Friends. If you don’t know my story, I will share it briefly here… I have a long history of anxiety. I didn’t know that that’s what I was suffering with until I went to a psychologist right out of high … Continue reading
Routine. It’s so necessary for my mental health. While I try really hard to implement it during the summer, it’s not built in so it’s hard. I tend to stay up too late. Sleep too late. Sit around drinking coffee … Continue reading
I wrote a piece for Juggling the Jenkins blog. If she chooses it, it will go on the blog and in her new book. We’ll see! I thought I’d share it here because it’s a short version of my story. … Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Truth is, I have been struggling (still).
I don’t know if it’s my thyroid (I just started meds for it) or the hydroxyzine that my psychiatrist put me on, but I’m just sleeping all of the time. Also my friend suggested that maybe I am depressed and I think that’s true, as well, to an extent. And my cough has been there still, which is so annoying. My doctor told me that it’s just allergies and gave me a nose spray and Tessalon Pearles. I’ve also been taking Mucinex DM. It helps some, but when it wears off, my cough comes back in full force. There’s also a chance that it could be viral.
I have had no desire to clean, I’ve struggled to be fully present for Karis; Robert has been doing dishes, dinner, and laundry when he gets home from work.
I’ve also been struggling deeply with obsession about alcohol. I had been doing sooooooo well until this week. It hasn’t left me alone. I went to Rocksprings Tuesday by myself and went to the store for a few things. I kept walking by the wine and staring at it. Remembering the wine that I used to drink, feeling the relief that I felt at the beginning of drinking it (not thinking of how bad I felt at the end of the day), and finding a wine that isn’t in a bottle that I could easily buy a bunch of and hide. I was feeling desperate. Luckily I walked away and texted my sponsor when I got home. I talked with Robert and he reminded me that I’m okay. I will be okay. I just need to take good care of myself. I wrote about it on Facebook for accountability (I know, most people don’t share about that on FB but I do).
I’ve been doing a lot of AA meetings on In The Rooms. I want to do more in person but it’s so hard with where we live. Honestly the online meetings are just as good! And I can do multiple a day if I need to.
I’m taking it one day at a time. I’ve read and heard that coming up on a year is really hard. I have a couple of friends that are struggling who I met in the treatment center.
An alcoholic is always an alcoholic. The possibility to drink is always there. All we can do is take it minute by minute and day by day. It has been pretty easy lately until this week so I’m hoping that it’ll get easy again.
I saw my doctor on Monday to discuss my blood work, symptoms, and my cough. She was so great… she was concerned, listened to me, and did a thorough exam. She came to the conclusion that my cough is most likely from allergies based on the fact that my lungs and heart sound great, and I have bad drainage. She gave me Tessalon Pearles and a nose spray to clear the drainage. So every day I take Mucinex DM, the Tessalon Pearles, the nose spray that she prescribed, and Flonase. I feel okay when I stay on top of all of this but when it wears off the cough comes back. And I have a slight cough even with all of that. The cough has lasted about 2 months so far and is wearing on me.
I told her about my symptoms and she said that with my TSH number and symptoms she is diagnosing me with hypothyroidism. She put me on Nature Throid which I was thankful for because I have had bad side effects from synthetic thyroid meds.
She also put me on cholesterol meds because I have been on it before and it worked with no side effects. It’s in my family so changing my diet and exercising did nothing in the past.
I’m on sooooo many meds and supplements.
Night meds and supplements
I have continued to end my day listening to Serenity Spa Music and lying next to my diffuser with essential oils. I take baths when needed. I meditate sometimes (though I don’t do this often enough).
I still feel so distant from God (I have talked about this in the past). I haven’t been leaning into Him like I want to. I miss Him. I do spend some time in worship and that’s helpful. We will be going back to church again in a few weeks, and I think that’ll help so much!
I have been asking Karis constantly if she would go back to school. I have been so worried that she will suffer because I am struggling. But she has begged me to stay home. I then considered the online public school, but I changed my mind after talking with people about it. It’s super difficult and intense. Plus she would still have to test, which is why she struggles so much in school as it is. So we have landed right where we were. She is pretty independent and helping her some actually helps me. It gives me some purpose and something positive to do. She has been doing well these past few weeks.
Anyway, this is a scattered update. I will hopefully come back with a more positive post next time, but this is life with mental illness (bipolar 2, depression, and severe anxiety), alcoholism, and now hypothyroidism (high cholesterol has no symptoms).
Yesterday was a fantastic day. Robert didn’t work. He’s not home often right now. There are so many projects going on here at camp. Things should slow down soon, and we are taking a few trips this summer.
We cleaned up the house, Robert worked on our Xterra a bit, then we went to town so Robert could buy some things for camp.
We went to Sonic for ice cream, went to the park (a new one that we hadn’t tried before), and went to a book store that we had never been to before.
The kids played on the little kid stuff at the park :-). Haha.
The book store that we went to gives 75% off the cover price if you bring a book to trade (I didn’t know this so I paid 50% off the cover price). You have to bring kid books to buy a kid book. But we have a lot that we won’t read. I think we’ll plan to let the kids pick out a book each time that we go into town. This will give them something to look forward to and maybe the boys will enjoy reading more (well, Levi enjoys it already but Ethan pretty much hates it). Levi started reading one of his Star Wars books right away and is several chapters in. It blows me away that he can read and comprehend books that are written for older kids. Karis actually struggled with reading until she got a little older (now she’s on like an 8th grade level). Ethan has always struggled (and still does). So for Levi to be in first grade (well, just finished) and able to read big chapter books blows me away. He’s also really good at math. And spelling. Things just come easy to him! I’m thankful!
I didn’t get Karis any books because she has a LOT of books that she loves (the boys don’t), and I just didn’t see any that she would enjoy.
We also got stuff for s’mores and hot dogs at Walmart.
When I went to Walmart to get the stuff for s’mores, I had to walk by the cases of beer (cause grilling, fires, s’mores, and beer all goes together). I looked closely at my Blue Moon that I used to drink. I had a fleeting thought of how nice it was when I could drink it and sometimes I miss it. But. I wouldn’t trade where I am today for what I felt like a year ago. I’ve had anxiety lately but it’s nothing like it was a year ago. I had hyperventilation syndrome and I couldn’t breathe right. I had restless legs a lot. I had terrible insomnia. I would wake up after the alcohol had worn off and couldn’t go back to sleep. Every. Single. Night. I tried everything to be able to sleep. I had an obsession and compulsion to drink and the more I had the more I wanted. It was never enough. I threw up multiple times a week (like I’ve mentioned before). The room spun every night, and I often passed out. Many, many times I woke up wondering if I had done anything that I shouldn’t have (looking at texts, FB messages, and fb posts). I also didn’t remember a lot. Being an alcoholic is ugly and embarrassing. There’s nothing glamorous about it. And statistics show that 15% of people are addicts/alcoholics so I know there are people reading this that are and don’t know it. Or they don’t want to admit it. You can have this freedom that I have with some work! I’m 228 days sober today and I take it one day at a time!
We ended the night with a fire in the fire ring. We roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. Some neighbor kiddos came and told camp fire stories. It was super cute. The kids had a blast.
Ethan told me yesterday that it was the best day of his life.
I would agree that it was a pretty good day.
This past week was lllooonnnggg. I had bad anxiety and I could barely see past it. I was pretty selfish through it and have had to repair a few things. I’m grateful for the grace of people in my life … Continue reading
I met with my counselor on Monday, and she decided that we needed to do some psychotherapy before we moved on with EMDR again.
We discussed the fact that I have PTSD on top all of my other mess. We discussed the signs of PTSD and how I have many of them. These signs aren’t always there at once, but they are definitely there. She didn’t circle panic because I haven’t been experiencing that lately, but it is something I have struggled with off and on.
We talked about how I can work through my anxiety. And I learned that caffeine greatly affects my anxiety! I had no idea. So I’m slowly working on reducing caffeine which is hard because I love my coffee and Coke Zero. I use it to cope and to not want alcohol so much. I’m so used to drinking something through the day! At the moment I’m at half caff coffee and I’m drinking less Coke Zeros… including some La Croix sparkling waters and plain water in there. I also drink herbal tea at night.
We talked about learning to talk to myself in a more positive way and how important that is to my anxiety. I need to be practicing that right now…
We talked about how to breathe when I’m in the midst of my anxiety. Deep, slow breaths from my belly.
She reminded me to listen to music that brings about positive thoughts. This is a no brainer for me because I mostly listen to praise music and Christian music (Bethel, JJ Heller, Shane and Shane, David Crowder, etc).
She also reminded me how important getting outside and walking/hiking is for my mental health all around. I plan to go for a short hike this afternoon.
I started working with a dietitian on Monday. We met Tuesday and Wednesday via Zoom. It was so great. I have started the program by listening to audios from her, reading lots of things, doing worksheets. Wednesday I started the food log. The point isn’t for her to see “how healthy” I’m eating (I’m learning that food isn’t inherently good or bad), but for her to see how much I am eating and if I am listening to my body. Paying attention to hunger and satiety cues. Processing through how I’m feeling about things. Making sure I’m doing some sort of joyful movement and taking good care of myself. She also thinks I should reduce my caffeine intake for many reasons (just like my counselor). So I’m working on that. Today I had half caff coffee this morning and water with lunch. I ended up having a few Coke Zeros this afternoon, but that’s a start.
Today was a really rough day. I wrote about it earlier in my post Self Pity and Pressing Into Jesus. It only got worse and I got to where I didn’t want to get off the couch. I also had a very strong urge to want to drink. I ended up having get up and moving because I had to pick up the kids. That was the best thing for me. Then, Robert came home and he made me feel so much better. This evening we’re working together to make dinner (fish tacos, black beans, guacamole, and coleslaw).
We also got to talking about what we can do to help me not have days like this. The biggest thing is that I need to be at AA more often. I was planning to do it online but that hasn’t been happening. I need the face-to-face and accountability. I will go at least on Monday and Wednesday… and maybe Fridays. We’ll see. Also, being in town more will help because it will keep me moving and around others. It’s worth the extra cost in gas to make this happen.
129 days ago I hit my rock bottom. I was at my parents, and I planned on not drinking before I went, but that didn’t happen. That Monday I drank a six pack with-in an hour, then drove to the store to get more. Yes, I was already drunk and I drove to the store. I drank another 6 before I went to bed (I drank all of this with-in a few hours). My kids were with me and was I paying any attention to them? Absolutely not. I was paying attention to me, myself, and I. I was paying attention the wanting the next drink (a daily thing). The next day I drank a lot, too, and ended up vomiting in a large bowl next to my bed. You see, this wasn’t an uncommon thing. I knew to get a bowl before it happened, so luckily it didn’t land on my parents’ carpet. Being this drunk was an almost daily thing.
My mom tells me that I had a panic attack that night, but I barely remember it.
In the middle of the night (completely hungover), I was feeling shameful. I couldn’t believe that I had driven drunk and just kept drinking.
I decided I was tired of vomiting multiple times a week because I was drunk. I was tired of the room spinning as I went to bed every night. I was tired of having to sleep on the couch because I couldn’t make it to the bed. I was tired of passing out and not remembering what happened the night before. I was tired of having to check my Facebook in the middle of the night to make sure I didn’t post something I shouldn’t have (or checking conversations with friends). I was tired of not going to camp community events because I wanted to drink OR going to them drunk or buzzed. I was tired of obsessing about my next drink. I was tired of trying to quit drinking and not being able to, which brought on feelings of guilt and shame. I was tired of spending my whole day either hungover or drinking. I was tired of getting up at 10:00 each day (even though I was homeschooling) because I was hungover and dreaded the day ahead. I was tired of being irritable and/or allowing the kids to do anything to get them out of my hair. I was tired of putting them to bed every night hoping they didn’t notice the smell on my breath (um, they saw me drinking all day… I think they knew). I was tired of not being able to be the person I wanted to be because of alcohol. I was tired of being sneaky and hiding alcohol so Robert wouldn’t know that I was drinking.
I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I had been going to a Celebrate Recovery in Fredericksburg, but it wasn’t sufficient. I decided the morning of October 12th that it was time for me to go to treatment. I emailed the leader of the CR and she gave me the names of the local treatment centers. After a lot of work, I got the okay to come into La Hacienda to get checked in.
128 days ago (October 13th) I went into my appointment at La Ha. My life hasn’t been the same since.
It took me a while to finally say the words
It took a lot of learning and understanding what an alcoholic is. Now I can say these words with complete understanding.
Alcoholism is a mental illness. It’s in the mental illness diagnostic book. It’s called Alcohol Use Disorder.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says Alcohol Use Disorder signs are as follows:
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
I had every single one of these signs.
So much has changed. My life looks completely different now.
A few days into my stay there, my case manager made it pretty clear that homeschooling wouldn’t be possible for a while because my whole goal in life would be to stay sober. I have since realized that it’s best for all involved that the kids are in school. It has definitely helped me to stay sober, and it has decreased my anxiety significantly! I was wanting to homeschool and had so much anxiety just thinking about it. That helped me to know that it’s not something I should consider for a long time. I have a lot of work to do still. The kids are thriving more than they ever have.
Since I’ve gotten out, my only goals are to stay sober and take good care of myself. This used to bother me so much, but I have found that I’m a much better mom, wife, friend, and daughter for it. I can’t believe the difference in my parenting since I stopped drinking. I’m a completely different mom! My love for them has grown and my desire to take good care of them/show them how much I love them has grown. And I’m much more attentive to my husband and desire to love him better. I am learning how to understand my emotions, and I’m learning that I need to take care of past trauma that I have been ignoring.
I desire to go to church every Sunday. I desire to spend time in the word every morning. I desire to read to the kids every night and spend quality time with them. I desire to talk to the kids about Christ most days and Ethan and Levi have accepted Him as their Savior!
I love waking up early and getting the day started. I plan my day and stick to it for the most part. The house stays clean and laundry stays caught up. I’m learning to delegate to the kids what they need to do because that’s healthy for them. Our family is just so healthy now!
On another note, I’ve also discovered:
This is intertwined in my self care. I am no longer focused on the next diet, and I’ve become more balanced with my eating than ever before. I am learning to love myself for who I am, even though I’m not at my thinnest. I’m learning to embrace my body for what it is. I’m learning that dieting doesn’t work and there’s no point. I am starting to wear more fun clothes, even if I wouldn’t wear them before because I thought they made me look fat. Just so much change in how I view myself and others.
Probably the biggest thing that I have learned is how to love. Myself and others. I have a new appreciation for the struggles of people and want to love them through those struggles. I pray for people more, I share God’s love, and I accept people for who they are. Many of my new friends from La Ha have dual diagnosis (like me) and need to have lots of self care to stay sober and out of treatment. I pray that through my loving these people that they would feel the love of Christ through me and they would come to know Him or grow closer to Him.
God is love. The end.