Monday, January 17, 2011

May 11, 2007 HOPE





May 11, 07

What a difference a day makes.  I now have my hope back.  That’s the most important thing to me … that I at least feel like I have some possibilities.

For such a long time I did not feel this.  I now have come to understand some of the feelings I have had during my lifetime.  I love the feeling of hope, it creates so many possibilities.

I’m sitting outside on the porch again, no cigarette in hand (yet  ... I will sneak some in later when the boys are gone because I do not like to follow rules that don’t make sense, are not harming anyone, and because I need to feel I have some control and am not being controlled.)  I have always been this way.  I’ve always questioned authority.  I feel we have to.  Where would our world be if we just silently followed every rule that was made because some powerful person made it?  Women would not have the vote, blacks would have to ride in the back of the bus … anyway get the point.

I know it would be difficult for someone reading this to see my side about this smoking thing, because after all it is so taboo.  But I certainly would never again smoke in someone’s house again, unless they allowed me too.  This was my biggest sin. 

I can understand making sure there are no butts around outside or dirty ashtrays, but I think this new is rule is unwarranted.  Trivial in the whole scheme of things.  If I want to kill myself smoking that’s my right.  I don’t enjoy having this addiction, just like I don’t enjoy not being able to drink, or having bipolar disorder, but smoking is the hardest one for me to give up.  I guess I’m stuck with the bipolar.

I think my first “manic” episode may have been partly due to being on Zoloft.  My doctor recommended this drug in order to help me quit smoking and also to help with the depression I was feeling after my separation.  Happy and no longer being a smoking pariah of society could be just the perfect cocktail for me, or so I thought.   

Not long after taking this drug I began feeling very energetic and the world looked like a totally different place to me.  I was now excited about the prospect of living on my own and was passionate about decorating the very first place I have ever lived on my own.   I was proud of myself for quitting smoking during this stressful period and this had given me much needed self esteem.    However, I have heard that my siblings thought I was acting strange.

My Dr. thought differently.  He had treated me for depression.  I was doing so well for three years and had never been so happy and healthy in all my life.

Now I want to get that back.

I am going way off topic here … scattered thoughts (another thing to worry about?)

Yesterday.

Well I sat out on the porch and didn’t go into the house unless I had to relieve myself and to empty the dishwasher.  I left for my group therapy session, which coincidently was about anger.  Great timing!

I had a few things to say for sure.  At this point I was shaking I felt so upset.

Here are a few things I learnt in this session.

  • We are allowed to feel angry.  In fact, it’s very healthy to feel angry.  Letting those feelings build up inside of you (and I suspect that may be some of Dave’s problem) is not.
  • We are allowed to ask that our needs are met and the other person is allowed to say no.
  • We need to set boundaries.
  • Depression is a sign of anger turned inwards.
  • Anger is socially accepted in men but not in women.  Women are perceived to be a bitch, a c..nt, un-lady like, etc. while men are looked at as powerful, a good leader, confident, etc.

I explained my situation to the group.  Avril, the therapist who led the group, said that anyone who gets so angry over those little things must be a very unhappy person.  (I once asked Dave if there was anything that would make him happy, and he said nothing ever makes him happy).

Also, she mentioned that help that comes with so many conditions is not help, it’s a contract.

Now I feel compassion for Dave.  I couldn’t understand why so many little insignificant things get his goat, not only with me but with the whole wide world.

I love Dave.  He has been more than good to me.  He is like a brother.  Everyone has their issues and I certainly have mine!  I also understand that it’s now time to leave.  It’s not fair for me to put this burden on them and it is not fair for me to be treated this way.

From the beginning I did not want to stay here because I was worried it would affect our friendship, but was talked into it.  Living with a bipolar individual, who also has alcohol problems, must be very difficult.

So, I’ve made the decision to definitely go back ``home`` and live with my parents.  Their love is unconditional and also I think they will feel relieved to see that I am actually strong and well.

I resisted drinking yesterday, even though I know we are not expected to be clean and sober until one week before the in-house treatment begins.
 
One day at a time.

Learning to set boundaries also came in handy yesterday.  I realize that people can think what they want, but I don’t have to hear it.  Words are damaging.  Tom and I were discussing the situation, civilly this time but then he started commenting on how he thought I was running away again, and  how I was making a mistake by going back home, and I was doing this because it was easy, and a few more negative comments about my general makeup.  I stopped him before he got too far and said that right now I do not want to hear any negative things about me.  I’m on shaky ground and it’s important to feel positive.  Also, I would prefer that he not give me advice.  All this advice makes my head spin, and I am not to listen to advice, because as they make it very clear in our therapy sessions, it is our recovery no one else’s and only we know how we want to handle it and what is best for ourselves.

The problem with advice also I have learnt on my own, is that when we don’t follow it the other person often becomes angry.

There is a difference between really, and I mean really needing help, to giving advice on what you should do for a living, and that kind of thing.  Ideas or comments fine, but not what you should do.  Who in the world likes to be told what to do?

I have talked to my Mom and she would be very happy to have me home because she enjoys my company no matter what.  So plans are underway.

I’ll talk to the sisters and see if I can be a gypsy again and go visit them until the residential program begins. Then I am off to Montreal.

Tom and I both agreed it may be a little too stressful to keep on going this way.  And if anyone thinks I am a lazy good for nothing, go a head, just don’t tell me.

My parents and I think this is a good move and that is all that matters in this equation.

Oh, just remembered my dream last night, I saw a ring on a table because I left my glass by mistake on it, I swear to God….

Now for the other thing that is making me hopeful, who do I get a call from, right when I am in the middle of discussing my dilemma in group, but my CAMH buddy, Claudia?  I think my phone has rung a half dozen times in the last year.

So me being me I thought, after our long conversation that evening, that this surely is fate.

We have only been in touch once since our CAMH days (October, 2005) and right from the beginning we became fast friends.

Claudia is much younger than me but she is one of those people I immediately clicked with because we have so much in common, being bipolar just one of them.


May 12, 07

Today I am sitting out on the back balcony, sneaking a smoke with drink (vodka and O.J) instead of coffee.  I am self medicating again, a very common occurrence for anyone who suffers from any type of mental disorder.

Of course I am feeling like the biggest, most ungrateful, sinner in the world, but right now that can’t stop me.

I didn’t get to finish my journal entry yesterday because I was just feeling too emotionally drained after talking to my sister, Janet yesterday (another conversation I do not want planted in my brain) , and also because I decided I really, really needed to chill out or I was going to go over the deep end.

It feels like weeks since I have had a decent nights sleep.  I finally had a good one last night and am wondering if this is because I self medicated again and was able to push aside all the anxiety I feel.

I am still feeling hopeful though, because that is also what drinking does for me.  It gives me the ability to feel hope.  But I also realize this is definitely not the answer, and when I felt sober hope about my life I much preferred that.  Until Thursday, I had three weeks of this so I am looking forward to finding some peace that is not in a bottle.

Ok, for the Claudia part.  I immediately called her when I got back from Group Therapy.  She sounded like I sometimes feel, that she really needed someone to talk to.  Someone who could understand what she is currently going through.   I’m also beginning to understand how important this is.  We are all a unique group, like alcoholics, divorced parents, people dealing with cancer, or any of the other thousands of bad things that we may or will encounter sometimes in our lives. 

Buddha says the first lesson is that we will suffer. 

So Claudia tells me all the things that have been going on in her life, and some have not been so fun; like waking up strapped to a bed in some strange hospital. 

She is looking for a good therapist that will listen to her, instead of handing her a pill that just causes her side effects.  She is trying to go this route through proper diet, exercise, vitamins, etc.  There is definitely something wrong with our medical system when all they will pay for is the visit to the P.D. who spends 15 minutes with you writing out a prescription, but doesn’t pay for the drugs we are told we must take, or what we actually do need, a good therapist.  I have not gone to one because spending $100 a week on top of the $300 a month for drugs is just not in my budget.

After Doug left me and I was so despondent that I lost 30 lbs in a matter of a few months, didn’t sleep, and all I could concentrate on were self help books, I was going to see a therapist on a regular basis and with her help and the help of my Dr.Arani, I blossomed.  That is the only word I can think for it.  I had my life in so much order (my order anyway  ... it definitely wasn’t what everyone thought I should be doing (oh another story) but I was never so happy in my entire life.  Life was bliss for me.  There were times when I was just so thankful and awed about all the world had to offer that I wept.  But being bipolar I also have to wonder if this is because I was slightly manic at the time. 

I took a trip to France with my best friend, Lorraine, her partner Robert, and mother for a month and can honestly say it was one of the best times in my life, especially after spending the worst year of my life.  I love to travel, be by an ocean and I still can’t fathom how Barbados looked so unappealing to me when I was finally released from the hospital.  At any other time in my life it would have been paradise to spend as long as I wanted there, but I could no longer see the beauty of this paradise and no one I think could understand how guilty this made me feel.

Oh well, I am getting off track once again.

So to finish my story about why I am feeling some hope, like I said before, me being me, I believe in fate and believing that Claudia called at the most appropriate time imaginable, and I have been toying with this idea for the last couple of weeks;   I really, really do think I or we are meant to write a book. 

There are so many events that have led me to here, and I don’t want to bore anyone,  and I don’t want anyone to think I’m crazy (and I mean this literally) or grandiose, as us bi-polars sometimes are known to be,  but forget what I said in the beginning of this chapter, this story is for you.  I am willing to open myself to any criticism you may have about me.  I am willing to give you the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.  And if by doing this I lose your respect or whatever else I stand to lose, in the long run I honestly think that this just may help the so many of us who are dealing with so many of the same afflictions and those who have to deal with people who are going through these afflictions.

I want to have a voice.  I want to be heard, and so important to me, I would like to help save the world in my own little way (another trait of some people labelled with bipolar disorder).  So why do I think that the telephone call was so fateful.  The reason being, this is also exactly what Claudia has been thinking.  She has the title for the book, and snippets here and there, and right now she is looking for her “voice” (her exact words).  So maybe I will leave the next chapter up to Claudia.  Maybe both of us may make something out of our sorry mess.

Bipolar person of the Day:  Earnest Hemmingway, For Whom the Bells Toll

What to feel grateful for today:   HOPE


LOUIS ARMSTRONG: CABARET



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