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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