Tag Archives: self-medicate

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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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

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

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

Rested Mind

As I said in my last post I have begun meditating. It’s been 5 days and I already see a remarkable difference. The biggest proof is that I slept through the entire night, 12am – 7am without waking up once. This is atypical behavior for me because my habits of wine and naps typically wreck havoc with my natural sleep cycle.

Early in the week (Sun, Mon, Tue and Wed) I listened to my newly purchased hypnotic CD which is helping to release negative thoughts that have been buried since the day I learned them. But, last night I listened to a different CD called P.M. Yoga Meditations by Gael Chiarella. The narrator’s soothing voice helped me recognize all the events in my day that caused feelings of sadness, joy or judgment. After focusing on my feelings, I released them. This was so relaxing that my sleep was transformed. I don’t recall a dream and I never woke up until morning came.

I haven’t had a drink for 6 days and I skipped my daily nap for the last three days. I’m on to something here. No alcohol/no naps + meditation = a good night’s sleep. And of course, I’m still taking my antidepressants as prescribed.

Now I need to dig deep and see if I can keep this behavior going. Daylily

Therapy was unproductive

What my therapist is thinking… (ptsdforum.org)

I’m back from vacation and it was wonderful. I forgot my worries and enjoyed lying around on the beach reading a good book on my Kindle. I recommend it for those who like to read autobiographies about mental illness. I got it at Amazon for 99 cents . Check it out https://mentalhealthwritersguild.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/eye-locks-and-other-fearsome-things-learning-to-love-as-a-bipolar-aspie/

I returned from my trip Monday and saw my therapist on Tuesday (yesterday). My ability to forget my issues from only a week ago (can you say dissociation?) had me re-reading my blog entries since the last time I saw Lynn so that I could discuss what was bothering me. The stupid thing is I rambled on, repeating what I wrote without any affect because the emotions had passed. I shouldn’t have reminded myself of how I felt before vacation, instead I should have gone to Lynn with how I am now. It was an unproductive session because I wouldn’t shut up.  I walked out of her office saying, “That wasn’t very useful because all I did was talk.” I saw her do her little eye roll as if to say, “Now you say that as you are walking out the door.” Lynn’s parting words were, “Sometimes it’s good to have someone to bounce your thoughts off.” That is true if you are a person who thinks what they say is worthwhile but since I have a feeling of worthlessness, a sense of stupidity prevails.  My life is not that interesting to go on and on for 45 minutes. I can only remember 3 times Lynn cut in and made comments. I should have stopped talking and done more listening. I felt like I was on automatic pilot and couldn’t stop, as if I had to catch her up on the last 3 weeks. We meet again in a month and I will try not to waste the 45 minutes talking about the past.

Lynn’s office clock irks me! It sits on the table between us and is set 5 minutes fast. I’m sure this is due to the patients who get so involved in their stories and lose track of time. But, that’s not me. I always end on the ¾ hour because Lynn told me her sessions run 45 minutes. In the time it takes to set up the next appointment and discuss my meds, her clock says 10 minutes before the hour. I leave, get in my car and my clock says 15 minutes before the hour. This is inconsequential but for some reason the purposefulness of Lynn cheating me of 5 minutes bugs me. It shouldn’t because I’m the one who watches the clock and walks out at that time. Lynn wouldn’t stop me if I kept talking for 5 minutes longer. What is the big deal? What the hell is my issue? Just let it go. I can’t and one session when I’m feeling frustrated I will tell her I know that she sets her clock to be 5 minutes ahead of the actual time. I can see her face now, turning her head, rolling her eyes and giving me a look like, “Why do you speak up about these small things?” My answer is, being straight forward and blunt keeps distance between me and others. It’s a safety thing.

I work in a school and things are getting busy because I must have all the paperwork in order before the school doors open. I have a management/supervisory role and it’s time for me to be on top of my game.

I’ve mentioned my issue with drinking as a way to reduce anxiety and this summer I have not successfully stopped that behavior. Okay, what I’m saying is I’m still drinking way too much white wine. Delving into my past and the issues with my narcissist mother has only escalated my drinking. So, I look forward to getting back into work-mode and curbing my drinking to only on weekends. If I had one goal for myself it would be to stop drinking for 6 months. I really think I would sleep better and my mood would improve. Right now the medications I take are working but they would certainly be more effective without the alcohol.

GULP – I hate writing down goals because when I don’t obtain them I feel like such a failure. But, I won’t take it back. My goal is there, in black, white and bold. Quit drinking for 6 months. I’ve done it previously for my children during pregnancy and breastfeeding and now I must do it for myself. Daylily

Perfection is unattainable

Dahlia White Perfection (photo from Wikimedia Commons.org)

I saw Lynn today and admitted my feelings of shame, stupidity, embarrassment and sadness. I wasn’t sure how to tell her I mixed alcohol with the klonopin (and subsequently fell down and got seriously bruised) so I went about it the long way, weaving a story of what led me to drink more wine than is typical for me.  The usual stresses: kids, family, love, loss, etc. I really have a high expectation for myself and when I do something downright stupid I am my worst critic.

When I’m at the therapist’s office I always have this 3rd person approach. I watch what I say, what she says and what we both do. Lynn was trying to play it cool and not show shock or much of anything. I was explaining things dispassionately so I wouldn’t put all my raw emotions on her table. I saw her eyes go down to my arm and the bruises before I was ready to get to that part and I was aware that she already knew. She said, “It’s not quite as bad as how you judge it in your own mind.” Lynn told me I like control and perfection and when triggers occur and I react less than what I would like, I beat myself up.

I admitted I find it difficult to disclose my vulnerability, frailties and weaknesses to others. I showed her my bruise and she did not react.

Lynn asked, “What were you afraid would happen when you told me?”

You would immediately think of your own liability and whether it is a bad idea to be prescribing medications to me.

Lynn agreed that was important and said she has warned me not to mix the klonopin with alcohol. I assured her I knew the risks, as it is also written all over the prescription bottle and accompanying pamphlets.

I felt the need to tell her, I have never taken more than what you prescribe for me, one pill a day is all I’ve ever done.

See. Look. I’m still a good little patient.

She told me if I ever drink just don’t take the klonopin that night.

I think her approach was to try not to make it as big a deal as I feel it is. She was diffusing some of my anxiety and tension by trying to lessen my sense of transgression. It somewhat helped but I’m still walking around with a couple huge bruises on my arm that are embarrassing.

That conversation all occurred within the first 5-10 minutes and then my therapist and I got down to some heartfelt conversations. She asked what feelings or thoughts were occurring when I turned to wine as my escape. I will save the rest for another day because my sense of shame makes it difficult to go on. I’m still processing my mistake and trying to figure out how to forgive, forget and move on.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (taken from the book I’m reading, If Life is a Game, These are the Rules by Cherie Carter-Scott)

I have poor emotional control

My weekend was not good. I feel beat up physically and mentally. I feel like I was in a car wreck. The worst part is that I was the driver and I caused my own personal self-destruction.

Saturday July 7th, in the afternoon — Sadness weighs heavy

I have a twin who lives 100’s of miles away so we only see each other once or twice a year. He has 2 boys and I also have 2 boys. The boys range in age from 11 years to 16 years. This week my twin and nephew’s came to visit for 3 days and the chemistry was incredible. My SIL did not come so it was my husband, brother and 4 boys plus me – talk about a man’s world. I hate that feeling but it didn’t actually feel that way because my twin and I get along great.

Here’s an example that makes me appreciate him. I told him of a website I like about youth soccer. (Followers know this is a passion of mine). Well, my brother found the website and followed this long, drawn-out thread that I had started and talked to me about it the next day. I was genuinely surprised he took the time to go there. My own husband doesn’t care to see what I’m up to so I was touched that my brother did. My twin and I also looked through boxes of old photos and watched slide shows that our deceased dad took of us as children. In all the family photos, I am sitting next to my twin and he and I shared many bonding moments remembering the family events as if we were one and the same person.

He left this morning and sadness covers me like a cloak. I have had a miserable day. I want nothing to do with food so I haven’t eaten since he left. I’m going to climb into bed and sleep the day away.

Same Day, evening — Can I drink away my pain?

I’m not very good at knowing what causes my emotions. First, I thought my sadness was from spending the weekend with just boys/men but I realized tonight, I miss family and my brother. He is such a great guy, a wonderful husband and a devoted father and I hate when we can’t be together. I also feel lonesome for my grandmother that died a few years ago and I miss my dad who died over 25 years ago. Lastly, I am being hit with the reality of my mom’s aging life. This past month she moved to a retirement home and passed things on to me that I knew I would receive, such as my great grandmothers beautiful wedding dress and my parent’s set of silver. But, having these tangible objects in my house is evidence that my mom is rapidly coming to the end of her life. My heart is heavy.

Friends with children came by to say hi and they ended up staying for hours and we had a mini pool party. I ran out to get a few things at the store and stopped for a bottle of wine. My mission for the night was to block my emotions with wine. I sipped 2 glasses while the guests were here but as soon as they left I hurriedly finished off the bottle. I have regrets.

Sunday July 8th, in the morning – Feeling more pain

I woke up this morning with cuts, bruises and scrapes all along one of my arms, due to falling down in my bathroom last night.

I also awoke to a huge cut (2 inches long and a ¼ deep) on the bottom of my foot from cutting the lawn barefoot yesterday. I’m not even going to explain how that happened but it was stupid of me!

My head hurts from too much wine last night.

My eyes are swollen from crying after I fell in the bathroom.

I haven’t seen my kids this morning because my husband [H] took them out to breakfast before I got up. Did they hear me fall and crash over the big metal standing scale? How loud was I sobbing?

I just don’t know the answers and I feel self-hate and guilt that I inflict harm upon myself when my emotions are overwhelming. H was there because we had just climbed in bed and had sex. So, when I staggered to the bathroom and knocked over the heavy steel scale and was lying on the hard tile floor, he tried to help me. I say try because as soon as I fell and hurt myself I began to cry. H told me I drank too much (combined with no food and the Klonopin I took right before getting in bed I was a mess). H looked at my wounds and said I needed to clean up because I was bleeding. I didn’t care but he kept insisting so I got up and took a look in the mirror. I was shocked to see the cuts and bruises so I allowed H to help me. He washed the scratch and fetched an ice pack which he placed on my sore. As he did so he asked, “Are you going to write about this in your blog?” I ignored him and wept uncontrollably. He didn’t know why I was crying and I think he was trying to make me laugh but all I could do was cry. I didn’t know why I was crying either. As a survivor of sexual abuse, sometimes intimacy can overwhelm me but I think this time, the tears were shed for the love of my twin brother. There is no one in this world that I trust or love more. It hurts to love someone who is not with us, whether through death or distance.

I can’t describe it better.

Same Day, later – My family loves me despite my shortcomings

My kids returned from breakfast and called to me. As usual, I was upstairs, in my office on my laptop. H and both kids came into the room. My youngest asked, “Did you fall down and get hurt last night?” I felt ashamed and looked at H as if to say, what did you tell them? I answered, “Yes, did you hear the crash?” Then he said “Yeah. Can I see where you got hurt?” I showed him one bruise and scrape and he bent down and kissed my injured arm. It was such a sweet gesture. My feelings of self-hate evaporated and I felt loved by my family even though I did something stupid. My oldest son said “Where’s the cut?” And I proceeded to pull up my shirt to show him the cut under my armpit and the bruises and scrapes all along the underside of my arm. My youngest asked, “Did you cry?” Again, I said, “Yes, did you hear me?” He shook his head and said “No but Daddy told us.” My older son said, “That looks bad. You did not have a good day yesterday.” He walked away and H and the youngest looked at me with loving concern. I told my boy “I am sad because I miss Uncle S” and my lips trembled and my eyes teared. He gave me a hug and H explained “That’s Mommy’s brother.”

“Do not drink alcohol while taking clonazepam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.”

I know I drink to block out painful emotions and last night was an example. I’m not supposed to drink and take the Klonopin. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. When I went from a prone position to standing I was so dizzy I knocked into things and lost my balance. Shit, I really need to learn other more positive coping mechanisms. It scares me that I self-destruct.

I see my therapist on Tuesday and I know I should talk to her about this episode. Will my sense of shame and embarrassment or will my desire for help prevail? I haven’t decided but I do know what the right thing is. Don’t perpetuate the patterns of my past by hiding behind my shame. I must talk about my issues with managing sadness if I want to gain better emotional control.

Bad attitude…

It’s been quiet on my blog, I know.  My anxiety continues unabated; although I called Lynn and told her as much.  She said the same thing she always does…”take half the Klonopin in the afternoon and the other half at night.”  Whenever she makes that suggestion, I want to run in the other direction and cease taking  the anti-anxiety med.  I guess I am struggling with denial around this whole “anxiety” component of my mental illness. 

I know I have “major depression” but now I need medication for “anxiety” too?  Really?  I’m trying to come to terms with this in my own way.

My own way entailed drinking more wine than anybody needs.  I was not your typical social drinker this weekend.  I drank to erase the anxiety and numb my pain.  

Well, when I told Lynn — my therapist — about my anxiety, I described it as such, “I am still getting things done but I’m finding I am isolating myself more.”  Simple words, perhaps, but for me to recognize and verbalize my behaviors is a step in the right direction.

The stress doesn’t end because tomorrow I’m taking a road trip (alone) to visit my mother.  She is packing her condo to move to a retirement community and I am going to help.  My mom is so excited about my visit that I can’t bail out, even though I want to. 

My brother, The Perp, lives near by and there’s a chance he’ll drop by my mom’s place.  I will be cordial, as usual, and not give either of them an entry into my painful past.  I’ve learned they can’t help with my healing and growth so I don’t talk about the incest anymore.  Instead I will give my mom everything she needs to feel my support and love.  For her, that means acting like we are the perfect family.  We’ll have intelligent conversations, they’ll be no negative thoughts or emotions and everything will be peachy! 

I can play the game well.  The other day, I even told my mom in a phone conversation that people were asking about my brother.  I told her to tell him that they think highly of him and send their regards.  That part is true but why do I feed my mom’s need to think her son is so great?  Don’t actions like that take away from my worth?  Why do I want to reassure my mom I’m past what my brother did to me, that I know he is a good guy and she is not a bad mom?

Why the hell do I play those mind games?  In the end, it fucks with my own head more than any one else’s. 

I usually edit and rewrite my posts but that’s all the time and energy I have tonight.  I need sleep and hopefully, it will be restorative and give me the energy I need for the week ahead.  ♥