Category Archives: depression

Depressed with or without alcohol

I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in over a year and yet I think my depression has returned.

That sucks.

I haven’t changed my medications since I quit drinking either. It’s the same cocktail of Celexa, Wellbutrin and Klonopin that I’ve been taking for at least 2 years.

My husband hates that I quit drinking and got into recovery. Well, at least that’s how I see it. I go to AA meetings now. I talk to my sponsor on the phone. I don’t rely upon him as I did. He is hurt and acts detached or angry, depending on the day.

I hate myself. I feel I’m a burden to my husband because I don’t manage the finances well and I’ve been out of work for a few months. I imagine life would be easier with me gone so he could have his full retirement. He doesn’t have a lot life insurance on me because I’m not the high earner in our household. He could carry on fine without me. Comfortably even. Probably be able to retire in the next 5 years.

I’d like to know if he could meet our budget? He seems to think it’s my choices that cause us to go over each month. I don’t take his criticism well. I get defensive and withdraw.

I wish I could vanish and not deal with life right now.

Therapy session was tough…

This is from my newer blog that chronicles my problem with using alcohol. I drink to hide from my depressive feelings and trying to break the habit is not as easy as I thought.

My Healing Recovery

This is a follow up to my last post regarding being honest about relapsing to my therapist.

Yesterday I had a session with Lynn and, after getting the pleasantries about her vacation and my surgery out of the way, I squirmed uncomfortably on her couch and bluntly said, “I should start by telling you that I started drinking wine again.”

She asked a few questions, the first one, “What day did you have a drink?”

I answered, “May 18th, the last time I saw you before you went on vacation.”

She asked me to tell her about what happened and I dismissively replied, “Who, what, where, when and how don’t matter as much as the why.” She nodded and played along. I say played along because I feel like I was deflecting from the whole truth because I didn’t have the guts to be totally straight forward. I…

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Self-medication and depression

Depression is creeping back in through a side door.  I should have seen it coming.  Even reading my most recent posts on this blog are clues that it was making a reappearance.

Ruminations.  Negative self-perception. Exhaustion even without alcohol.  Hating my husband and my life.

I saw my therapist on Saturday and she raised the Wellbutrin to 100 mg. and lowered the Klonopin to half a 0.5 mg pill.  I continue to take 20 mg Celexa.  Lynn must think my depression is worse and the Klonopin is making me tired.  It’s been 4 days with a higher dose of the SSRI and still not feeling better.  My plan is to continue lowering the Klonopin but since I use it to sleep I fear insomnia so I’m tapering off gradually.

My resolve is down and I am weak right now.  I broke my 100-plus streak of sober days and drank on Saturday night.  It’s odd how I really don’t feel that bad about it.  In fact, I liked the tranquility.  Sad but true, self-medication is what I know when my thinking turns against me.

♥ Daylily ♥

The twisted mind of a depressive alcoholic…

I made a decision to not drink as a way to treat my depression and high blood pressure.  By the looks of things, with over one hundred days sober, you might think I’m doing well.  I’m not.  Every imaginable self-defeating thought bombards me and I can’t get away from my inner critic.  It’s not easy giving up a vice that I used as a way to control the negative thoughts pounding in my brain.  In fact, I really miss drinking wine — it gave me a reprieve from myself.

I’m on-again/of- again with the AA program because I have difficulty looking at my defects and making positive changes.  Tonight the AA meeting was about “making amends” to those I’ve harmed.  Truthfully, I was a boring drunk.  I stayed home and drank quietly before flopping into my bed.  Aside from hurting my husband and kids for not being fully present in mind and spirit, I don’t see a whole lot of damage.  I didn’t call people; I rarely went out when I was drinking so I pretty much kept it hidden from everyone.

The AA meeting got me thinking of what amends to make and this is what my twisted mind came up with.  I stole from my brother’s coin collection when I was younger.  I also totaled the car he was supposed to get from my mother for his college graduation.  This brother did worse crimes to me, sexually molesting me when I was around age 8-11.  He still brings up how valuable his coins would have been if I hadn’t spent them at the penny candy store.  I feel anger and resentment that he has such nerve to bring up what I did to him; but, I also carry regret and shame that I’m guilty of stealing and destroying his things.  Instead of rightfully directing my anger at him, I turn it inward where it can fester and grow into depression.

Do you see my problem?  I’m supposed to make amends to become a more honest person but the amends I come up with are toward a sexual predator.  Isn’t there something wrong with this fucking picture?

This is why I can’t go deep into the AA steps.  I turn against myself; a habit learned long ago when I couldn’t depend on anyone to help me.  At AA meetings there’s a lot of time to self-analyze and berate myself; and no one is qualified to set my thinking straight. This mental work is best done with a therapist and thank god I have one.

It’s late, I’m tired, and I know this post didn’t make a clear point.  It’s a snap shot of how confusing it is to be me, a woman who suffers with depression, alcohol addiction and the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse.

♥ Daylily ♥

Feeling vulnerable without alcohol

Telling Lynn my marital woes didn’t have the desired effect. I thought freeing my pent-up resentments to an objective therapist would help; but, strangely, the opposite happened. I walked in feeling confident and full of self-righteous anger and I left anxious and distraught. My original anger was directed at my husband for choosing the home and town we’ve lived in for 20 years. I was forthright with Lynn, divulging my frustrations. All that sanctimoniousness disappeared when Lynn asked a simple question, “What would your life be like if you had made the choices in your marriage?”

Lynn touched a sore spot and the truth hurt.  Fear crept in and I couldn’t speak of my own needs. Quietly, with eyes cast down, I sullenly spoke, I don’t have goals. If I had things to aspire toward I would be disappointed and let down. With tears and sadness I realize the reason my life is not different is because I haven’t spoken up about my needs or desires. I own the problem in its entirety.

Okay, so let’s get this straight. First my anger is directed at my husband and I see myself as the unappreciated and unloved victim and when that assertion is challenged I retreat to the safety of believing its my fault that my needs are not met.

Which the fuck is it? The answer to that question isn’t as important as how to stop my mind, no matter what the scenario, from arriving at the same conclusions. I constantly blame myself. I either don’t get something because I’m not worthy or it doesn’t happen because I’m weak.

This is hard shit to swallow because I reject either of those things. I stuff this down with my alcohol consumption and rarely do these feelings see the light of day. My wine signifies a glass of straight up denial.

Where do these ideas originate?

The obvious answer is survivors of childhood sexual abuse learn to feel unworthy. I assumed my mother didn’t stop my brother from coming into my room at night because she loved him more. With every nice gesture or favorable event that happened to this brother, I became more certain that he was worthy of good things and I wasn’t. I didn’t speak up about the atrocity that occurred against my prepubescent body; instead I stifled my voice and learned to endure life.

My therapist reiterated that my childhood left behind a belief that no one loves me but she stated, “You are not a child anymore.” She reminded me I have a voice and people around me do care what I want and need.

I wonder why I’m so stuck in my old ways.

I hate myself for turning the entire resentment issue into something bigger than it is. We “depressives” know how to blame ourselves about everything. It’s true my husband makes a lot of the major decisions but the reality is I don’t speak up for myself; I’d rather suffer in silence and allow resentments and anger to fester. How fucked up am I? I’m not a child anymore; what’s my problem that I wallow in self-pity instead of making changes to get things that I want in my life?

So, I pretty much left therapy feeling angry that my husband doesn’t do or care about my needs and, ultimately it’s my own fault because I don’t speak up.

I have always thought that no matter who I’m with I’m still stuck with myself.

Ideally I would like to learn to speak up for myself without shutting down with anger, resentments, shame, and self-blame locked inside and so, I had the best of intentions to not bring my befuddled feelings home from therapy. I didn’t want to be angry with my husband or have a pity party for myself.

Let’s just say, that didn’t work.

All day long I was a quiet, hateful, sulking angry wife. I tried to manage my feelings, but eventually I headed for the door to buy a mood altering bottle of wine. I honestly felt the need to drink was as strong as the desire a suicidal person may feel while they prepare to jump. I saw no other options to relieving my anxiety. The self-berating thoughts that play in my head were overwhelmingly strong and I did not know how to calm myself. I had no coping skills or tools in my tool box.

Husband stopped me from blowing my 90 days of sobriety by talking me down off the cliff I was dangling from. When he asked, “Where are you going?” and I replied, “I need a bottle of wine.” He responded sympathetically and was very calm as I’m sure he did not want to upset me further. During this interaction I was unsettled and anxious but not angry.

My husband listened to me complain and then he heard me berate myself for not speaking up about things I wish for in my life. He said I haven’t changed or gotten better in all the years I’ve been in therapy. He meant I continue to give myself a psychological beating. We’ve been together for 30-plus years and I didn’t want to believe him but a part of me felt he was right. I thought I was making progress in my life but he thinks I live in the past and can’t let it go.

My husband reassuringly told me everyone has pain from their past but it doesn’t define them or continue to be the driving factor in their lives. His words were like a gentle caress to a baby bunny. They felt compassionate and forgiving.

I had backed off the ledge by this point and my anxiety was reduced to a manageable level. My husband hugged me and whispered, “I love you. I want you to be my wife and tell me what you want.” I shrugged and stood limp and lifeless, drained of all emotions.

I didn’t drink, though and I’m grateful for my husband who helped me through a tough time.

I’m afraid I still won’t know what to do next time. I need tools in my toolbox. So, I called Lynn and asked if she was available for a session on Saturday. This is monumental in my life. Me asking for help. Lynn agreed and said it would be good to talk while the conversation and events were still fresh in my mind.

Daylilyœ 

Depression without alcohol

Lynn lowered the Celexa from 20 mgs to 10 mgs and within a month I felt depression lurking. Oddly, I was clear-headed and “normal” for about a week while the medication slowly left my system.   This phenomenon has happened enough times that I’m certain others have been on this merry-go-round.

It starts with taking an antidepressant and as the ride goes up I begin to feel some relief.  When I get to the top, along with relief comes the negative side effects that outweigh the good ones or my therapist and I feel I’ve spent enough time at the top with medications and decide to withdraw me from the meds and see if the ride can continue on its own.  Will my brain be able to balance its chemicals properly?  I hopefully believe maybe I’ll stay on top and the medication’s side effects will go down.  For me, there’s a brief period where it looks like that’s going to happen – I’m on top of the world!  Look, Mom, no antidepressants.  I’m back to myself again.  I have normal emotions and the negative ones aren’t over powering all the others.  Then, every damn time, I begin the decent.  It’s happening as I write.  My emotions are morphing from contentment and acceptance to displeasure and a feeling of rejection with myself.

This time I don’t have alcohol in my system so I’m not self-medicating and the experience is all the more real.  In fact I think this is a first!  Depression without alcohol.  Man, does it suck.

About a year ago I told my therapist I need to treat my depression in order to stop drinking but she said I need to stop drinking to treat my depression.  Here is what my therapist said: “Your drinking is the big elephant sitting in the room.”

I don’t disagree with her analysis but who wants to live constantly aware of the elephant.  Not I.  I want a glass of wine to dull the awareness of my depression and forget about the actual depression.

A couple of days ago, I called Lynn and she suggested we increase the medication to 15 mgs and see if the side effects and the depression both lessen and I find a happy medium.  While I wait for the meds to kick in I’m sleeping a lot and eating more chocolate than I should.  I am also guilty of taking an extra clonazepam (Klonopin) last night.  But at least I waited 5 hours between doses and, more importantly, I didn’t drink.

I’m committed to getting my mental state under control without abusing alcohol.  No more drinking to numb out.

Sorry for all of the metaphors.  I’m not sure what’s up with that!

– Daylily –

Aside

The decrease in Celexa did the trick.  I’m not as tired which translates to not feeling like a freaking zombie.  When I’m numbed out on antidepressants it’s the worst feeling to forget half of what I or other people say.  I’m so glad that … Continue reading

Sobriety is making depression worse

Things feel pretty hopeless right now.  I’m lifeless.  I have fleeting suicide ideation and no sense of purpose.  Although I slept well last night I want to crawl back under my covers.

Many wise people told me alcohol is a depressant and causes depression. I wonder why I’m more depressed after removing alcohol from my system?  That makes no sense!

Well, I work part-time and I’m home for the day.  Dirty dishes are all over the counter in the kitchen and the laundry calls for me to put it away; but I will have none of it.  I’m going back to bed where I can sleep and forget how I feel — if only briefly until my kids come home from school.

♥ Daylily ♥

Sobriety and depression

I took a reprieve from My Depression Chronicles and focused on a second blog to address my drinking problem http://emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com. You might call me a “high functioning alcoholic” and when I hit bottom (as they say in the world of alcoholism) DUI’s, prison, divorce and child protective service were not involved. My bottom was high. Drinking was a problem for me but to people outside my immediate family, no one knew. I did my excessive drinking at home, mostly on the weekends between 6-10 pm.

I am feeling slightly depressed and don’t want to confuse my followers on my drinking blog so I’m back.

I’d have to say that quitting drinking has not had a positive effect on my depression. You’d think it would. I expected as much given alcohol is a depressant so if removed shouldn’t I feel better? Less depressed?

Quit the opposite. I feel dreadful. It’s been 3 weeks and a few days since my last drink. I’m lifeless. Everything is dull. No color. I want to sleep more than I did when I was hung over. It’s strange indeed. I couldn’t explain it so I did some research.

There’s a test one takes to determine the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms called CIWA-Ar. I took the test yesterday because of the way I’m feeling.

The test is based on a rating scale of symptoms and my results showed no signs of physical withdrawal. I’m not having tremors, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, memory issues, or visual disturbances; the only thing I feel is cloudy in the head and tired. I guess that is a symptom but certainly not enough to warrant a detox facility. No impending seizures or heart attacks.

Researching further I discover there is this term “PAWS” which stands for post-acute withdrawal syndrome. The PAWS symptoms come 7-14 days after detoxification. These are more subtle but no less bothersome.  PAWS is “a bio-psycho-social syndrome. … It results from the combination of damage to the nervous system caused by alcohol or drugs and the psychosocial stress of coping with life without drugs or alcohol.” http://www.drugalcoholaddictionrecovery.com/?p=37

The way I feel is as if I were depressed. But, I wasn’t depressed before venturing into sobriety. On the contrary, I was holding steady and my depression symptoms were at bay. I was and continue to take my Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Klonopin as prescribed but they aren’t working like they were. My lethargy is remarkable and I recently began consuming large amounts of diet Mountain Dew and chocolate, purely for the caffeine. That can’t be good for my biological system but I have to do something for this malaise. I’m still wiped out even with the caffeine.

I don’t miss alcohol. The idea of drinking makes me feel ill. Truly. I drive by the liquor store and feel glad I’m not self-indulging because it leads to feeling crappy the next morning. I seriously don’t miss it. In a dream I envisioned having to drink after a Saturday afternoon nap and when I woke up I was glad it was only a dream because I no longer want alcohol. I’m sure you are all saying that is weird. I think so too.

In the early days of sobriety I jumped full steam into A.A. literature and meetings. I shared my feelings with strangers and cried in my car after hearing the stories of alcoholics hitting low bottoms. I openly shared my struggles with my family. It’s as if I purged myself; now I’m either exhausted or shut down. Which is it? I don’t know. I have a sponsor who I have avoided in the last couple days. I don’t want to talk about drinking and praying and A.A. meetings. I have separated myself from that struggle because I’m tired of all of it. Is it normal to want to get away from the problem? Or the perceived problem? Or is this depression rearing its ugly head and my pattern of isolating myself when I feel low and lethargic?

I’ve not seen Lynn (my therapist) for a few weeks and I don’t want to. I have this negative attitude of screw her. When I was at my lowest I shared my feelings and she told me to stop drinking. Where was the empathy and support? Nowhere on that day. So, now I’ve stopped drinking and I’ve also lost the sense of safety I was developing with her. Emotionally separating from her can’t be good for me. Having just quit drinking one would expect this to be the time when a therapist is most needed.

I pull my hair in front of my face and take a deep sigh. I don’t have the answers.

My history of childhood sexual abuse taught me to be selfish when I feel physically or mentally distressed. I can only share my state of my mind with others for so long. Inevitably the time comes when I need to shut my feelings and thoughts inside myself. Okay, I shared how I feel and think; I learned how other’s suffer with painful feelings and thoughts; now let’s go to our separate places. 

I need alone time.

This chosen inaccessibility is where similarities with others end. I notice most women can reach out, express their troubles, and accept the assistance of others. These people join self-help groups, make lasting connections, and grow to have a broader support system. They actually appear happy and socially adjusted. Not me. I’ve been in this exact place before. I rationalize that it’s in my best interest to share painful emotions and so I force myself to do it. Then, like a turtle I retreat into my shell; returning to the safety of my private life.

Is this wrong? Have I not made some progress? I would have to say I absolutely did. Now, people in my real world, leave me alone for a while. I need time to process my newfound sobriety.

♥ Daylily ♥

The next step in healing…

Why have I’ve moved on from My Depression Chronicles to the new blog about emotional drinking?

Simply put: the depression is under control.  If I were to take a self-test for depression, I would pass. That doesn’t mean I don’t have depression; it means I am asymptomatic.

What’s the magic? My therapist is a prescribing registered nurse and experimented with dosages to find the perfect cocktail.  I take Wellbutrin, Celexa and Klonopin. (I am one of the lucky ones who respond well to antidepressants).  They have calmed my negative thoughts and allowed me to feel in control of things. The benefits of depression being properly treated reach into all areas of my life. I feel in control and I was able to lose weight, lower my blood pressure and reduce my drinking.

So, what’s the problem? Why the new blog?

My therapist rightly said that once we have one piece of our lives in order we are ready to tackle another area. How true that is. I’m ready to take the connecting flight to the next item on my list of personal areas to heal.   The next stop is to look at my drinking habits but first a walk down memory lane…

The beginning of my healing journey, back in my twenties, was focused on reducing the effects from childhood sexual abuse and learning to let go so that I didn’t continue to suffer PTSD and dissociation. Living in constant “fight or flight” with a wall up was exhausting. During this time, I developed the eating disorder anorexia. I exercised obsessively and ate barely anything. Reliving the pain of CSA was hard work and an eating disorder gave me a sense of control. I was in talk therapy but hadn’t been diagnosed with depression. The therapist told me I had PTSD and later dysthymia.

I quit smoking and starting eating healthy again when I turned 30. A few years and 2 kids later, the stress level grew and I suffered with insomnia and little desire to eat again. At age 37 my doctor diagnosed me with major depression. Paxil improved my mood and so began my adventures with antidepressants, experimenting for the next few years to find one that didn’t make me tired, hungry or dispassionate about sex. Nothing worked like Paxil for my depression so I went back to paroxetine about 5 years ago. The trouble with that drug is its side effects make me crave carbs and alcohol. Fortunately, I wasn’t depressed so I landed a decent job and made some positive connections in my community. However, from age 35 to 38 I ate too many carbs during the day and drank too much wine at night. I sincerely believe the antidepressant caused my 60 lb. weight gain.

This blog began when my weight was up, my drinking was what I call “self-medicating” and my health was beginning to suffer, with the most obvious signs high blood pressure, perceptible changes in my blood sugar and the beginnings of an ulcer.

One year later I’ve lost 30 lbs., resolved my stomach issues and reduced my blood pressure and most importantly I’m not depressed. I still have a good job and many social ties. BUT, I am still drinking to “self-medicate.”

It’s like the curtain getting pulled back to expose the wizard. What’s left is my drinking. Why do I drink? What am I so afraid of? I know the answer in its simplest form; I don’t want to feel any negative emotions. I drink to numb my feelings. That’s where the “emotional drinking” name for my blog comes from.

I stopped drinking 11 days ago and I’m prepared for the fallout. I’m not going to run to a wine bottle. I plan on facing my emotions. My head is in the right place and the time has come to uncover all that I am and discover all that I can be.

Now boarding for www.emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com.

♥ Daylily