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

Upcoming events – first AA meeting and back to my therapist

My therapist hurt my feelings last time I saw her. That sounds stupid even saying it, but such an admission shows just how sensitive I am. I began with Lynn so she could help me with depression and what I defined as my use of alcohol to self-medicate. Ignorantly, I believed that if I changed my depression medications then my drinking would stop, too.

That’s not how it went down.

I withdrew from all medications, under Lynn’s watch, and spiraled into major depression. Lynn wisely prescribed a cocktail of medications and my mood improved. Unfortunately, my drinking hasn’t improved. My therapist threatened to withdraw all medications if I don’t stop drinking. She said I am mixing medications and it’s dangerous.

Our relationship had only recently begun to feel safe. Over a long stretch without seeing Lynn, I told her I missed her. Instead of answering the same Lynn said, “That’s good it means you trust other people.”

It was the very next session when Lynn played tough love and gave what felt like an ultimatum. I don’t do well if I feel unsupported by people I trust.

I shut down and accused her of giving me a threat about my meds. It hurt my feelings that she doesn’t understand my emotional sensitivity. When I withdrew in our session she tried to reassure me it wasn’t a threat and she would give me time. But the damage was done.

It’s been 2 weeks and I am scheduled to see Lynn in 2 days. In all honesty, I’d like to bring in my medications and throw them at her. What pleasure I would get watching them spill all over her carefully organized chair, table and office. And with that I would say, “Take your fucking medications and your sense of superiority and stick it up your ass.” What would be the point? To show her I don’t need her pills or her kind of therapy.

Reality check! Indifference is this therapist’s mode of operation. She would shrug her shoulders and think to herself, “There’s nothing I can do. This patient wasn’t ready to hear the truth and do the hard work.” She’s just such a hard-ass, I hate it. I wonder if this is how all addiction counselors are?

So, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I know what the right thing is but it is difficult for me to trust this therapist. I have an urge to run instead of expose myself. But, I am going to try to do what she’s asking on blind faith. Tomorrow is Friday and instead of opening a bottle of wine I will go to my first AA meeting. It’s what my therapist thinks I need. Sounds scary but I will do it and go to therapy knowing I’m trying to do the work. I haven’t ruled out finding another therapist but for now I will see if our relationship can be restored.

Fern (formerly known as Daylily) 

Join me on my new blog.  Daylilies live for only one day and ferns can flourish in the right climate for a long time. 

http://emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com/ 

Emotional Drinking

Thanks to all my followers who have offered me kind words and support.

Join me on the next part of my journey.  I am moving away from this blog and beginning a new one.  I’d like to think of it as a step forward.  My depression is under control but I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

I want to focus on that issue and not blame my drinking on depression.  Maybe it’s time I blame my depression on drinking?  I’m not sure where I’m headed but I know my journey of healing is not over.

It’s just beginning…

http://emotionaldrinkingdotcom.wordpress.com/

♥ Daylily

Therapy feels wrong but who knows?

Admittedly, I am one of those people who doesn’t look any different from anyone else but my inability to stop abusing alcohol makes me a person that needs some kind of help.  I feel like it’s love, empathy and support that I need but my therapist is acting indifferent and tough.  It may be the right tactic but it feels wrong and hurts.  I want to push her away and isolate myself.

I know the therapeutic relationship mimics my personal relationships outside of therapy and I don’t know how to get help from someone who portrays themselves as indifferent.  To help understand, a total lack of affect and an abundance of intellect is my family of origin.  How can I heal within a relationship that feels so similar to my upbringing, where I hid my feelings from powerful, intelligent people.

As a survivor of CSA I battle the inner demons of self-hate and a sense of not deserving anything good.  I am dumbfounded as to find something inside me that believes I should recover just because I’m worth it.

This leads to my question: How can a person like me, who feels completely inadequate, trust her therapist and be able to get the help she needs?  This is a major road block to my success.  I want to enhance my sense of self which in turn will fuel the desire to stop drinking alcohol for my own good. Is this thinking backward?

My therapist says I must first stop drinking because it is the elephant in the room.  Sounds logical to a person with inner resources but sounds like jumping from a plane without a parachute for a person who lacks self-worthiness.

♥ Daylily

Within Us

What lies behind us, and what lies

before us are tiny matters,

compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shop for lingerie

What’s a better pick-me-up? I’ve been riddled with depression, anxiety, feelings of shame, anger, and guilt; really, you name an emotion that attacks from the inside and I’ve been feeling it.

Tonight I went to the mall and bought myself a present: panties, bras and camisoles. And no cheap Hanes briefs from Wal-Mart (which I wear everyday so don’t get me wrong about that). My recent weight loss boosted my self-image and I don’t feel like an obese sea cow swimming in the lingerie department. I went all out and bought the softest Jockey panties and camisoles I’ve ever felt. No, they aren’t satin and lace or very sexy but they are stylish and comfortably cotton. I know I will feel happier tomorrow just knowing I did something nice for myself.

My mood was so low today that I almost shut down my blog and cut myself off from my therapist. The only way I can explain it is when I feel judged or criticized I get defensive. For some reason when others are disappointed in me I take on their condemnation as my own. I feel utterly worthless and push others away because I’m not worth their worry or care. The pattern goes like this: someone I trust hates a behavior of mine; I can’t change it so I hate myself equally as much.

I woke up feeling so bad I fantasized about suicide. I thought just get me the fuck out of this world. I didn’t plan anything or take the idea any further than wishing I wasn’t alive.

I called Lynn, my therapist, and we talked things out. She made me realize that I focused on one tiny part of our session and blew it way out of proportion. Lynn assured me she is committed to working with me. She observed that all of my relationships have the same dynamics and if I work on how I feel with her I am helping my other relationships too. She’s right.   I can get so stuck in inner turmoil.   The conversation was pretty long and it helped to be able to express myself to someone who was reassuring. I won’t go into the whole binge drinking thing except to say she explained her position a little better and I understand where she’s coming from. First of all, I did choose a therapist who is a prescribing doctor so of course that person would be concerned if I mix alcohol with her medications. What really made me see her point was after I asked “Would you tell a patient who self-harmed through bulimia or cutting to just stop the behavior?” Her answer was, “Alcohol is a form of medication and I am a prescribing therapist. I have a responsibility to be concerned about mixing the two.” I calmed down after that and said, “I can understand that.”

What I know is this blog is about my depression. Lynn has her eye on that when I lose my focus. Of course, she’s right that I’ll never be well until I stop drinking. It does not mix well with my medication nor help my depression.

My perspective is slowly changing.

♥Daylily

Therapist betrays me (or so I feel)

I truly believe Lynn wanted me to breakdown and cry in therapy today. There was some crying but I did not breakdown. It wasn’t because she didn’t try her hardest. She absolutely did! Contrary to what she hoped, I got angry.  I’m so pissed off I am thinking of ways to get out of therapy.

Before proceeding, I must point out that this is my perspective. By no means am I accusing her of crossing ethical boundaries but my retelling will make you think so. My perception is one-sided and self-protective.

Lynn purposefully challenged my thinking today. It came on the heels of last week when — for the first time — I opened up to her, admitted that I missed therapy and divulged a great deal of painful feelings regarding my past.

I feel trapped because now she knows I trust her so she went in for the kill.

I know I’m skirting the issue. You are probably asking yourselves about now, “What the heck is Daylily talking about?”

How I opened up. How I exposed my weakness and how my therapist turned it around and pushed my problem right up to my nose.

Once again I stated my modus operandi: change takes time. I not only tell my husband this but I also use it to reassure myself that I’m headed in the right direction. I need time to put a safety net in place for the fall out when I stop drinking. I have no idea what I will do with the feelings and thoughts that I’ve learned to numb and push down with alcohol. Admittedly, I’m scared to be alcohol-free.

I disclosed the contentious marital conflict last weekend.  I told Lynn my husband yelled at me, “Therapy is not working because you are still drinking.”

What felt like a sucker punch, Lynn followed up by saying, “You must stop drinking and then work on the emotions. The drinking is the elephant sitting in the room.”

I expected her to tell me, your husband doesn’t know how hard you’re working. Instead she sided with him.

Lynn threatened to withdraw my medications if I don’t stop binge drinking. She said, “It is the policy at our practice to decrease and eventually cease all prescribed medications if the patient has an issue with alcohol.”

It was then that I shut down. I couldn’t look in my therapist’s eyes. I felt betrayed.

Lynn asked the number one therapist question, “What are you feeling right now?”

My answer, “Cornered. You are threatening to take away my medication for depression.” I began to cry softly but not enough to ask for her help with it.

Survivors of sexual abuse are good at believing no one really cares.

When I feel cornered I want to bolt out the door. I waited as I watched the minutes tick away.

Lynn said things like, “You always have options.” And, “You can find another therapist who will not tell you what I am.”

My nasty response, “I know I have options.”

Lynn said I was angry.

“Yes, I don’t like to feel that you are siding with my husband and ganging up on me.”

She said my husband could come to the next session.

“Right,” I replied sarcastically, “So the two of you can both tell me I’m behaving badly.”

I said, “To get through that session I would need to wear a protective plate of amour.”

Lynn tried to offer assurance that she would be on my side to help explain to my husband the hard work I’m doing. I didn’t believe her. I still don’t feel she was sincere. What she was offering was an intervention. The same thing my husband suggested.

My nasty side came out and I said, “Let’s just invite my whole family and have a true intervention.”

Lynn told me she wasn’t going to take away my medication today. She tried to reassure me that she knows it’s a process. Blah, blah, blah.

My protective inner-self was hurt and I did not absorb any of what she said. She was judging me and that’s all I felt.

Lynn did offer suggestions about what to put in my “basket” to help me when I stop using alcohol as a crutch; but this is not the positive post to express hopefulness. First I need a place to express a sense of betrayal and disappointment.

Please no comments about my therapist being right. I’m a bright woman and I don’t need to be told that. What I need is support and understanding on this journey.

♥ Daylily, in a nasty mood

Binge drinking among females

This morning a news story about binge drinking among women jumped out at me on the MSN home page. I googled the topic of “binge drinking women” and found all the big news agencies are reporting a recent CDC study. Women are binge drinking more than ever.

I’m not proud of it but I fit the category. Here’s a direct quote from the article.

Recognize that most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics, but may need counseling.

Oh, is that ever me. I am working on finding new coping skills in therapy. I don’t want to use alcohol to cope with difficult emotions. Really. Truly.

Here’s the link: http://www.cdc.gov/features/vitalsigns/bingedrinkingfemale/index.html

Daylily