Monday, January 17, 2011

May 19, 2007 GOD WINKS

May 19

I slipped yesterday, two ways.  I didn’t write in my journal and I also drank.  I am going to forgive myself for both and hope that anyone who is reading this can also do the same.

I also hope they can forgive me for drinking again today, because I know after today, I have to keep the promise I made to myself to not have a drink until my life is completely in order.  And by the looks of things this may just take a very long while.

What I am finding it hard for me to forgive myself for is worrying my parents and Lorraine.  I am so sorry I talked to them yesterday, after having a few drinks.  I think perhaps I was too honest with them and that they may not be ready to “hear” properly what actually is going on.

So today I am finishing typing up this journal, or this weekend anyway and sending it out because sometimes I do think things may make more sense to others it they are left alone to ponder it instead of discussing it.

There is not one iota of anything but the truth, the whole truth, so help me God or at least how I see the truth.  The rest is up to your own opinion. 

What happened yesterday?

Well I had been alcohol free for the last week, and honestly was feeling strong and hopeful.  I had no intention at all of drinking even though I knew I would be alone at Dianes and Brian’s.  I didn’t even realize it was a long weekend until yesterday, so I guess I have had a great many things on my mind.

Got on the computer and was determined to finish typing this out because for some reason I have this need to get everything out and on the table before I go into rehab.

As Louise wrote in an email to me “no more secrets”.  I will also send this to her.

It was my one on one counsellor session day.  I had an appointment with Avril for 2:00 p.m. and had to leave  at 12:00 in order to be on time.  I arrived at exactly 1:57

I had been forewarned that this was not to be an easy session and to be nice to ourselves afterwards.  Though I don’t think that she meant by going out and having a few drinks.

I must also admit that I was feeling very on edge for some reason … too much happening in such a sort time span I assume.  I guess I am allowed to feel this way after everything that’s happened in the last few weeks.  My life is changing and in so many good ways, but I have to get over the hill to get where I want to be.

I have been allowing myself some acts of kindness and not putting pressure on myself to organize everything.  But perhaps I should because those are the things that sometime weigh on my mind.  I really should empty those green garbage bags and clean up my room.  Diane will get sick and tired of me soon and I don’t blame her.

I should try to get out of the house, other than when I absolutely have to.  Like having to pick up a pack of cigarettes which I will need to do soon because I only have one left.

Off topic once again.  Exhausted once again … and I have been sleeping great albeit on the couch with the TV on.   A bad habit of mine I am glad to have back.

So on with what happened.  Before I left I took my meds and when I looked in the bottle there was an Adivan in it?  How it got there I’m not sure.  Another thing to confess to everyone, I have been known on and off since I was a teenager to steal some Adivan from my Dad’s stash.  He only takes ½ a pill when needed but it has been around as long as I can remember.  Why I needed to take these as a teenager is something I gather will come out more when I go through the program.  Avril and I discussed this yesterday.  Along with many, many other things that I feel are important for me to write down and were also difficult to bring up.

Anyway it was staring me in the face so I couldn’t resist taking it.

It helped me relax.  Diane dropped me off at Chapters, one of my favourite stores.  I was looking for the book “Touched by Fire” by Kay Redfield Jamison, because one of my “jobs” now is trying to understand how a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder thinks.  There are just too many similarities to ignore.

Often I have gone into a book store and have been drawn to a book that I have felt after reading “someone is trying to guide me somewhere”.  “When the student is ready the teacher will come”, I think Buddha said this?  I have so many stories also with this that are very uncanny.

Yesterday I was drawn to a book called “Beyond Fear  ... A Toltec Guide to Freedom and Joy”, the teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz who also wrote “The Four Agreements”.  I read part of the book on the long journey to my delving into the why’s of what I do.

There are many “God winks” once again that are making me see so many patterns.   I  took a trip to Mexico and became very interested in the Mayans and Mexican heritage.  I have always meant to get all my stories out about this very strange week, and will one of these days.  But these will be a separate entry because the puzzle is getting clearer and more convoluted at the same time.  Also I need to finish the book before I can make any sense of it.

It’s now after 12:00 noon a more respectable time to have my 2nd drink.  Have my cigarettes now, eaten my Thai soup that Lauren and I ordered last night.  I had a very pleasant evening with the triplets, but I will keep these details for the end.  I would like to end this entry on a positive note.

So now I guess it is time to bring up some of the horrors of my past and not so horror things that are lurking in my mind and I have kept many of them hidden from myself for just too long.  I think now that perhaps we have to get over the past in order to get to the future.

One thing I am confused about right now is how having bipolar ties into how I have led my life??

First thing, I would like everyone to know is that my life has had many highs and a few lows and in the long run the highs outweigh the lows by far.  I’ve been very lucky in my life and have felt and seen so much.

I’m worried to write about some of the things I’m going to write about.

I’m worried I will hurt someone’s feelings.  I’m worried you will not believe how honest I’m being.  But I promised at the beginning or the end of the first chapter I would keep no secrets. 

So Avril and I go through the forms and I start answering questions.

She also has a disdain for the medical community and told me she often is disliked by Dr.’s because she dares speak her mind and that Dr.’s do not know everything.  She can not get over what my P.D.’s advice was for me. 

We discussed many things in our session, so what I am about to tell you will be in chronological order of my life, not word by word.  We spent a long time talking.  Yes there are professionals out there who will listen!

Now this is the really touchy part for me and Avril understood why I felt like a traitor to say that maybe for me my childhood wasn’t all that rosy.

The first thing, I want to tell you and especially my Dad is that there are times and most of the time since the last past 5 years that I have come to realize that he is one of the best persons I know who walks on this earth.  He is compassionate, kind and sometimes very insightful.   I am lucky to be his daughter.  And I’m not the only person who thinks this way.  What happened to shape me was nothing that could be avoided.  It was circumstance.  There is no parent on earth who never makes a mistake and also no one in this world who doesn’t have some kind of baggage left over from their own childhood.  My father had his.  Recently he told us that he and his brother had been abused by Catholic priests.  And despite this he is one of the most non-judgmental individuals I know.

My father sees the best in everyone.  However, sometimes he has a difficult time voicing this, especially when it comes to his own family.  But I have learnt over time that I don’t need to hear the words in order to know what he feels. 

As a child I so much wanted approval and praise.  I could never ask for this because my makeup at the time was to be quiet and try to be the good little girl.

I was the oldest of five kids that were born practically one after another.  My Mom had me at 17 and my Dad was 22.  Babies, having babies.  In my whole life I have never heard either of them complain that their youth was taken away from them and they had responsibilities that no one should have at such a young age.

I have been told this over and over again by all of my friends that we were a very rare family because of how close we all were.  We were one of the few lucky families that understood what family is about.

Being the oldest my father use to tell me that he had higher expectations from me because I was to set the example.  If I got a B+ it should have been an A.

I was not a child with many friends or very outgoing.  But I did love to read and dream.  I read book after book.  I use to read a book a day.  I guess this worried him because I remember so clearly he once took my book from my hands and threw it and told me I was lazy.  Maybe I am.  I have also recently been told this.

We had difficult times when I was a teenager.  I became very rebellious.  We both loved to argue and debate and I still do.  I would love to argue some more with him but for some reason we called a truce and have not been able to have a true open conversation since.

I also remember at times he was embarrassed with me.

We were on our first ever big vacation, flying to Vancouver on a 747.   Not long before one of the biggest plane crashes in history had occurred in Dorval on takeoff,  just miles from where we lived, killing all passengers on board.  Janet, my sister,  had ridden in an elevator with a girl who was on her way to the airport.  She had been given the gift of going to visit her sister in Toronto because she had done so well in school.  She died in this plane crash.  It took me many years to get over my fear of flying. 

We were at Auntie Judie’s I think, and my dad yelled at me for being a “pig”.  These are so little inconsequential things but for some reason it really hurt me.  I loved to eat.  When I was a baby I once ate a whole bunch of bananas.  Can you believe after this my Mom has told me I ate a whole plate of spaghetti.

So many memories surfacing, most of them good or funny.  Like the time I got a hold of my mother’s birth control pills.  They were packaged in a dial pack.  I guess I thought they were candy and ate all of them.  Mom was sick with worry and called the Dr. and he said “Well I guess you don’t have to worry that she’ll get pregnant”.

Or how about that Halloween when all the candies were hidden in the top of the cupboard and it was my idea to get the rest of us in on the plan and get to those candies.  So we got a chair and took all the bags down and proceeded to eat most of the contents.

When my Dad got up he was so angry.  It was the only time in my life I got a spanking.  We were all sent to bed for the day too.  Only Roger wasn’t punished because he was still a baby.     

We were for the most part unscathed.   Even though we did not have much money we never lacked for anything.  We were a blessed family.

Our house was a party house with lots of liquor and singing and good times.

Sometimes my parents had arguments.  This frightened me.  I remember my mom going to the movies for a day and I was sure she left us for good. 

I only recently found out that when Mom took Diane and me out west she was upset with my father.  I know now that I understood this at the time but I have never allowed myself to think about it because it was just too traumatic to think that our whole family could fall apart.

But we didn’t.  They have weathered storms with all of us and lately with me.  And all I can think to write is that at 48 yrs old I am running away to the place I want most … home … to my Mom and Dad who have stood by us no matter what.

This will be a very long journal entry.  I hope you can all bear with me.  For some reason I don’t think many men will want to read this.  But I will leave my reasoning for why later, because honestly sometimes I just do not understand men.

And I guess this is a good lead in to the second part of my life.

Young Adulthood

Despite being happy at home my sisters and I were eager to leave the nest at an early age.

My parents never dissuaded us, partly I think because we ended up going back home every weekend anyway.

We all learnt to be independent at a very early age and I think this is a great thing to be.  This is why it is so difficult for me not to have my independence now.

I left home when I was 18.  I had been working in a full time job in the fashion industry (my heart’s desire at the time) since I was 15.

I was secretary to President’s of companies or owners of companies at a very young age.  So just in case anyone thinks I am lazy, I worked steadily, from the time I was 15 until the time I was 42.  I did my office stint and have absolutely no desire to get back into the business world, which I have come to have so much disdain for.  What I have been privy to over this period would enlighten people about what makes a person succeed in business.  I have worked for the biggest and the greediest. 

Just poured my 3rd drink.

This Lizard Lightening, Peach, Mango flavoured beverage, with a blend of ginseng, wolfberry and guava is pretty good with Vodka.

So on to the 2nd chapter of my life.  The chapter I am not so proud to tell.

Well this chapter involves the Montreal scene in the 70’s.  The Disco era, cocaine and partying.  It was my wild time. 

Montreal was where it was at, at the time.   The bar scene was where I felt either my self-confidence or un-confidence. 

I would work all week and on Thursday it was girl’s night to go out on the town.  We only had Friday to worry about getting through the day.  But we were young and had lots of energy so it never interfered in our lives.  Or so we thought.

I look back now and realize I too, like my Mom and Dad, was a baby.  I was into a scene that probably was not the most healthy one for me, but then again, if I didn’t follow this path perhaps I would never have ventured through other paths that I have been meant to venture through?

There are some things I think we will never come to know.

I’m not sure what point I want to get across other than I slept with a lot of men.  And being brought up Catholic, sleeping with a lot of men, who for the most part gave me little enjoyment, made me feel like the biggest sinner in the world. 

On top tof he guilt I felt for sleeping with an attractive man who showed affection towards me … (this is why I would sleep with them, I was looking for affection) I have also had some experiences that were brought up yesterday that have been damaging to my self worth.  Some more so than others.

We look at rape or date rape and think that this is not a usual occurrence.  We have statistics, but I bet you women hide most of them because to admit to these things is very difficult.  Not to mention how difficult it is to do anything about it.  We are made somehow to feel guilty about it, like somehow it’s our fault that we let ourselves be put into this circumstance.  That is what I have done anyway.  And from talking to many women I am not the only one. So if anyone out there thinks this is not a huge rampant issue I beg to differ.

Were all these men scum of the earth?  Were all of them supposed to be locked in a prison cell?  I really, really don’t think so.  I think we have just ignored some problems with society.  Women are seen as pleasure vehicles for men.  I read “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger, and it made me understand art, and also how we have not changed in centuries.  Look at our advertising, look at how they have portrayed women since the beginning of time.  Women have not changed enough and I feel we are going even more backwards.  If before writing this section I didn’t understand why most men would not like to read this journal, I am starting to understand now.

We can all think of a hundred and one more traits on how we could be judged but when it comes down to it, we are mostly judged on our looks, and for some reason I can not think this is fair and after reasoning some more I can not think of why we have allowed this.

Anyway, as far as looks during this period of my life, it was something I should have not been concerned about, but I was, even though I was often told that I was very pretty.  It was too late.  I had gone through childhood being ridiculed about my weight, no where near what anyone, I realize now, would call fat, or unhealthy.  When I lost the baby fat I became an object of desire and all of a sudden very popular.   I said this before... I am saying it again, what a shallow world we live in if we can only admire people who are physically attractive.

I guess I am spewing again.

Thank God I have three days to get this all out.

So men were attracted to me.  But as I was to find out, and also by how hurt I was to feel, only for one reason and that was sex. 

Well this wasn’t what we talked about; we talked about the really “bad” incidences.  We talked about the times that sex was physically put on me.  There were two incidences, where through shear street smarts and will power I got away.  That, you don’t need to hear all the gory details of.   Just remembered another huge one and this was my soon to be brother-in-law - this one I feel so guilty to even bring  up – and it was in the past when we all made so many mistakes – and he has long been banished form our lives.

So I’ll tell you about the one that has impacted me the most and that was probably the most “innocent” one.  A friend of Lorraine’s ex called me one Friday evening asking me if I would like to go out on a date.  We planned to meet at his house.   I now think there was no intention of going out.  We had some drinks.  Before I knew it he was on top of me and it was all over with.  All I can remember vividly was his breath.  It smelled like salami.  When I told Arvil this story she mentioned to me that I looked away.  Anyway to make a bad story even worse he went around bragging about how I was such an easy lay.  Lorraine once asked me why I slept with him.  It’s one incidence that makes my blood boil.  I go through this and am made to feel guilty about it, even by my best friend. Having had to defend myself is something I found hard to bear.

Yes I did sleep around and every time I did I was so worried that God would punish me for this so when I contacted herpes I  honestly thought I deserved it.  I was a sinner and this was payment for my sins.

I have never once since the first initial outbreak, and who even knows if I had it, had any signs of a reoccurrence.  Though all my life I have stints of cold sores on my mouth, even in my nose, but these are more socially acceptable.

At the time, though I believed that I was so unclean, unlovable, an untouchable for life;   I honestly thought no one could ever possibly love me.  I was doomed to a life of no sex, therefore no love.  I was a mess.  After this I was to go through a slight depression.  Now I realize that is what happened. 

Of course, I could not tell a sole of this to anyone other than Dr. Glick, who I had come to trust.  He asked me if I would be interested in contributing to a study about it.  I did but never heard any more about weather or not I actually had it or what the findings of the study were.

Well if you want to stop sleeping around get this kind of scare in the 70’s.  There was so much derogatory press on it. 

So this brings me to the 3rd chapter of my life.

I’m living with this huge secret.  I’m 22 years old and am only praying to God that I can live for another ten years (so help me God, this was the way I was thinking).  I was an untouchable.  I was unable to breathe a word of this to anyone.  So this was my huge devastating secret.  I was a bad girl and God was doing what he should do and making me pay for my sins.

I met Doug one evening when I was downtown with Lorraine.  He was sober at the time.  Doug can be very charismatic and has a wicked sense of humour.

He asked me for my phone number, and I gave it to him.  I was not attracted to him but I did not know how to say no.

He called and asked me for a date.  He brought me to one of my favourite restaurants in Montreal, Gibby’s.  He was nervous and so funny (he really does have one of the best senses of humour that I have ever known – he is not a bad guy).  We talked and talked.  I drank wine and he ended up drinking wine even though he had told me that he was an alcoholic.  He says thought that he can handle wine (oh so little I knew).  He is smitten with me and most importantly I see now, there were so many Godwinks between us.  And this was long before I even knew what the term meant.  It ended up that we were brought up in the same area.  I know this is no great coincidence.  Also, consequently we knew many of the same people.  He had been a good friend with a brother of an ex-boyfriend of mine.  So we reminisced about our little part of the world but the biggest God wink was that just that week I had gone to an interview and had been offered a job by his brother. 

I had just turned down the job because it was in an area of Montreal that was considered unsafe.  To this day, I am involved with his brother and my soul sister, his wife Ginger!

And if you don’t now think that maybe Godwinks are there for a reason just keep on reading my book, because I have had so many of them in my life and because I have read about so many people who look at these incidences as being a learning tool for us, and despite everything that has happened in the last few years I am not going to give them up and think that there is no higher power directing us.  So the next time you do encounter a Godwink, I really do hope you will analyze it and also maybe you will think that what many of us know, these things come in  toour lives for a reason.  You may not find out the reason immediately, it may even take years, but when you look back you can see a connection. 

I have written so much today.  I’m on my 3rd drink.  I’m feeling like I should give myself a break but I’m also driven for some reason to continue on until I get to the end of what has happened so far.

I have this feeling that I have to get my voice out there.  I so want all of you to understand that I am not manic.  Perhaps I became so called “manic” because so many of the things that I am feeling now I felt then.  And when everyone looked at me like I was “crazy” I though I was crazy?

But I do need to continue on with the 3rd part of my life.

So Doug wined and dined and hit me a few times and I had so little self-esteem that when I finally told him the truth (I had herpes) and he told me that this was nothing compared to what he had gone through in his life (and though he has never said it, I know he has had a lot of bad knocks that I have not heard about .. horrible things with his father … though he does have a mother who I so dearly love),  I did not break off with him, no matter what he put me through.  He had a lot of reasons for becoming who he had become, and I’m sure some of the reasons were the secrets he never did tell me.

When Doug still loved me no matter what, I though he was my saviour.  I will put up with whatever because I confessed, told the truth, and he was able to handle the truth.

So this, besides many, many other reasons is why I stuck by him, despite some of the turmoil I was to encounter.  Like I said before, they did not call him Dangerous Doug for nothing.  So I lived for 20 years with him, most of them good, some of them bad, but most of them never boring, with a man who did not make love to me, who I could not trust, who woke me up in the middle of the night so he could be reassured that I would never leave him, who I probably would never have left until he left me.   Should I feel guilty about this too, because I do? Because I can not believe I had so little self-esteem that I allowed this to happen.  I know this was my fault, not Doug’s.  I was the one who stayed; he was the one who left! 

Well Doug now has a different life, and I must say from what I have been hearing that I’m also a little proud of him.  I did not stay with someone for 20 years for nothing.  And despite all his past record (his police report is pages and pages long) I have compassion for him.  Would I ever want to be back there?  No thanks.  This part of my life is over with.  I learnt what I needed to.

So I lived with Doug for 20 years, one turmoil after another.  Strange how this kept me out of turmoil.  So when he left me my life turned upside down because I no longer had to look after anyone but myself.

Now onwards to the 4th cycle of my life

My 4th drink soon too.  I will sleep well after this.  I am exhausted but I so much want to go forward so I can’t end it here.

The cycle I am now in.

The only thing I can think is this.

“They were the best of times; they were the worst of times.”

Perhaps this is the most difficult time to write about because I am still going through it and the end is not in site.

Well let’s look at it.  I’m sitting in Diane’s bedroom, smoking cigarette after cigarette, drinking, drink after drink.  Does not sound too promising to me.

But I have this strange, optimistic feeling that this is the end to a cycle.  A cycle that has given me some the best times of my life and some of the worst.  I can honestly say though that I would not trade them.

This is the cycle that has made me learn the most.  This is the cycle that has made me feel the most.  The most pain and the most joy.  One of my all time favourite movies is Steel Magnolias.  There is a part where Julia Roberts says “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special".

This is the way I feel.  For so long I turned off my emotions.  How many of us do this?  But I survived that year of depression.  It made me strong.  I’m so very proud of myself for being able to start over.  To have found a home, that included friends, to have tried out my passions.... something not easy to do and to admit that perhaps this is not the right direction for me... to be unafraid, to get my life in order, to look my best, to follow my dreams in spite of nay sayers and despite them not coming true.  I am so proud of myself for taking these risks and when they didn’t work out as I planned go on to the next risk.  I am so proud of myself for going through so much and still being able to look at the glass as half full and to be able to keep humour in my life.  I am so proud of myself for not just sitting there and allowing myself to wallow in self pity.  I am so proud of myself for now knowing that keeping secrets is not a good thing and for being 100% honest, upright and forward.  I am so proud of myself for knowing that I may lose some friendships, respect, and whatever else I stand to lose but I am still about to go along with my journey even though it is what I worry about most.

My counsellor asked me what are my strengths and I said this.

I am intelligent
I am a good person
I am strong
I am able to take whatever has happened to me in the past and use it as a learning tool

She told me I was also very insightful.

She told me “Lesa, every time you have a feeling you can not handle on your own I want you to go and talk to your counsellor about it”.

She told me I am putting you at the top of the list.  The next vacancy is mine.

She told me indirectly that there are very good reasons I do what I do.

She told me that my agenda of having made a promise to myself not to drink until I had my life in order was a good one.  In fact her agenda originally for me was not to drink until I understood what were my triggers. She is wise. She deals with people like me all the time.  She knows that what is best for me is what I think is best for me.

She also told me that there is a good chance that I will be in the next session.  I am the first one on the list … is this a good thing or a bad thing?  So I can not have another drink now because those are the rules and those rules I will follow.

Ok that’s enough for one day.  There is still so much to get out.

Bipolar person of the day:  Patty Duke

What to feel grateful for:  MY COUNSELLOR, AVRIL

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