Mental Health & Addiction

I have bipolar 2, severe anxiety (generalized, panic, social, and obsessive-compulsive), and alcohol use disorder.  I also have chronic insomnia.

These illnesses have put myself and my family through so much including two hospitalizations, 1 month-long inpatient stay at an addiction treatment center, having to leave many jobs, and so many moments in which I felt as though I couldn’t go on anymore.

I take a lot of medication (buspar, lithium, propranolol, lexapro, haldol, gabapentin, lamictal, and hydroxizine as needed) and magnesium (it helps somewhat with sleep)!  I also take benadryl and melatonin as needed for sleep.

I try to see my counselor when I need to; though I’m not in Kerrville much anymore!

A BIG thing that helps with my mental health is SELF CARE!  See below for more information on this!

This page will share about what bipolar 2 is, how it’s different from bipolar 1, and all about anxiety/panic disorders.  I’ll also discuss the medications that I’m on and how important they are to my health!

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Types of Bipolar Disorder: 1, 2, Mixed, and Cyclothymic, and More

Is Bipolar II Easier to Live with Than Bipolar I?

I’m actually doing really well mentally these days thanks to my good meds, lots of self care, positive self talk and thoughts, and gratitude!

Here are some posts about mental illness/counseling/etc:

Bipolar 2, Severe Anxiety, and Disability

Working Through the Hard Stuff with a Counselor… And Trying to Win Disability

My Anxiety… An Explanation

Check back soon for more posts about mental health/illness!

I talk a LOT about self care.  Through my mental illnesses, hospitalization, addiction, and rehab, I’ve learned that self care is of utmost importance!

What does self care mean?  In simple terms, doing things to make sure you are your best self.  Doing things to take care of YOU so that you can then, in turn, do what you need to for your home, job, family, etc.  It is important to love yourself right where you are and take good care of yourself!

What are ways that I take care of myself?

  • Stay organized
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise (mainly hiking and yoga at this point)
  • Eat healthy with balance
  • Do my Bible study and prayer (though giving myself grace in this area)
  • Focus on gratitude
  • Take my medication correctly
  • Go camping/be outside
  • Play games with my family and/or friends
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Go to AA and do online AA meetings
  • Go to my doctor when I’m scheduled
  • Do things that I enjoy (reading and writing)
  • Meditation using an app
  • Keep the house clean
  • Shower often
  • Bake and cook
  • Drink lots of water
  • Have my yummy coffee just the way I want it
  • Light candles for the season
  • Dim lighting at night and outdoor lighting during the day
  • Music!  Lots of worship and other random bands along with Christmas music during the season

The list could go on and on!

What are some things you do to take good care of yourself?

I went to La Hacienda and spent 27 days there (October 13-November 9, 2016).

My whole life has changed.  I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to go to a treatment center and learn how to become a recovered alcoholic.

Now I am involved in AA (online and a women’s Big Book meeting along with twelve steps and twelve traditions meeting sometimes), meet with my sponsor as needed, talk with her as needed, and I am following the twelve steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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?

Before I went into treatment, I had every single one of these.

What Being An Alcoholic Looks Like… Who I Am Now

Check back for more posts about alcoholism!

Blog Author, Courtney

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