November 4, 2011
10a.m. – I finally made the decision to do something about my alcohol abuse and depression. Neither is under control nor do I think they are helping me. So, today was the day I took control and I went online and looked through my insurance’s “doc find” feature. I need help with my depression because self medicating with wine is not beneficial. On the contrary, it’s screwing up my health. My last annual doctor’s visit uncovered high blood pressure. I went back 3 times to get it tested and each time it was high. My doctor told me I need to lose 30 lbs and she gave me 3 months to get started. I don’t want more meds so I agreed to try to make some lifestyle changes.
I know I need to stop drinking alcohol. Overindulging with white wine, mostly on weekends, is a bad habit. It’s counterproductive for my depression and I suspect it is more the reason for my high blood pressure than my weight, although I am about 50 lbs heavier than I should be. I tried to quit drinking by joining an online group called WFS, Women for Sobriety. In addition, I purchased their Beginners Bundle, posted on their boards for support and I even went to 2 face to face group support meetings run by WFS. You could say, I totally immersed myself in the program…I went 11 days without a drink or getting drunk. By day 10, my anxiety was out of this world and I was constantly in a panicked state of mind. Not as in racing heart panic, but in every piece of my life felt out of control and unsettled. I knew only one way to manage the anxiety and that was to have a drink. The drink magically relieved my anxiety and depression but it doesn’t help my high blood pressure, my weight and my sleep habits, concentration, etc. It most certainly does more harm than good.
So, that brings you up to date with how I got here and why I am looking for a therapist. My antidepressant is not doing the trick and I’ve begun supplementing with alcohol. I want to be clear-headed, without anxiety and alcohol free. I recognize that I need help doing it. Not an easy thing for me to admit. If you want to join me in this journey of self-discovery, I welcome you. Please leave any comments.
I found an appealing therapist on the “doc find.” She has a Masters in SW and her RN license; a great combo because she can provide therapy and write prescriptions. Sounds perfect! Her name is Lynn and I called for an appointment. Her receptionist tells me I’ve reached the group practice but she would tell her I was interested in Lynn’s private practice that is closer to my home. I hung up, thinking “maybe she will pass on the message and there’s a small chance the therapist will have openings if and when she calls me back.” I wasn’t holding my breath because the realist in me knows things rarely happen easily. I actually thought, even though I decided to get help with issues in my life, it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I will have time to adjust to the idea of making major lifestyle changes to get myself well. Read between the lines – that means plenty more drinks and bad behavior.
The same afternoon, Lynn returns my call. I am surprised how quickly she called me and I’m not feeling ready. I do want to work on my issues but I also have the weekend ahead of me and I was planning on zoning out with the usual excessive wine drinking to numb the anxieties of the week. Lynn says she only has appointments in the mornings or on Saturdays. I reply that I am free in the afternoons or I could do a Saturday. She says she has an opening tomorrow morning at 9 am. Reluctantly, I take it.
Same Day — 7pm – Friday night and I begin with my usual wine drinking. I tell myself not too much you’ve got that appointment first thing tomorrow. As is typical, I can’t stop at 2 or 3 glasses and drink more than a bottle. I get the usual housework done – laundry, cleaning, and taking care of pets – and then go to bed. Before going to sleep I read some of my old journals. The emotions come tumbling back. Yes, I remember close to ten years ago, taking the first Paxil and then trying others and all of the side effects from the medications prescribed by the psychiatrist. I get nervous just recalling those days but I diligently write down when, what I took and the therapists I saw during that time. As usual, I read a book before turning out the lights. Tossed and turn and can’t fall into a deep sleep. Take an Imitrex for a headache at 10pm and at 1 and 5, I take 2 Tylenol. Worrying about the appointment in the morning keeps me up all night. I’m worried I’ll appear crazy. Worried I could be exposing a vulnerability that will get me institutionalized. Unfounded and unrealistic.
I must let this fear go — Truthfully, how will my life be any different tomorrow? Exposing weakness will not change my life or who I am. What’s wrong with me that I become so anxious with the idea of someone knowing about my depression and dependence on alcohol? Why am I so paranoid???