to my post about the mood chart I created on MS Word and play around with it to make it suit your personal needs.
Below are some (badly taken) pictures from my first-time-walking-on-the-beach-at-night-sober stroll! Enjoy! ♥
Joy through the bottle,
did never I find.
I was locked in a prison within my own mind,
Darkness and fear
encircled my head,
better I thought that I should be dead.
But a light came upon me,
as I kneeled down to pray.
Now happy and sober,
I’ve been to this day.
Thank you Father.
This is a Poem created by a follower Gary B. Click Here to see it at poetry.com
I guess it’s safe to say I made it to my destination without much of an issue. I wish I could say I have been having the time of my life since I’ve gotten here, but that would be an outright lie. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed myself at times. But at other times, I’ve felt like I was crawling out of my skin.
There was wine and beer everywhere when I first arrived, and I couldn’t help but look at it like a long lost friend. Like, “Hey! Hey, you! Let me take a good look at ya!” I had to just walk away from it. I feel so weak and powerless over it. I mean, I know I am weak and powerless over it… step one, and all that happy horse crap… but I just mean, I feel like a little kid pining after a toy they saw on TV that they just have to have but will never actually get.
I can only imagine how much I am driving everyone else nuts with my persistent whining about having the urge to drink/use while I am out here because even I am getting on my own damn nerves already! I can’t tolerate myself, so I don’t see how anyone else is able to tolerate me either.
I feel like I should just shut up already and suffer in silence, but I know, and I mean I KNOW, that if I do that, I will most likely pick up a drink at some point during this week, and I will not be able to stop with just one. I at least know that much about myself.
I’m staying with my boyfriend’s family at a beach house they rented, and earlier this evening they had a party here and there was literally alcohol everywhere. I became highly antisocial and stayed in the one bedroom working on my current article.
Lucky for me, I had recently confided in my boyfriend’s dad that I am a recently recovering alcoholic and he was very understanding. I must admit, I was very surprised. Since we are staying at the house he rented, he said it would be fine to just eat and then leave before everyone got drunk, so that I would not have to be around that. I really appreciated that.
I knew being around a lot of people that were going to be consuming alcohol was going to be hard, but I didn’t think it was going to be this hard. I wonder if feeling like this is normal, or if I am overreacting? Is it this hard for people to stay sober while on vacation or just me? It makes me feel like I never want to leave my house again.
While the dinner party was going on, my boyfriend and I ended up slipping out after we had eaten and went to the Sea Isle City boardwalk and just walked around. It was pretty fun. I got to take a few pictures, but I was still really anxious. Being a recovering bipolar alcoholic completely sucks… there are just way too many emotions going on at all times.
Regardless of anything though, I am determined to try to have some fun this week. I just need to keep documenting my journey as a means of a coping mechanism for me. I want to be able to look back on this next year, still sober, and see that I was able to make it through.
Sleeplessness. What causes it? Image via Flickr.
By definition, insomnia is ‘habitual sleeplessness or an inability to sleep.’ The words seem harmless, but the condition definitely isn’t. Imagine nights of staring at the clock, exhausted but unable to get any sleep. It can strike anybody, at any time and lead to major health issues, including depression. Yet, few of us know enough about the condition to protect ourselves. For many of us, insomnia is one of those distant things that happens to other people. Is it any wonder, then, that it can floor us completely?
Like with any health-related issue, the best way to avoid the problem is to know more about it. For one; what causes insomnia? You can’t take steps towards prevention without knowing. The bad news is, this is a tricky issue. Many factors could cause problems, and there are different forms of insomnia…
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I feel kind of ridiculous now for posting about how going on vacation is going to be hard for me because of much I am going to want to drink. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it still rings true. However, I found out this afternoon that my Aunt Laura passed away and that it was alcohol related.
I wasn’t exactly close with my aunt, but that doesn’t mean anything because she was still family. I haven’t seen her in, I don’t even know how many, years. My mom and I just started to reconnect with her again a few months ago. Maybe it has even been about a year by now. She didn’t even live in the same state as me, so going to a viewing or funeral is absolutely out of the question for me.
I don’t have much information on her actual cause of death at the moment as we are awaiting the official coroner’s report, which will take a few days. What we do know, for sure, is that it was definitely alcohol related in some way.
My Aunt Laura was a severe alcoholic, like a lot of people in my family, and has been drinking since her teen years. I believe she was only in her 40’s. From what I have gathered, she went on a two-week binge, and barely ate anything during that period of time and her heart just couldn’t take it anymore and gave out.
I honestly don’t know how I feel. I mean, I feel bad, but not depressed. Like I said, we really weren’t close. Surreal maybe? I think that’s the word I am looking for… it just feels surreal. With me being a recovering alcoholic, and having a relative die from alcoholism, it just feels surreal to me. Like, this isn’t right, this must just be a dream. People in my family don’t die from alcoholism.
Then a strange thought crosses my mind; Could I die from alcoholism? Nah. Not me. Even though somewhere inside I know that I am blatantly lying to myself by saying not me, because the older I get, there seem to be more and more people that I know that are passing away from drug and alcohol related deaths. Surreal is the perfect word to describe this feeling.
No one ever wants to think that bad things could actually happen to them. I know I am guilty of thinking like that. I try to reason with it by saying that there have been so many times in my life that I should have died but didn’t, therefore I must be indestructible. It’s distorted thinking and I am aware of that now, but I have used that line on myself for so long that I feel like it is permanently ingrained in there. It’s sad to say, but in a way, it’s like I believe my own lie, while still knowing that it’s a lie. How does that even work?
But after today, I think that distorted thought has shifted a bit. I don’t know for how long, but this shift could be good for me. Especially since I am going to be leaving to head out on vacation in… 4 hours.
It’s just really sad that my aunt let the bottle take her. She never stood a fighting chance against it. If I can get past this next week, better yet, if I can make it past these next few hours, or minutes, then I know I will at least have a fighting chance. I just have to try to take things a little bit at a time.
Right now, I am fine. But I am also writing this, and writing is my main coping mechanism. I guess any follows I have on here can expect a lot of posts out of me over this next week. I will also have my article assignments to keep me preoccupied when I need them too.
One Day At A Time
I should be excited right now since I leave for vacation Saturday morning, but the closer it gets the more anxious I start to feel. This is going to my first vacation sober. I don’t know how well I am going to be able to handle that, especially without a sponsor now. And what does every normal person do on vacation? They get wasted, right? I mean, that’s what I always did on vacation? That’s what everyone on my Facebook does on vacation? The same with my friend, my family, and most of the people that I am going to be with for the next week. I just want to fell like a normal human being again.
If I have to look on the bright side, I guess I can at least say that my boyfriend doesn’t drink or use and that I also know I have some amazing people that I can call if I need too. However, that still doesn’t stop or help, the anxiety that I am feeling now and will most likely feel at certain times when I see other people throwing back Tequila shots.
I am not at the point in my sobriety yet where I can even listen to people talk about getting drunk without me wanting to get in on the fun, let alone me being around people who are going to be drinking heavily right in front of me. I can start to feel the panic rise in me even just thinking about it.
Unless a person has dealt with addiction firsthand, they could never know what I am going through right now. Or why my thought process is the way it is, or even why I am making such a big deal about this. In order to understand the grip that addiction truly can have on a person, someone would have to witness it firsthand. Whether it be from struggling through it themselves or watching a loved one being brought down slowly.
Alcoholism and drug use is more serious than this, but I heard an analogy similar to this and figured it was worth fixing it up a bit because people who aren’t addicts would be able to understand this more than anything else. They would at least be able to catch the gist of it:
Addiction is like being on a strict diet. You know you are medically not allowed to have sugar because it is bad for you, so you have to stay away from it. You do all the right things. You eat right, you go to the gym every day, and you stay away from those donuts because those donuts have the sugar in them that will kill your diet. You do those same things day in and day out. One day, after being on your diet for a few months, you decide that one bite of a donut won’t hurt you. After all, you have been going to the gym every day and eating right every day. So you take that one bite. Next thing you know, the entire donut is gone, and you are on your way to Dunkin’ Donuts to buy yourself a dozen. All your hard work is gone and out the window all because you wanted a taste of something sweet.
That basically explains addiction and relapse in the simplest way it can be put for people who normally just wouldn’t understand.
I hope that I will have enough will power in me to be able to make the right choices on this vacation because I honestly don’t feel like recounting my days. That feels like too much work to me. 😀
I am reblogging this from a site I found from Barb Knowles. This is a very well-written piece, and I am happy that she allowed me to share it on my site.
Alcoholism sneaks up on you. It becomes rooted in your family and winds its way through your DNA and out of your mouth and into your words. It branches out of your fingers to pick up the glasses and bottles. It blossoms in your brain to affect your decisions and perceptions.
It leaves its leaves in your conscience like spiked thorns that prick at you, but its sap smooths the edges over and allows you to think that your actions are one thing and not another.
It breeds from generation to generation and is watered by the approval of family, friends and social groups. Its heavy aroma blocks the disapproval of your conscience and that of others.
Its insidiousness allows you to hurt yourself and others and flourishes in your feeble attempts to control what can’t be controlled.
That is, until the day that the sap begins to dry up…
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