Completely Heartbroken

Completely Heartbroken 💔


I’m drowning again, only this time I have a legitimate reason for being pulled under the water this time around. Sometime this morning when Mike, my boyfriend, wakes up he is going to be calling his dad to try to have him help find new living arrangements for himself. He’s leaving me. We didn’t even really have our normal full blown fight, it was very minor. He just wanted me to come to bed with him but I said no because I wasn’t ready to go to bed at the time. Next thing I know he’s saying he doesn’t want to be with me anymore and breaking up with me.  Continue reading

Early Morning Anxiety

I just seem to be feeling overly anxious at the moment, and I only just woke up less than an hour ago. I cannot get my mind to just stop running wild. Today I will be getting my first paycheck from Babygaga. It still feels kind of unreal to me. Like, how did I get a job writing articles for a living? I’m not fully going to believe it until that money is my account, I guess. I really should’ve asked my editor what time they usually deposit the pay at so I’m not anxiously waiting like some crazy person. (Oh, wait. I am some crazy person!) Continue reading

The Adventure Begins

 

The Adventure Begins


I am finally getting back to normal, and I love it! I was in such a bad spot with that depressive episode. Sleep was impossible, but that was all I wanted to do. I couldn’t sleep because my mind would not stop racing with all these horrible negative thoughts. I didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere, or even see anyone. I just wanted to disappear, and I was making plans to do so. I don’t think I ever felt that low in my life. I thought it was going to last forever, that I would be trapped inside my own mind thinking all these crazy things. Continue reading

Thinking About Life: July 11, 2017

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Thinking About Life: July 11, 2017


After careful consideration, I have decided to quit my ghostwriting job. It just was not worth it anymore. I sent them an email about it and their only response back was literally, “Oh, wow!” and I have not heard anything since. I was so nervous when I did it.

At first, the editor/owner or whatever she is, sent me an email asking me why an article was not done when it was due June 27th. We had a lengthy discussion about this article over a several day time span so she knew it was not done, and she even told me to hold off on it and focus on other stuff. So when I got an email asking me why it was not done, I lost my temper.

I sent a not so nice email explaining everything and told her that she may as well look for a new writer then if she is not going to work with me. I, again, told her that I could only do so many articles a week for her and she was going to have to accept that and I said a lot of other stuff.

In the end, she said to give her two weeks to find someone to pick up the slack but until then I still needed to do 6 articles a week. At least she was finally trying to work with me, but I knew this was unrealistic for me. At this point, I had been up for way over 24 hours working on an article and I was cranky and exhausted and I will admit she was becoming my target. I had to repeat myself a lot though, maybe three or four times because she just wasn’t getting it the first few time I said something which was pissing me off.

She told me that she treats her writers like family and hopes that I would change my mind before the two weeks was up.

She needed me to do another article, and I told her I needed to sleep. So when I woke up, I just didn’t have it in me anymore. I sent a resignation email, and well, I already said the rest.

hidden smileAs of right now, I am happy writing for BabyGaga. They even offered me an extra incentive if I could write an extra article or two a week, “you’ve been producing great work so far and consistently,” as quoted from my email. It made me feel good because I don’t always know my worth. As I have said before, a few times. I just hope that I can keep producing worthy articles for them.

Part of me is paranoid that now that I quit my ghostwriting job that now I have nothing to call back on, just in case. But another part of me is like, well at least now I have something with my name on it. It’s weird I guess. I don’t know if it is normal to feel like that. I never know if anything that I am feeling is considered normal.

What is normal anyway? There is no such thing as normal, I guess because everyone is unique in their own way and everyone has their own unique way of thinking. I need to stop asking myself, “Is this normal?” for that simple reason… everyone is unique. I don’t keep that in mind enough, even though I already know it.

Old Liquor Bottle

Anyhow, I know I talk about my recovery a lot but that is because it is a big part of my life and I am truly sorry if I bore anyone but I need to talk about it again. I find myself wanting to drink a lot more these days, and I don’t know why. Maybe it has something to do wth summer being here. I really don’t know. I kind of regret building such a strong support system because now no will let me drink, but I know that in all actuality it is a good thing. But damn, I could go for a few drinks. Maybe a few bottles. It makes me want to get alcohol and hid it from people, but I would feel too guilty to do that. It has been ever since I hit my three-month mark that the urges to drink have really crept in and have been hitting hardcore.

I’ve been lucky to meet some really nice women in recovery recently over FB the last few days who have been nice enough to talk to me. Now it’s 2 am, and I have their numbers, but I am struggling to utilize them right now when I need too because it’s so late because I would love a drink right now… but it’s okay because I am broke lol.

I am struggling to not use that word again… normal.

i hate my bodyOn another note, I had been doing so well losing weight and then I went to the beach and &%@ed it all up. I cannot stress how much I am hating how much weight I have put on in such a short period of time. I even stopped getting on the scale now all together. I am so, beyond, disappointed in myself. I took months, and months of hard work and just through it out the window. I could try to blame it on new meds, I could try to blame it on trying to stay sober, but I am serious the only one to blame for this one.

I know I sound like a teenage girl, and I may as well be, but I really hate myself right now for this. I must have put on twenty pounds in a month. I would know for sure if I would get on the scale again, but I am straight scared too because it would probably just depress me no matter what the number is. I see in my stomach, my face, the way my close fit, the way my boyfriend looks at me.

body dysmorphia

Between the weight issues and not being able to drink, it kind of puts me in the mindset to want to resort back to self-harming again. I was just thinking about that earlier too. It was my boyfriends birthday today, so I tried to be on my best behavior and be as pleasant as I could possibly be.

I know it’s just my body dysmorphia. But damn, I really I need do something. Starting next week, I am going to start trying to lose the excess weight that I put on. I need some major encouragement.

All I guess some of this stuff is just triggering some depressive issues. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Maybe my bipolar depression is triggering some of these issues.

Speaking of bipolar disorder, we always have to add that into the mix, I get random bouts of mania lately triggered by who knows what that does not last very long, followed by a quick bout of depression, followed by some baseline stuff. I am definitely rapid cycling by the hours sometimes. I never used to think they were possible until I asked my doctor one day, and they are. I don’t know if they are rare or anything like that because I didn’t ask but they do happen. Usually, I cycle every few days, or weeks, and at the very maximum a month.

 ♄ Gotta Love Bipolar ♄

Bipolar-Depression

-Samantha♄

 

 

July 4th, 2017

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July 4th, 2017


Introduction

Today has been pretty good for me while also marking my first 4th of July Sober. But I managed to make it through with of too much of an issue. I did not even get my a** to a meeting like I should have. Then again, I also did not get any sleep like I should have… I have not been to bed yet and I tried everything I could think of, besides illegal stuff and drugs and alcohol, to get me to sleep but to no avail. (So, I am hoping the Unisom I took mixed with my Remeron will help me sleep tonight finally.) 

Babygaga.com & Ghostwriting

So, I got some amazing news that I am beyond excited about! That babygaga.com thing did turn out to be a smart move on my part. I got an email response today and they asked me to submit a few more topic ideas, so I did. Then I got a welcome e-mail and that said they were interested in having me join their team! I am on a 6 week trial period, which is understandable, and I would get $20 an article plus $0.40/1,000 views. That is way, way more than I am making now as I ghostwriter.

I emailed her back and thanked you graciously for the opportunity and said that I can’t wait to get started and to let me know where we go from here. As for my ghostwriting job, I may as well spill the beans now… I ghostwrite for someone on babygaga and make a hell of a lot less than they make per article. And while they have 3-4 days to complete their articles for babygaga, they have only been giving me a one-day deadline. However, I have decided that I really don’t want to give the ghostwriting job fully, especially since I am only on a 6 week trial period. I mean, what if, for whatever reason, things don’t work out between me and babygaga and I need something to fall back on at least I will have the ghostwriting.

I emailed the lady that assigns me the articles and explained that I am starting a new job, and will let her know when I find out more, but that I doubt I will be able to take on more than 2-3 articles a week tops. Actually, 3 would even be pushing it. I would have to literally work 7 days a week even just doing the 2 articles a week. It will be worth it though, and I am so ecstatic to see what will come of this babygaga.com website content writer position.

I am hoping that my current position, the ghostwriting, will understand that I needed to take on more work, especially since they pay me so little. (I make like $6.88 an article at most.) I also hope that they don’t decide to hire me over this, especially because I really do need the money and they are good with their pay. Plus, I need them to leave positive feedback for me on my Upwork profile so more people will want to/consider hiring me in the future.

90 Days Clean (3 Months)  & 4th of July

I cannot believe it! Saturday, July 8th, will be my 90 days clean. Or, in-other-words, my 3 months clean. I am definitely going to a meeting Saturday to receive my 3 months sober coin. I cannot believe I have made it this far without using drugs or alcohol. Only God know, how many times I have had the urges or cravings to get drunk. More so, I like the feeling of being drunk and getting out of my own head, even if it’s just for an hour to a few hours.

I don’t miss: the hangovers, the vomiting, the extra calories (even though I have been making that up in food, the heartburn, the feeling like death or like I’m literally dying the next day, the not remembering what I did because I was drunk phases, the arguing with people and forgetting the arguments because I was drunk phases, the excessive thirty, the drunk dialing/texting/social mediaing phases, the suicidal phases, the self-injury phases, the freaking out for no reason phases, the not remember what I did the night before phases, the forgetting things at places phases, the all of the above and more phases.

I do miss: the feeling less awkward, feeling like I fit in, not giving a shit, not caring what people think about phase, the overly confident phase, the more outgoing phase, the language that only your twin could understanding, the general not caring phase, the general boost of self-confidence phase, room service just because I can. There is a requirements list.

The feeling of being drunk without the aftermath and stages of literacy would be really nice. I made it through almost the whole entire holiday without wanting to drink. That is probably because I have kept myself really busy with articles and other little things. Holidays seem to be getting easier to be around without getting sloshed. Then again, I wasn’t really around much alcohol either. If I were to be around alcohol or if it were readily available, that may have been a different story.

My Dad

I got a call from my dad that he’s in the hospital. I guess he has appendicitis. They are keeping him overnight,  giving him IV antibiotics, and then checking in on him in the morning and deciding if he needs his appendix out, which he most likely does. I wish I could go visit him, but he lived down south and I am up north. So I am wishing him a speedy recovery and hoping that he gets better fast. ♄

Articles & Topics

I am having severe #writersblock already and cannot figure out what to write for my next article. I am just glad that When Love Turns Toxic got published on vocal. If anyone has any suggestions for topic ideas relating to:

  • Mental Health
  • Addiction
  • Love, Relationships & Dating Advice
  • Other Medical Topics
  • Reviews
  • Pregnancy & Parenting
  • Family Issues
  • Eating Disorders
  • Insomnia & Other Sleep Disorders
  • Etc…

Please comment and give me some suggestions. My mind is running on empty and I cannot, for some reason, think of any new topics. That would be greatly appreciated. I have quite a few followers now, so I am sure someone HAS to have an idea on a topic for an article.


Have A Happy, Safe, & Sober

(To all you recoveree’s out there)

4th Of July

∞Samantha♄∞

Ghostwriter Blue

 

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Ghostwriter Blues


When I agreed to become a ghostwriter I didn’t realize that I would take it so hard once I started seeing another author take claim for all of my hard work. It’s that simple. The other day, I don’t know why, but I decided to search for the articles that I had written on the site I was writing for and there they were… right in front of me… word for word. Only, they were under someone else’s name. Of course, they were because I was a ghostwriter. A nobody. A legit nobody who would never have their name next to an article that they would actually get paid for.

It was like a stab right to the chest. It took my breath away and I just felt completely horrible. Every article I looked up had the same authors name too. She was really making out good with my writing. Then I started to get jealous and started to wonder if she ever wrote anything a day in her life? I went to another website I had written something for and sure enough, my article was there too with her name. I think maybe I would not have felt all that bad if it would have been for different people but it’s the same girl.  

I know that this is what ghostwriter’s do, okay? I get that. What I don’t get… Is why am I taking this so damn hard? This actually really hurts for some reason? I feel like I have worked so hard, so hard and for absolutely nothing. I’m working hard to make her look good. But damn I really need this right now. 

I may have already overreacted and done something that I may not be able to do damage control on by personally applying to one of those sites as a writer. And on the application where it asks, “How would you make a great contributor and can you should us an example of your work.” I may have replied by saying something of the sorts, “I am already a ghostwriter for a contributing author on this site. I have worked on XXXX article.” So I don’t know how and if this could affect anything. I could have screwed myself thanks to my bipolar mind. FML.

I have a few articles due, and one well overdue, but I just don’t have it in me. It’s like all the passion I had to write for said person is gone. I should just end my contact but I don’t necessarily want to do that either. I feel stuck. I want to end the contract because I want to be able to start to create my own content and get my own name out there, and creating content for this company is taking up a lot of my time. (I should be working on that overdue article, but I took time out of that to write this. I need some me time.) But on the other hand, I do want to continue to write for this company because I could still use the experience. Also, I could use the (minimal) paycheck right now.

I just feel torn and heartbroken. I wish someone could have told me that it was going to hurt this much seeing someone else take credit for my hard work. This way I could have at least tried to prepare myself, or my heart, so that it wouldn’t have been this painful or something. I don’t think there would have truly been a way to prepare me though because everyone is different, and every mind if different. It’s just not fair to me.

I feel useless and used. I feel like I will never amount to anything myself and that I am always a bouncing board for everyone else. I feel like maybe I don’t even actually have any talent, that I am the second rate, so that is why I have to settle for helping boost someone else. My mind is automatically jumping to all of these negative things that may or may not be true, but that feels true to me in the moment.

I wish someone could just tell me if what I am feeling is normal or not. Right now I just harboring a sh*t ton of resentment and I really don’t like it. I wish I could just go back to before I looked anything up and realized that my articles were… I don’t know. I knew what the hell my job was, so I don’t even know why this is upsetting me. I guess this is just a whole lot of jealousy. Maybe that’s what this is. Jealousy. But I am more than just jealous. I am legitly hurt. I really, really hate my bipolar mind sometimes. It just sucks.

-Samantha â™„

 

Emotional Overload *Trigger Warning*

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Emotional Overload

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. ♄

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Lake Mauch Chunk

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;

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Body Dysmorphia Is A Hard Thing To Break. This Is The Me I Don’t Like To Show,

-Samantha ♄



 

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 6

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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.

Samantha ♄

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Sea Isle City ’17: Day 5

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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.

 

 

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 3

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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?

-Samantha ♄

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Sea Isle City ’17: Day 2

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My boyfriend & I


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.

  1. Depression
  2. Mania
  3. Baseline

 

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.

-Samantha ♄


Below are some (badly taken) pictures from my first-time-walking-on-the-beach-at-night-sober stroll! Enjoy! ♄

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June 17, 2017 S.I.C., NJ

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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.


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The Bottle Took Her

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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

June 16, 2017 2:53am

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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. 😀

 

June 11th – 2:30 am

I haven’t really been able to add many posts or updates recently even though I’ve really been meaning too. I’ve just had a lot going on lately, so I figured that while I was awake at 2:30 am I would finally post my first update in a while.

My hard work, and last manic episode (which you can read about here), finally paid off for me! I got my first paid writing job through Upwork! It pays next to nothing, but I could care less right now! Someone took a chance on me and gave me this wonderful opportunity to get my foot in the door, and is allowing me to gain experience! Everyone has to start somewhere. I am ecstatic!

I spend almost all day, every day writing my assigned articles. When I was interviewed for the writing position I was told that it would be ghost writing, so, unfortunately, my name will not be anywhere on the article or site that they are getting posted on unless they change their minds or I am mistaken. I get assigned about 6 articles a week for a pregnancy and parenting website, which is ironic since I don’t have any kids. It requires a lot of research for the most part and that it what takes up most of my time. I love it though!

I also got a really great email the other day from someone at Domainite who must have really liked the writing sample I sent them, because they got back to me and apologized for not getting in touch with me sooner, and she explained that it has been slow client wise. Then she told me about another company that was hiring writers and that I should apply with that company. She also said she told them that I would be in contact with them so that they would prioritize my application, and that I should send them a sample of my writing. When I went to this company’s website, I saw that they pay their writer’s $50 an article! I wish I knew which sample I actually sent to Domainite. I must have done it during my manic episode because I have no recollection of it at all. My writing is definitely NOT worth $50 a piece, but I submitted a sample article anyway. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! Wish me luck with this one!

On another note, I hit my two months sober mark on Thursday (5/8/17). I went with a new, and quickly becoming good, friend to a Dual Recovery Anonymous meeting and she surprised me by giving me her two-month coin (she’s about 5 years sober I believe) and told me that she hopes it brings me as much luck as it brought her. I was just like, aww. That was very sweet of her, and it really did mean a lot to me. It probably meant a lot more to me than she even realized. It’s the little simple things in life that mean a lot to me.

On a not-so-good note, I no longer have a sponsor. That did not last very long at all. I had gotten so wrapped up in my writing the past week and a half that I kept forgetting to call her at appropriate hours. By the time I would realize that I forgot to call it would be well after 10 pm, and she goes to bed earlier than I do, so unless it’s an emergency I won’t call her past 9:30-10pm. The last time I had actually had a conversation with her was June 2nd. Fast forward to the 8th, I try to call her and I get sent to voicemail so I leave her a message and she never called me back.

Then today I finally get a hold of her and she seems really, really mad or disappointed. She explains that I was supposed to call every day, I try to explain about writing, and getting wrapped up in my own little world, and things that are common with people who are bipolar. She just didn’t want to hear it. I explained to her that I am actually doing really good, that I am staying out of trouble, I am taking my meds, I am staying sober, and that I even hit my 2 months clean. I just felt like she wasn’t hearing me. I feel like I am in an okay place right now. Minus my regular ups and downs associated with my mental illnesses of course.

She told me that I need to do the 90 meetings in 90 days. I explained that for me, that really is not logical because I do not have my own car anymore. I have to rely on rides from people. I also can’t afford to give people gas money to drive me around every day either. That’s when I guess she had enough of me. She pretty much told me that I am not gonna stay clean, that I am not committed to staying clean, and that she can no longer help me or be there for me (however she worded it, but you get the gist).

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she does not know how to handle someone like me. Someone with a serious mental illness, because before me she never had a sponsee who had this many mental and emotional issues before. It was a learning experience for her. I tried my best to explain things, and I know she tried her best to understand things. I get it though, it is hard to understand something that you have never personally been through yourself or have cared for someone that went through it. I am not easy. I get that too.

It just sucks though because I recently just started trusting her and letting her in. I can’t help but feel like everyone that I let in eventually leaves. I don’t particularly want to go through it again with having to try to find a new sponsor, having to re-explain myself, my past, my mental illness, my drinking, learning to trust them, and so on. I feel like it would be a waste of time or something. I can’t help but to feel a little frustrated, hostile, and yet guilty all at the same time. I can’t blame just her, but I also can’t blame just me either. I didn’t put enough effort in, and she didn’t try hard enough to see things from my perspective and circumstances.

It’s just really bad timing though too because I am leaving for vacation in less than a week, and what does everyone usually do on vacation? They get wasted! I mean, between going to the beach and writing my articles, I know that I am going to be able to keep myself busy but that is not the point. The point is, that everyone around is going to be bombed. Oh well, no use thinking about that now I guess. Right? One day at a time.

I am going to be posting some of the articles that I have been creating just for fun and to add some variety. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone will actually offer me some feedback and I can see where I need to improve!

My First Month Sober

My First Month Sober

By: Samantha Steiner

My last drink was around 11 PM on Saturday, April 8th, 2017. I was drinking with a girl that I conceded to be my best friend of almost 20 years and two of her cousins. Some stuff went down and we basically lost touch after that. It’s not my story to tell so I will not get into what happened. After I got sober, I basically lost my best friend and that hurts more than anything. However, all we literally did, over 20 years, was get high and drunk together. I love this girl to death though and I will always love her.

Now, to get back on topic, when I had my last drink I was attending a partial hospitalization program called Adult Transitions for my dual diagnosis which is mental health issues along with substance abuse problems. Not only was I a total binge drinker but I also smoked weed and I used to do whatever drugs I could get my hands on. My therapist at A.T. (Adult Transitions) made me realize that it is not really normal to not be able to stop after one drink. At A.T. we would have 3 hours of group therapy so between my therapist and the group I really started to see how much of a problem that I had.

I made excuses for my drinking. I figured that since I was able to stop drinking daily all on my own I didn’t need any help. I didn’t need AA. I didn’t think I had that much of a problem, even though everyone else sure thought I had a problem. I started to wonder if maybe there really was something to what everyone else was telling me.

My therapist would urge me to go to an AA meeting but like with everything else, I would make excuses for not going. I would say that I don’t need to go because I don’t drink every day anymore, or that I can’t go alone, or that I wouldn’t have a way there, or that AA was for quitters (ha!). I would say whatever I could think of. The only time I would admit to having a problem was when I was already wasted and feeling severely depressed. That’s when I would be able to tell that something wasn’t quite right.

I didn’t like the thought of never being able to drink again. Nobody likes being told the word never. It is a very powerful and permanent word. AA is all about, “One day at a time,” But I didn’t know how to do one day at a time. My mind would just go to the future. How was I going to stay sober during holidays and birthdays? I just couldn’t picture it, at first. How do you learn to live one day at a time when it was hard to stay in the present moment to begin with? I had a lot of learning and growing up to do.

I had been drinking and using drugs for 16 years which is over half my life so that was really all I knew.  At first, quitting drinking wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I went to my first AA meeting 7 days in. I was extremely nervous and my boyfriend went with me for support because there was no was that I was going to go alone. I am a very codependent person which is something I really need to work on. One thing at a time though.

My first meeting was kind of overwhelming but everyone was so nice and welcoming. I kind of got a cultish type of vibe though. I was scared at first though because I was the only female there. I thought, Oh no, my very first meeting and I showed up to a men’s only meeting! I was freaking out! When the chairman starting speaking he really messed with me and looked right at me (it was a small, cozy meeting) and said, “Welcome, to the _________ men’s only Meeting.” My jaw dropped, I turned bright red and everyone started laughing. He was just screwing with me. Talk about an awkward ice breaker. Needless to say, I ended up making that my home group. I just felt comfortable there even though many women don’t show up to that Saturday night meeting. However, that group does also have a Sunday and Monday night meeting as well.

I felt relieved after my first meeting though. I couldn’t figure out why I had been so nervous in the first place. After that, I started going to meetings regularly, just not as much as I would like since I have to rely on rides at the moment, and I even found a sponsor within my third day of attending meetings. It took a while to open up to my sponsor but once I did, I was glad I did. She is my rock when I need someone to talk to as well as some of the other people that I have become good friends with that are in recovery.

At first, I thought there was nothing too much to this staying sober thing. I didn’t really have many hard urges or cravings; they were more just like passing thoughts. Like, hmm, I am bored I could go for a drink but nah I don’t need to. However, as more time went on it got a little harder. The more I got stressed, the harder the urges got. I wasn’t an everyday drinker, so I should have realized that the urges wouldn’t kick in right away or even all the time. They are only once in a while. Kind of like my drinking habits. When I did drink, I went all out though. I drink too much in such a short period of time. I had to be the one to drink more than everyone else. I had to be the one with the strongest drinks. I had to be the one who blacked out at the end of the night. It was getting unmanageable and out of hand. My drinking went from wanting to drink to needing to drink especially in times of emotional stress or pain, which is the worst time to drink since alcohol is a depressant.

I would be fine for a few hours but by the time I got home and was trapped inside my own head and alone at night, after getting wasted, I would get depressed, suicidal, start self-harming, cry hysterically, yell, scream, argue, and whatever else you could think of that was negative. I just couldn’t control myself and I guess that is not normal. More so, I know that is not normal.

As of today Monday, May 29th. 2017 I am 1 month and 20 days sober. Within the past 20 days, I have been way more agitated, emotional, angry and feeling out of control with my emotions. A new, and good, friend from AA told me that it is most likely caused by new sobriety. I was not prepared for the mood changes. On top of being bipolar, I didn’t need anything else to affect my mood. Staying sober is worth it though. Some days I still doubt my sobriety when I am feeling really low. I will wonder if I made the right decision even though in the back of my mind  I know that I would not have been able to stay on the same path that I was on and that my life had become unmanageable (step one). I feel like it is normal to doubt yourself sometimes when you are making a major life change for yourself.

1 month and 21 days ago, I could have never pictured getting sober. It was not even an option for me. I am working on my one day at a time. And today, I am going to have to work on one moment at a time since it is Memorial Day—a major drinking holiday. Or at least, it was for me. I have only made it through one other holiday sober which was Easter since I have decided to get clean. It was easier than I thought but it was still when everything was peachy before I became so angry and irritable about everything. I know that if I need help I can always call my sponsor or one of my friends in recovery and that they will always be there for me. As everyone in recovery always tells me, “Recovery is a WE thing. You are never alone.”

 

(*TRIGGER WARNING*) My Newest Diagnosis & How it came to be

My Newest Diagnosis & How it came to be

                Earlier this month, May 10th, 2017, my therapist diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after I finally opened up about certain events in my life. I always thought I had some sort of trauma in my life but I never truly believed it since I never got to process it. I always pushed down some of the things that have happened to me in my life. I had also developed a dissociative disorder and certain addictions so pushing things down and away was fairly easy for me.

I got clean on April 8th, 2017 as of 11 pm so I no longer have drugs and alcohol to help suppress my emotions anymore. Therefore, emotions and memories have been flooding back to me unexpectedly.  I still deal with my dissociative disorder though, so I feel like some things will never come back to me. I can’t be too sure though because, at this point, anything is possible.

I will get a certain flooding of emotions, feelings, flashbacks with hard and disturbing thoughts. Things will seem and feel like they happened just a few moments ago or just yesterday instead of years ago. The memories will become so vivid like they are happening all over again and I will be able to recall such great detail. It can get so painful at times having to relive certain situations again and again.

My step dad, now my mom’s ex, was very emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive to my sister, my mom, my two brothers and myself. His name was Pete, and he was my little sister’s dad. He had no relation to my brothers or I. He was an alcoholic/addict. He was always high on something. He would get extremely violent and physically abuse my mom and brothers. There was even a time when he threw me down a flight of steps and told me to go to the middle of the woods and kill myself so no one would be able to find me. When my one brother, let’s call him Joe, was ten years he told me that he wanted to kill himself because of Pete. He was only ten! Pete would pick on him the most and he would try to strangle him on multiple occasions as well. I would usher Joe to my bedroom and lock him in there with me to try to protect him. I felt like I needed to protect everyone from Pete, all the time. My sleep was constantly disrupted and still is, because I would have to make sure I could wake up quick if I heard yelling, hitting, throwing or anything else. I felt it was my job to protect them.  I was six years older than my brothers and five years older than my sister.

I had to start dealing with Pete at the tender age of three or four before my sister was even born. Pete was the reason that I even start self-injuring in the first place. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was 12 years old and I heard my mom screaming behind her locked bedroom door, begging him to stop hitting her. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I don’t know why, because I had never heard about it at the time or even seen it on TV, but I took a knife from the kitchen and locked myself in the bathroom and drug the knife across the untouched pale, white flesh of my forearm. Cutting became an addiction for me after that. A way to relieve the pressure I was feeling inside.

Growing up, my siblings and I were so depressed and unhappy because of Pete. And my mom was too scared of him to leave him. Pete’s household slogan was, “What happens here stays here.” We weren’t allowed to talk about what went down at home out of fear of being punished. I was the only one not scared of talking back to him. I didn’t care what he did to me.  Besides, I was already suicidal by that point in my life—my early teens.

He treated my sister the best out of everyone though, that was probably only because she was his own flesh and blood. My sister hates him, even to this day. Pete also treated my other brother, Jake, decent as well. It was like Jake was under some sort of mind control. He would do whatever Pete said pretty much most of the time.

I remember this one time, Pete could not find his Methadone, he was a heroin addict as well, and he woke everyone in the house up at 5 am and started throwing things, yelling, flipping tables over, threatening us, he even made everyone go through the disgusting garbage to look for the Methadone bottle! It was completely ridiculous! And stuff like that happened all of the time too, and sometimes much worse happened. I also pulled a knife on him and tried going after him a few times while I was trying to protect my family from him. I had dissociated during a few of those knife episodes as well. There is so much more that he has done to my family and I that I could write an extensive novel.

Another big life altering event that caused my PTSD was the fact that I was raped, more than once. The first time, I was attacked by a stranger when I was about 14 years old and then any self-respect I had for myself went out the window. I didn’t care about anything anymore. I tried whatever I could to numb the pain that was so deep inside of me. The next time it happened, I was 18 years old, and the even worse part was that it was directly on my 18th birthday. I had gone somewhere with a friend and I had gotten trashed. I had laid down and a couch and this guy that I met a few times climbed on top if me and wouldn’t get off of me. I tried to fight but I was too messed up. I tried to scream and yell but nothing came out.  I had also been taken advantage of in relationships because some of the guys I dated thought that since I was their girlfriend that they could have sex with me whenever they pleased even if I said no.

Abuse comes in many different forms and I have also been mentally and emotionally abused my whole life by many different people, too many people to name actually. I’ve been told I’m worthless, fat, ugly, dumb, no good, stupid, lazy, and unlovable and anything else negative that you could possibly think of. I’ve been made to feel all those things about myself as well. I don’t love myself, I don’t even like myself! I feel like everything that has happened to me is all my fault and that I am always the one to blame for everything.

I am slowly working on myself though. It is a process. It will take time. I might not feel like I am totally worth anything yet but I try to tell myself positive affirmations every day. One day I will start to believe the things I tell myself. It just takes time. Everything in life just takes time.

New Thoughts on Mental Health in the Work Place

New Thoughts on Mental Health in the Work Place

                Over the past few months, I have learned how horrible and devastating it can be for it to get around your place of employment that you are struggling with mental illness and/or addiction. I have never, ever had the stigma be this bad before. I have been out of work on a psychiatric medical leave since 3/13/17 and I am out of work until further notice.

After I told my immediate supervisor what was going on, regarding my mental health, the next thing I knew it was all over my company that I was out of work for psych reasons. I don’t know who started it. Was it my supervisor breaking HIPPA or a “friend”? And I use quotes around the word friend because a real friend would never mention something as serious as your mental health at work.

A month after being out of work on medical leave was when I also had enough of my addictions and decided to get clean. I wish I could say that I am so much better by now, but I’m not. I don’t see myself returning to work anytime in the near future either and my FMLA ran out already. I was supposed to return to work on 5/25/17 but I haven’t as of yet. I am too ashamed to return to a place where everyone knows my personal business. No one needs to know these specific things about me or my life. My mental health was supposed to be confidential. I have been laughed at, made fun of, and told to get over it. Get over it, huh, like it’s that easy. Like I made the conscious decision to have my mind and emotions stay this way.

The Human Resources Department for the Lehigh Region on my company seems to act like since mental illness can’t be seen or physically felt, that there is no reason to miss work. I am so close to getting laid off without having FMLA under my belt anymore. HR even cut my medical insurance already.  I even have a valid medical note but my job doesn’t seem to care either way. I really wish I would have never told anyone at my place of employment that I was out for psychiatric reasons. Things would have been so much easier and less stressful for me that way. It is amazing to me how many people still stigmatize mental illness, especially employers.

The whole reason I even went out on medical leave in the first place was due to a mental breakdown caused by work-related stress. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take anything anymore. I was a Senior Direct Support Professional in a residential group home, which means I was basically the assistant manager of the group home and I had no direction or support from my immediate supervisor. Or at least, that is what it felt like to me. I was under so much pressure and already having multiple mental health issues did not help much either.

One would think that since the company was about caring for individuals with mental illness and special needs that they would be more considerate of employees who were going through the same things, but that was so far from the truth. I really don’t want to return to a place that has double standards. It’s really not worth it anymore.

Hi..My Name is Samantha and I have a Dual Diagnosis!

Hi! My Name is Samantha and I Have a Dual Diagnosis!By: Samantha Steiner

By: Samantha Steiner

 

 

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder Mixed when I was just fourteen years old. Also, that happened to be the year that I became an alcohol and drug addict as well. Being Bipolar seems to go hand in hand with any form of addiction. This seems to happen to so many people around the world that are dealing with any form of mental illness that also turn to mind altering substances on a regular basis, right? I know I can’t be the only one out there.

Being Bipolar is hard enough of a struggle and then I went and made everything worse by adding alcohol and drugs into the mix. Alcoholism and drugging can also be a symptom of an impending mood change for me. If I was starting to get manic or hypomanic, I seemed to want and crave getting messed up even more. However, if I was starting towards a depressive episode than the same wants and cravings started to happen as well. It was not always a mood related thing when I felt like I wanted to get wasted, even though that was the case a majority of the time. I would even drink when I was feeling fine; I would be happy, chipper, outgoing, and just trying to have a good time.

My drinking and drugging didn’t start totally bad at first. But I would tend to binge drink. When I was sixteen, I had my first taste of alcohol poisoning. And let me tell you, it was not fun. I was just out skipping school, hanging out with friends and just getting so wasted. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in a hospital bed, full of tubes and my mother was sitting in a chair in front of my bed. I couldn’t seem to be able to do the simplest things like form words or even speak. I had no idea what happened or when. I couldn’t remember the past few hours no matter how hard I tried. After waking up from what felt like being in a coma; I looked at my mom just sitting there and staring at me. She looked so sad and disappointed in me. I find that I am a disappointing person in general. Looking at my mom, I felt so low, dumb and stupid. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I was sure I was in for the yelling of my life when I got home. I wish I would have taken the alcohol poisoning as a warning to proceed with caution and to stop drinking. But I didn’t. It was years later before I took those difficult steps towards getting clean.

As the years went on, and I got older, my drinking and drug use grew into something stronger as well. I was using whatever I could get my hands on and drinking whatever I could find that would get me buzzed and beyond. My bad habits were starting to weigh down hard on my mental health. I was getting more and more depressed. During one of my depressive episodes, I had drunk an entire bottle of hard liquor all myself. I put a depressing song on repeat and started cutting away at a vein in my foot until I really started to bleed out. Between the depressed state of mind and the alcohol, I was gone. I just wanted to die because I felt I had no other way out from the horrible things that were going on in my head or from my problems. I’ve heard the quote that says, “Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.” However, I couldn’t get that through my mind at that time. I could see no other way out.

From there on, no matter how happy I would get, my using would just bring me down more and more; over and over.  I would be out drinking with the person that was supposed to be my best friend, and we would have the best night ever. But then, when I got home and my boyfriend went to bed, I would be left alone with my thoughts and they would turn real dark, real quick even though I just had the best time of my life. I would start to over think and then the uncontrollable tears would start to flow; slowly at first, but then turning hysterical. I would yell and scream; throw things and get violently angry. I would black out and do terrible things like attempt suicide, self-harm, and say things to purposely hurt the ones that I loved and cared about the most. Then, the next morning I would wake up with a horrible hangover and half a memory about the things that I had done, feel like crap, feel guilty and shameful for how I had reacted the previous night. And then do it all over again within the next day or two.

I had let myself get to the point where occasional drinking, became every other day drinking, which ultimately led to me drinking almost every single day. By this point, I could hardly remember my own name, if I was supposed to be at work, who I had said what to, or basically anything at all. It was bad, and I was becoming way and way more aggressive towards everyone. My moods were all over the place. They were cycling faster than ever before. I was utterly hopeless, but I was nowhere near ready to seek help yet; No matter how bad and unmanageable my life had become I still wasn’t ready.

One night, I had over-dosed on almost every medication I had, on multiple illegal drugs, and got liquored up. I was completely in a psychosis mode. I was hearing and seeing things that were not there. I was hallucinating and yelling at my, now ex, boyfriend and telling him how much I hated him and didn’t want to be with him. I lost my mind. I kept hitting him and slamming his arm in the bedroom door. However, I kept flowing in-and-out of consciousness so I really don’t remember a lot.

I called my mom, she moved me in with her and my siblings that same night, I continued to pop pills and drink and then I called my friend, Mike, over to come save me because I told him I needed him. Within minutes he was there. I felt like I was lost, out-of-control- and broken. I felt like I hit rock bottom and things were once again, unmanageable for me. I freaked out so much more and told my mom and Mike that I wanted to go inpatient for the behavioral health unit and Mike drove me over. This was in May of 2012.

After I got out of the psych ward, I felt like a new woman—again; At least for a little. I told myself that I was never going to drink again. That very evening, June 1St, 2012, Mike asked me to be his girlfriend, and even though I had just got out of a rocky relationship, that I caused, I said yes. Within less than two weeks of leaving the hospital, I started to feel unsteady again, and I started to drink again. I thought I could handle it this time. I thought I could moderate and just have one or two drinks, but why? No one else was having one or two either? Isn’t binge drinking normally for everyone, anyway? People would try to cut me off and I would just get mad and scream and argue and then steal some more anyway. This was my bipolar life! I was going to do as I pleased! However, I did find out that I have lost the job I had while I was out on psych leave due to a failed urine test for drugs and alcohol being present in my system. Is this still my life?

After Mike and I moved in together my drinking and drugging kept up pretty heavy until one drunken night when I tried to stab him during a mixed episode of depression and manic rage. After that, that was it. I begged him not to leave me. I told him I wouldn’t drink anymore. At that moment I meant it. The key word being: at that moment. He put his foot down and said no more drinking for a while and no more drinking alone in the house. I accepted his terms resiliently because I did not want to lose him. I knew I messed up big time. I had already begun to mourn the loss of my precious booze the moment he said it. However, I knew he would cave in eventually; which he did.

As the weeks went on, he would let me drink at family and friends houses a few times a week. But as with what was becoming normal, the overwhelming depression would just set in and then I could cry and cry and cry. And sometimes I wouldn’t even know why I was crying. Mike would get sick of it and want to leave me every time it happened. So he reduced it to once a week. But it still happened. Then I could only drink like three times a month but I would binge drink hardcore. I would drink more than everyone else, faster than everyone else. And I wouldn’t stop until there was nothing left. By the time I would get home I would become so angry at everyone and everything. I would feel completely suicidal and try over-dosing on pills almost every time. It was just horrible; horrible for me; my health; my mental health; and my loved ones.

My last drink was on April 8th, 2017. I just lost it mentally that day. I ruined relationships, overreacted and freaked out over nothing. I don’t know how or why but I really messed things up that night. Nothing has been the same for me since my sober date. I truly had hit my personal rock bottom this time. I admitted to a Higher Power that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. I wish I could say that quitting drinking has been the easiest thing that I have ever done but it’s not. I no longer have ways as a quit fix for my emotional problems but I am working on healthy alternatives each day and it does get better. I know that avoiding mind altering substances is the best thing for me, my health and my future.

 

29 Things I’ve Learned in 29 Years

29 Things I Have Learned in 29 Years

  1. After losing someone that you love, the pain eventually begins to dull after a while. You will never forget that person but time really does make things easier.
  2. If you want to achieve something in life you need to be willing to put the work into in order to make progress. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in the same place for the rest of your life.
  3. Family is not just about being related to someone by blood; It’s about people that you are close to you that you love and that love you back. It’s the people that have been there for you all along and never abandoned you when you needed them the most.
  4. Getting into physical fights, arguments are disagreements that get blowen out of proportion  and are about petty nonsense bullcrap are just a waste of time time and enerygy. It’s not worth it. Fight about the things that really matter and mean a lot to you, not over the he said, she said crap.
  5. If life knocks you down, you just need to get yourself back up and try harder. Things aren’t meant to be perfect and peachy all the time. Getting knocked down is how you learn from your mistakes and grow to become a better person- a better you.
  6. You can’t expect everyone to like you. You are always going to have haters that can’t stand you and  your always gonna have people you can’t stand as well.
  7. It’s okay to ask for help every now and then, but you can’t expect to have people be there to help you or clean up your messes 24/7. You have to be able to help yourslef too.
  8. Not everyone notices your physical flaws as much as you do. You can’t be so critical of yourself all the time. Nobody is perfect; Not even the airbrushed, photoshoed Victoria Secret models are perfect.
  9. Spend time with the people that mean the most to you. Tell them that you love them even if you have never said it to them before because you never know what tomorrow might being and who might be taken away from you.
  10. Try not to rush to do everything all at once, take your time if you need to.. you’re not superman (or wonder woman).
  11. If you feel stuck and unhappy with how your life is.. DO SOMETHING about it. The longer you sit there and do nothing, the longer you will be stuck in the same place. 
  12. “Why be ashamed to cry, if you’re not ashamed to smile?” They are just the opposits of eachother. Everyone (almost everyone) has emotions and feelings. Don’t feel ashamed to show your feelings and emotions.. showing them does not make you weak.
  13. Don’t say, “I was I was normal.”.. What is normal? What makes a person normal? Every person is unique so don’t be afraid to be yourself.
  14. Mental Illness stigma needs to go.. don’t judge a person based on their mental status or disabilities. Instead get informed, ask questions, do research. I am not longer afraid or ashamed to admit that; Yes.. I am Bipolar and No, I will not scoop out your eyeball with a melon baller. 🙂
  15. You can’t trust everyone that you meet or know (or work with) because some people don’t always have the best intentions. People will stab you in the back, walk all over you, lie to you and throw you under the bus if it makes them look better or if it is benificial to them.
  16. If your gut insticts tell you that something is not right.. maybe you need to look at the situation closer and try to see things from another point of view.
  17. You cannot say. “Yes” to everything.. even if you are a people pleaser. People will take your kindness for weakness. There are times when you just have to say, “No” and leave it at that.
  18. Don’t be afraid of your sexuality, or sexual preffrences. Love who you want to love. Don’t worry about the haters.
  19. Keeping and writting in a Journal well into your late 20’s and up does not make you childish. It has been proven that journaling and writting is a healthy way to release feelings, thoughts and emotions. So write on!
  20. Try not to judge people.. you never know what they have been through, or what they are going through. Sometimes the people with the biggest smiles are the ones who hold on to a great sadness inside.
  21. You are never too old to learn new things! I learn something new almost every single day.
  22. Don’t believe everything everyone tells you.. words get twisted and distorted along the way.
  23. Don’t tell people personal things about yourself unless you are prepared for your personal life to be spread around. There are not many people who can actually keep a secret and not tell a single soul about what was told to them. (example: At work I mentioned that I was color blind and the next things I knew I was unable to see stop lights and unable to drive safely.. Hmm.. I didn’t know that I couldn’t see street lights? Wish someone would’ve told me before I got my permit! :-P)
  24. No matter how much you love or like someone.. there is always going to be times when that person annoys you or that you won’t always see eye-to-eye on everything. That doesn’t make you incompatable.
  25. You don’t need hundreds of friends, you only need 1 or 2 close friends to make you happy.
  26. Holding on to grudges only makes your life harder and more stress filled. Even if it takes time for you to heal from what someone did to you in the past, after awhile you need to let it go and move on.
  27. There IS a such thing as happy tears! (as I found out on my 29th Birthday)
  28. It’s more important to make sure that all your bills are paid first instead of buying an object that you really like or want and then worrying about how to afford your rent.. (a roof over your head is better than the newest pair of shoes!)
  29. Live life to the fullest because you never know when you last on earth is going to come.