Happy Wife, Happy Life.

sam

My hubby has been amazing through this whole rollercoaster of emotion and depression. He has been a pillar of strength for me.

“Practice these principles in all our affairs” is something I most definitely have NOT been doing, and hubby gets the brunt of it. I am ashamed to say, I have been treating him like shit. I have been taught that if you want to see how strong someone’s program is, ask their family. I would fall short if you did that.

Hubby is 13 years sober. He stays out of my program, for the most part. He will gently nudge me and suggest that I “phone a friend”, or go to a meeting, but he does this in such a loving, caring way that I can’t be mad about it. And when he does it, I know he is right. I may bitch about it, but I do it because if he is saying it, I am pretty bad off.

He loves, supports and encourages me in every aspect of my life. With the weight gain, he tells me I am beautiful more often. With the depression, he tells me how much he loves me and cherishes me on a daily basis. With the anxiety, he talks me down and reminds me to breathe slow and deep. And I have just been snapping at him. A few days ago, I yelled because he didn’t put a roll of toilet paper on the TP holder. I’m such a bitch. Hubby knows how insecure I am right now so every time I call him, he answers the phone, “Hello, gorgeous.”.

This man has been with me for 4 years. He has seen me at my best and at my worst. He has witnessed full Bipolar manic episodes that lasted 2 weeks and the crash into sever depression that follow. He has seen how PTSD flashbacks can ambush me and how my severe anxiety can ruin an evening out. Yet, he’s still here. Still by my side. Hell, he even wanted to marry me after seeing all that crap! Maybe I should be questioning his sanity!

I have hubby on my gratitude list, but I have realized through last night’s Step 10, instead of being grateful for him, I am taking him for granted. I need to make amends for the way I have been treating him. Yes, I am depressed and a bit whack-a-doo with the hormone thingy. But that does not give the right to treat my husband, or anyone for that matter, the way I have been. No one is my personal punching bag. Just because he is allowing it to happen doesn’t make it right.

My hubby deserves a happy wife and a happy life. Slowly but surely I am coming back from the depths of this depression. I can feel the hormone replacement therapy working. Which is great, because I know hubby has been jonesing for a Nurf gun fight and I haven’t been in the mood. He may just get ambushed.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

But Weight, There’s More…

scale

I had to go to my primary care doc because I pulled a muscle in my back and touched off a bad spasm. None too happy about being in the doc’s office to begin with and then I have to stand on the scale. grrrrr. I weighed in at a whopping 202 pounds. WHAT? I had to look back and make sure the nurse didn’t have her foot on the scale as a joke. Nope. It was ALL me! WHAT?

I haven’t weighed that much since before my liver failure in 2008. I stand 5 feet, no inches tall (or short) so you can imagine what 202 pounds looks like on that frame. Dumpy. Frumpy. Fatty. Ugh. I have gained 35 pounds in 3 months. Is there a medal for that or something?

I know that I have been depressed. I know that I have used food for comfort. But 35 pounds?! That’s just ludicrous. The demons came on fast and strong. I almost completely forgot about the pain in my back. My skull started vibrating, the voices were so loud.

  • “You’re huge.”
  • “You’re worthless.”
  • “Just eat and the puke.”
  • “Hubby doesn’t love you anymore. How could he possibly find you’re fat ass attractive?”
  • “Start drinking again. You never eat when you’re drinking.”
  • “Stop taking you’re meds. They make you gain weight.”

The scary thing was, I was listening to the voices and they were sounding like the voice of reason. Damn those demons. Once doc came into the room and checked me over for the back spasm, I brought up the weight gain. He was shocked. Told me that he found it very hard to believe that I weighed 202 lbs. That made me feel better. We discussed strategy on weight loss, but he made me promise not to try anything until after September 10th when I am cleared from the hysterectomy and now my back. I have to have physical therapy 3 times a week. grrrrr.

The demon voices were still making my skull vibrate. I felt like a total failure. How could I have allowed myself to get to that weight? I felt lazy. I felt ashamed. I guilty. I knew that I had been using food for comfort but I had no idea it had gotten to this point. My mind was racing. 100 thoughts going through and I couldn’t grab onto 1 and focus. Diet…which one…swim…how long…can’t swim yet…not cleared for exercise…binge and purge…bad for me…no carbs…unrealistic. STOP!! “God, please help me. Thanks. Amen.”

It wasn’t instant, but it was quick. I began to calm down. I said my version of the AA ABC’s. I can’t, He can, I’m gonna’ let Him. I felt better. I am powerless. Not just over booze. I’m putting food on the ever growing list. My life is unmanageable. God can restore me to sanity. (so I’ve been told) Nah, I know this to be true. I just have to get out of the way. Quit obsessing over something I have no control over at this very moment. In a few weeks, I can do something about it, but not right now. So I can choose to stew and sit in my poop or I can surrender and give it to God to handle. I choose the latter. At least for now. I may forget and start stewing again. But that’s the grace and mercy of this program. If I take the crap back, God is always willing when I am ready to give it back to Him.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

Well, Dog-gone It!

Joe

This is my fur-kid, Joe. He is 3 quarters Black Lab and 1 quarter German Shepherd and just turned 2 years old 2 weeks ago. If you know anything about dogs then you’ll know he is still quite exuberant and full of “puppy”.

Yesterday, Joe gave me quite a fright. I had him outside on his lead. He finished doing his business and I let him lounge in the grass for awhile while I perused Facebook. When it was time to go inside, I unhooked the lead and walked Joe by his collar toward the house. He had other plans. He did some sort of doggie ninja move, twisted then pulled and the next thing I knew he was on the other side of the yard.  My heart was in my throat. Joe is a runner.

We just recently moved from a city into a small town. Joe doesn’t know the layout very well yet and we live fairly close to a county road. As soon as he realized he was “free” he bolted across the street and out of my sight. My anxiety level went through the roof. I got Joe’s leash and opened the garage. Sat in a chair in the driveway, calling for him and whistling. Nothing. I could feel my body reacting to the anxiety then. “Deep breaths, deep breaths.”, I told myself. I was shaking. I laid eyes on him a couple of times but he was always far off. I went back in the house but left the garage door and house door open so he could get in. By this time every muscle in my body was tight and my breathing way out of whack.

Joe is my companion. My confidant. My buddy. He keeps me company while hubby is on the road all week. The thought of losing him is unbearable. He is a very intelligent pup. And funny, too. I am convinced that he understands the English language and therefore I talk to him ALL THE TIME. He snuggles up to me at night, or when I am having a “mental health” day. He makes sure I get my exercise by INSISTING on going for walks. My mind was racing with thoughts of what would happen if he didn’t come home.

I took an anti-anxiety pill. A non-benzodiazepine. I wished I hadn’t canceled my benzo prescription. Went back outside and called for Joe. Still nothing. Came inside and went to the living room and got on my knees to pray. I could hardly get the words out. Finally settled on “God, please help me. Thanks. Amen.” I couldn’t focus long enough for anything else. My mind was too jumbled. I felt like my heart was going to explode. Tears burned my eyes as they welled up before falling.

Tick, tick, tick, tick. I heard the sweet sound of his nails on the linoleum in the kitchen. HE CAME HOME! I got up from my kneeling spot and went to the kitchen. Joe was panting so hard, his tongue almost touched the floor. I knelt down and hugged him hard. He just looked at me like, “Why you cryin’, Mama?”. I shut the front door, got fresh water for him and scolded him while he lapped up the water. Then, the demons kicked in.

The crises was over but the way my lying mind works, the “what ifs” start slamming me. What if Joe didn’t come home? What if Joe had gotten hit by a car? What if Joe had bitten somebody? (he would never do that. lick someone to death, maybe.) I began to feel overwhelmed. Manic. Panic. I couldn’t bring myself back to reality. While a part of me knew these were irrational fears, I was still allowing them to fester. The booze demon decided to come out an play. “Hey, you wanna’ shut those others up? I’ll take care of that. You KNOW I always do. A few swigs and they go silent.” “GO AWAY!”, I shouted out loud. He kept on going, of course. I was in a pickle. I was a hot mess. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong that was causing this melt down. DUH! I was dialoging with the disease. HELLO! When I dialog with the disease, it always wins. Back down on my knees I went. “God, please help me. Thanks. Amen.” I said a few other things, too, like “Your will not mine”, and “I surrender.”

I started feeling better. Stronger. I was “Higher Powered”. I should know better than to face off with the booze demon one on one. He’ll kick my butt every time. I can’t talk to him. I talk to God and let God fight that battle for me. As for the mental illness demons, I’m still a bit manic today after Joe’s disappearing act yesterday. I still have anxiety. Still have the “What ifs” lurking in my head. But he’s home. He snuggled up with me last night to sleep and we went for a walk this morning. I pray that the vibrations in my mind will smooth out soon.

I am so grateful that I have been given the tools to get through situations like this. I am working on picking up those tools earlier in a situation and not waiting until it’s a full blown crises. Progress not perfection.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

Taking Out the Garbage

I have a very heightened sense of smell. I’ve been told that I could smell a flea fart 100 miles upwind. (that was not a compliment) Point being, the garbage MUST be taken out at the end of the day or I am a big “grumpasaurous” in the morning when I walk down the hall and smell the stinky garbage. Sometimes it’s hardly half full but I don’t care. It MUST be taken out or I am grumpy. Who wants to smell stinky garbage first thing in the morning?

I say this because I can relate it to doing my 10th step every night. If I don’t “take out the garbage” from the day, it sits with me overnight and I wake up grumpy because yesterday’s garbage is weighing on me and it stinks! By taking just a few minutes before going to bed and doing an inventory of my day, I get a clean house and go to sleep with a light heart. For me it’s a MUST. When I forget, I don’t sleep well. When I don’t sleep well, one or more of my mental illness demons tries to rear it’s ugly head. But why wouldn’t I want to? I know that when I do a 10th step, I feel so much better and when I don’t, I feel like poop. I must admit, there are times when I am the rebellious teen who stomps the foot, folds the arms, and says, “I don’t wanna’, you can’t make me!”. It makes no sense, but it happens. I get the same result every single time I do it. Crappy nights sleep and an emotional hangover in the morning.

So, tonight I will take the garbage out, both physically and spiritually. I am so grateful to the program that has taught me how to do this.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

Silent but Deadly

No, I am not talking about farts, although my dog Joe most definitely lets some righteous SBD’s go that almost require gas masks. He is so stinky that he “shares his air” and then gets up from wherever he is lounging and goes to a clean air zone. But I digress.

The silent but deadly that I am referring to is choosing to be silent about negative feelings and emotions and the deadly consequences that can have.

I can’t stand negativity. I try putting a positive or humorous spin on things whenever I can. The downside to this is sometimes I do not allow myself to be “me” and walk through specific emotions or feelings. I can CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) situations to death. Glass half full. Joke away depression. But on the inside I still feel like curling up in a ball and sobbing.

This hormonal imbalance and the depression that has come with it sucks ass! I am starting to feel like Sybil, with multiple personalities. I’m on an emotional high, everything is peachy and then BAM, sobbing because all my lady parts are gone and I can’t have anymore babies. (I had my tubes tied 10 years ago, so more babies went out the window long before the hysterectomy!) A few days ago, I lost it and cried because I ran out of milk. Can you say “basket case”? 

I know I need to process through the emotions or they will manifest in some other way, like anger. My poor hubby is nearing Sainthood with what he is putting up with. Hats off to him. This up and down exercise is screwing with my recovery program as well.

My morning prayer and meditation have been reduced to, “God please help me. Thanks. Amen.” And then reading the Daily Reflections. I have to read it 3 or 4 times to comprehend because my mind is racing with nonsense. I am very grateful for many of the AA one-liners:

  • Back to basics
  • Keep it simple
  • One day at a time
  • Progress not perfection

These have been a staple in my haphazard brain lately. I can tell that the hormone replacement therapy is helping because the depression is lifting slowly. It’s not all day, every day and certainly not as dark and scary as it was 2 weeks ago. My Bipolar is trying to have some fun with me now. I know that’s just a wave I have to ride and when the manic hits, journal and treat myself with kid gloves because that’s when I am susceptible to counterproductive behavior.

For those of you old enough to remember, Gloria Estefan had a hit song years ago titled, “Coming Out of the Dark”. That’s what keeps playing in my head. I am coming out of a very dark place. By the grace of God, I have a wonderful support system that has held me up during this ICKY ordeal.

As long as I don’t stay silent, my thoughts and actions won’t get deadly. Dual diagnoses is no laughing matter. I am blessed that I can laugh at myself but when I fake it I am just being a fool. When I choose to ignore or run away from feelings and emotions instead of facing them the disease starts winning. Cunning, baffling and powerful. Walking through the stuff means I am not stuffing it down to have it ambush me later. A very dear friend always tells me, “You don’t have to get through it gracefully, you just gotta’ get through it. And I AM.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go…

This Dr. Seuss book is one of my favorite books of all time. I have given it as a graduation gift to kindergarten, 8th grade, high school, college and even law school. But none have been as profound as when I have given this book to someone who is starting their journey in recovery.

“You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” Change your playground. How many times do we hear that?

“And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” One day at a time. That’s all we can handle.

“I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against YOU.” When we allow ourselves to spend time in our own head, the disease of addiction WILL play horrible, scary games with us.

“On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far, and face up to your problems, whatever they are.” No matter how far we need to go to get our but in a chair at a meeting, we do it. Meeting makers make it! That’s a fact.

“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 3/4 percent guaranteed.)” By doing “the next right thing” on a “one day at a time” basis, you WILL succeed.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Mental Illness, addiction, whatever ailment it may be. This book is so simple, truthful and uplifting. I read it often. It helps keep me grounded. Try it, you might like it.

WHAT A LIFE.

~Me

Ahhhhh….

I love that ahhhh feeling. You know the one. Release. So bottled up you feel like you’re gonna’ explode and then…ahhhh.

I met with my med. doc and my head doc today. Med doc and I have been together since 2004. 10 years. WOW! For being a Duke fan, he is amazeballz when it comes to psych meds. Of course we have our differences with the whole Duke/UNC thing, but I forgive him. He says that the HRT (hormone replacement therapy) should help get me back on track and pull me out of this depression. No med changes right now. He thinks HRT will enhance my cocktail once it gets going in my system. Glad to hear it because I don’t like feeling like I am moving mountains just getting out of bed in the morning. It was fun informing him that there is a published book titled “Duke Sucks” and that I am the proud owner of a copy.

My head doc, who I call H-bomb, met with me for an hour. It was exhausting. Talk about release. I haven’t seen him since December of last year. I was able to talk through a BUTT LOAD of stuff. That ahhhh feeling of release that booze used to give me I received by puking out all the crap I had bottled up inside. Crap I didn’t even know I had been bottling up. I go to a lot of AA meetings and thought I had my cards on the table. Yeah, not so much. So, H-bomb got an earful. And I got my money’s worth.

I am so blessed to have these two as part of my support system. They have been by my side through some ugly times. I am going to start seeing H-bomb on a biweekly basis for awhile until things level out. With hubby on the road again, it will be good to have this outlet. There’s only so much one should put out on the table at AA meetings. And I feel a responsibility to my med doc, even if he is a Duke fan, to keep myself in check. He’s got a lot of time invested in me. And he helps give me that Ahhhh feeling.

WHAT A LIFE.

~Me

Sound mind and body.

Yes, I am of sound mind and body. As in, my mind and body make TONS of sounds!

Currently, my skull is vibrating from all the noise my mind is making. The demons (addiction, mental illness) know that I have appointments with my head doc and my med doc tomorrow. I have been forcing myself to get to near daily AA meetings, which is pissing one demon off in particular. With my morning prayer and meditation, the demons all scream in pain. It’s not long before they dress their wounds and come back fighting. They talk, they scheme, they scream. But the awesome thing is that this morning, I surrendered. I’m not fighting back. My Higher Power has this. God has my six. If I was fighting, my ass would have been toast before I got out of bed. This trip to depression street has really taken it’s toll on me. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. But it won’t win.

I mentioned physically. OMG! I have gained over 25 pounds in 2 months. I promise I am not the vain type, but on a 5 foot, zero inch frame, 25 pounds is A LOT, especially when I was over weight to begin with. So, yes, my body IS making tons of sounds. Snap, crackle, pop. I sound like a bowl of Rice Krispy’s when I move. I keep telling myself this is just a bump in the road, but those damn demons try to make me feel like I am the bump in the road. In reality, I know that as I emerge from this depression and get the green light to exercise from the doc after surgery, I will slowly shed these extra pounds. It’s just not that easy to fathom when I’m standing in front of the mirror naked after a shower.

It’s nice to know that I AM of “sound mind and body”. Hey, it’s MY fantasy, so I make the rules!

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me 

Weak then Strong?

So, let me get this straight…when I am weak then I am strong?! Say WHAT?

There is this really cool author named Paul who lived about 2000 years ago that wrote about this. I am paraphrasing here, but the gist of it was that Paul got boastful and basically egotistical about some stuff then got a thorn in his side. This thorn hurt like H-E-double hockey sticks. He pleaded with God to remove the thorn but God ignored him. Finally, God answered Paul with, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul later says that he will go on boasting about God’s grace because when he is weak he is strong. Hmmmmm….

Today I had the proverbial thorn in my side. I am still fighting physical pain and a pretty deep depression after having a total hysterectomy two months ago. Hubby was still on the road and wouldn’t be back ’til late afternoon. I woke up at 7:30 this morning and every ounce of my being screamed, “GO BACK TO SLEEP!”. I just started taking hormone replacement therapy yesterday in hopes of getting this depression under control and it was literally all I could do to walk down the stairs. I felt beat up. I felt weak. I felt pain. Made a cup of coffee in the Keurig. Sat on the couch…big mistake. My mind and body were ganging up on me. “JUST CURL UP AND REST FOR A MINUTE!”, I heard a voice say, just as my legs eased onto the couch and my head laid down perfectly on the arm rest. Sooooo comfy. NO, NO, NO. If I give in, it will be another wasted day. I will sit, lay and sleep the day away and hubby comes home to a mess. A messy wife, messy house. ICK! But yet, I feel so weak. I am in a full on battle now. Physical pain, weakness, feeling as if I just ran a marathon, yet all I have done is walk down the stairs to the kitchen and then to the couch. I start spiraling, getting down on myself with my military mentality. “Come on…Adapt, improvise, overcome!” Nothing. “Put your big girl panties on and get over yourself.” Worse. Then something inside me says, “Grace and mercy.”

My Higher Power is one really awesome dude. Just when I was about to throw in the towel this morning, I hear “Grace and mercy”. Ahhhh, there you are. And I wasn’t even pleading with Him to take out the painful thorn in my side. I didn’t have enough sense to think of THAT. I was too busy trying to be Super Woman and fix things myself. God came along and tapped me on the head as I was getting cocky and didn’t even know it. Yes, that’s right folks. I use my Higher Power in my mental illness just as well as my addiction. Next thing I know, I am showered and dressed and on my way to a meeting of sorts. I went to church this morning. It was great. God’s grace IS sufficient for me. And His power IS made perfect is weakness. As long as I get out of the way and let Him do what He does, I’m going to get through this depression. It WILL NOT drive me to drink again. But I gotta’ remember my weaknesses and where and WHO to seek strength from.

WHAT A LIFE!

~Me

Surrender to Win?

Hey y’all. I found this little gem in the depths of my old blog and thought I would kick off the new one with it because surrendering is something I have to do to have any type of serenity. With a dual diagnoses of addiction and mental illness it is easy for me to slip out of surrender mode and into FIGHT mode. When that happens, I get tired. When I get tired, I get sloppy. When I get sloppy, I lose the fight. Never fails. So you see, surrender is something I HAVE to do, every day, many times a day, to keep on track. Work in progress….

Hmmm…. surrender can be a very complex and heavy subject…. if “I” let it be. It’s quite a paradox in my sobriety, because I now know that I must “surrender to win” .

Now, coming from a military family, having served in the military and being close to a FANATIC about U.S. History…. “surrendering to win” makes no sense, goes against the grain of every successful battle plan and is the most asinine, ignoramus strategy that a military mind could ever conceive!! BUT….. when it was explained to me (over, and over, and over AND over again) in the realm of recovery, God intervened and helped soften that extremely HARD melon of mine so the concept could start sinking in. Here’s the jist of it…..

I had to give up on self-will and let my Higher Power (God) start calling the shots. Selfishness, self-centeredness and self-will were the taproots of my destructive behavior. I had been convinced that I was in control and the things I was controlling were “okay” and by the time I realized things were NOT “okay”, devastation was upon me. I had to surrender my will AND my life over to the care of God… EVERYTHING…not just the things I thought were out of control…. EVERY aspect of my life had to be surrendered. I mean, if you surrender as a prisoner of war, you don’t get to put conditions on it, do you? You don’t get to say… “OK, I surrender…. but only from 9-5, normal duty hours, then I’d like to go back to base camp, where I can kick it with my buddies. Then I promise to report back here and be your prisoner tomorrow at 0900 hrs.” No!! That’s not how it works. And, I was a prisoner of war, so to speak. That vodka bottle had me in its grips and I had no escape route. No way out. I was on lock down 24/7 and it was torture. (please do not take this as disrespect to our troops, as I in NO WAY put myself in the same category with them) And the simple fact was, EVERY aspect of my life WAS out of control. My physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health were bankrupt…. TOTALLY bankrupt. ALL of my relationships were in the pooper. Friendships…gone. Family…fed up. Intimate relationship…non-existant. Yes, life was OUT OF CONTROL!!

So, surrender was my only option. My last option. And now I understand that surrender, in this sense, implies enlightenment, not defeat. I could only surrender through courage, because my fear would never allow me to surrender. Once I turned my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understood Him , amazing things began to happen in my life. This cause-and-effect relationship between surrender and victory over life’s demons and challenges is what keeps me working the AA program and holding on to the promises that more will be revealed. (this paragraph was paraphrased a bit from the book “Undrunk” by A.J. Adams)

Today, I surrender every morning. I am constantly “surrendering” . It’s a very freeing feeling to surrender my troubles and let God’s will guide me to the solutions. And soooo…. what was once a complex and heavy subject for me, is now very simple and light!! And for this, I am so very grateful!! If God is your co-pilot, your sitting in the wrong seat!! (sorry, just had to throw that in there) :0)

And there you have it. Surrender, AND WIN!

What a life.

~Me