Being Bipolar isn't EASY

and the Art of Slowing it Down

Tag Archives: Alcohol

Easier is NOT Recovery

I don’t need to tell you – but I’m going to, it’s a hard knock life!

Like I made mention Tuesday was it? I am allowing the housework to still get to ME. Yes “allow”. Yes poor “me”. (Lol. Pity me not. I’m really spoiled rotten <White, American, comfortably unemployed… this list goes on> and just having a moment. In large part due the stress, the work that I create for myself, that will pass when I get this off my chest.)

I’m just not used to it & I had other plans for January. A little thing called 2018… Damn expectations! Looks like many a thing will be put ON HOLD until Spring.

And I don’t know about you but, as a consequence, it’s so much more ?enjoyable, is that the right word – that can’t be the right word, to do what is …easier! Ah the right word is that dirty little word “easier”. So let’s just be clear shall we? (For my sake, not yours.) Easier is not recovery. Easier is NOT mindfulness. But my point, about enjoyable, is that sometimes easier bring a levity/joy that we all need.

Nonetheless it reminds me of a quote that I just stumbled on & is now irking me – like the word irks? (I do) – ATM; …winners do daily what losers refuse to do. Or a better one, on my son’s school tee in fact (gotta love a good school) …Winners train & Losers complain.

What I don’t understand is why am I such a Loser? I love life. In fact I LOVE MY LIFE! Have v little to complain about, but in some ways I am complaining here. Read on & in a sec you’ll see why!

I clearly see that I still at 44 have a lot to work out. That is not a problem – the problem is with that I must put away the #negative selftalk (‘cuz I drank three glasses of wine last night, at this fragile time, I know better so this morning I’m a little fuzzy and I feel like a Loser – I’m smarter than that, not stronger) but like the adage – old habits die hard – it’s easy to beat myself up!

It was so v unrealistic of me to think one would cut the edge. ONE never cuts the edge!

It tastes and feels so good, most – if your like me – go for two. Or, shame on me, three last night. Yeah, okay – okay it’s not the end of the world, it was only three, but it was the wrong “break” to take. It was not in my best interest nor self care – which I need the more time for right now to be a G.O.L.F., Goddess of Light & Fun.

After all these years – I really know better <insert sigh> but to my point; I did what was easier.

And now, after another restless night, my activity online has been excessive this week and I am as impulsive as, well, always. Just feel like I am back to ground zero – because I tossed and turned beating myself up – up down, up down, up down… and now I feel like I am back to ground zero – because I tossed and turned beating myself up, which is mania really. Up down, up down, up down… that’s making me SAD. And I’m so v afraid of sad!

Ironically I am starting a cleanse today that I forgot Rahul & I had planned (that’s also not v mindful but damn if I don’t use this gift of a cleanse to think) and I cleaned the house yesterday so we’d have little to do today – so we could just enjoy a mindless family day on the PS4 and slow down this mania.

Wish me & my small nucleus luck? Mr. Remarkable has been working so v hard for him, his team, me/us, work lately – he needs a good funday & we all know remarkable boy wonder deserves it! And I/we really can’t afford a slip/setback at the moment.

Everything is NOT enough

So, get this? 

After ten (10) plus years I was hospitalized, again!? And all because Mr. Remarkable was in China. By no fault of our own, we’ve been involuntarily separated since mid July?! So as you can see, my husband wasn’t around to see me slip, in person. I don’t intend to offend anyone, but make light like a feather, as in the looney bin for 5 (five) days!?!?!?!?!?!? <insert a BIG frown> 

And so, here – with this photo (he was so v nice to comply), I take/took back my power! I did not “unite”/bond really with any of the other mentally ill patients. Was afraid to talk to them, really. Gather I shouldn’t say that! But most were hearing voices & secluded themselves to their, shared, rooms. It was really REALLY sad.

You can trust however that I did try to reach many. But they were fairly unreachable!?!? Did I mention that it was sad? Entirely depressing…

I did however meet a REALLY stand up guy! David. (Note to reader: I think it okay to use his real name here – in case he ever reads this, although it’s against my blogwide policy.) Trust, I’ll never see him again!! Which is really hard b/c like I said: he was a really stand up guy. Caught in a similar, but not, situation at the same time in Seven Hills (Las Vegas) to detox. It was serendipitous. 

Mental Health institutions (is a Psychiatric Hospital an institution?) are tricky and although I’d like to help him along his recovery, I cannot. It would have been selfish of me to leave a call back number when I called to say “it was nice meeting you”. Even though I do need friends, that I can touch, while here on an extended holiday in Las Vegas. 

God help me make friends in Las Vegas!? It’d be good to get out of the house more often…

But, I digress. David, if your listening, I respect & admire you! Your (bipolar) mom should be proud. I pray that giving up the sauce will unite you more intimately with others. Alcoholism is an albeit common but more importantly lonely disease. Hence the problem, I gather. I pray that your estranged twenty (20) something year old daughter let’s you in. Try to get in? I imagine that part of your rehabilitation is for your relationship w/ her?? Operative word, your! You gotta do this for yourself! 

Finally, I’ll close by saying: (Chopra is often right.)  I trust if you look for God in other, healthier/wealthier, places you’ll find him or her. Good luck! Xx

One (1) day sober

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The title however catching is deceiving; my goal is not sobriety. Gratefully I never hit rock bottom but I hit my bottom. If you can appreciate that, you understand that most things are relative!

My relationship with alcohol started at a young age. It started innocuously; I was just ‘experimenting’ but I grew to abuse it over the years – I used it to self medicate. As of late I have a drink everyday; sometimes as little as 1 (one) but occasionally as many as 4 (four). I’ve been in denial, for much too long that my drinking is in fact is a problem and the denial has made matters worse; not unlike the big belly Pooh got from his honey pot!

Whether your aware of it or not, alcohol is everywhere you go. It’s so very accessible that I don’t know how people entirely abstain from it! The temptations are harder than I can possibly imagine. That said however I can appreciate coming to the conclusion: “it’ s just not serving me any longer”! That was the conclusion I had until I had long discussions with my best friend, husband & psychiatrist!

In short, they don’t think that I fit the alcoholic profile. I trust that they all have my best interest at heart and we are all very well aware of the bipolar/alcohol relationship but they all have drawn the same conclusion and suggested that I start by giving myself a quota. i.e. seven (7) glasses a week. If I drink all seven (7) in one night at dinner with friends, so be it. Or if I choose, I could enjoy one (1) glass a day. Once I learn to moderate it, I can taper off. The point is not to punish myself nor go overboard and abstain forever.

There’s a famous quote that Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I may very well want different results, as I now appreciate that my self-medicating has gone on far too long. What I want now is to be restored to sanity!

And so my theory goes: Discipline can restore me to sanity, writing can restore me to sanity, more meditation & yoga can restore me to sanity! I am not going to find sanity in another glass of wine!

And so I have taken the first step and set a quota. I pray that God helps me find new & improved ways to cope with the daily grind. I trust that she will as I have opened myself to her. With that I am considering the possibility of a life coach to ensure my short term success!

Am I an addict?

AuthenticME

Am I an addict? I like to drink. I would drink everyday if my husband would let me… and as a family, my (non blood related) husband included, we imbibe a lot!

On vacation this fall, I drank every day! Every night and every afternoon… I would start, at lunch, by skimming a drink off the left over bottle from the night before and wait until we started to make dinner to have a second and then a third and then usually another before bed… after three weeks I was disgusted. I could no longer get through the day without one drink!

So I decided to cut back. I decided that a) I wouldn’t drink alone, b) I wouldn’t drink before five and c) unless it was a special occasion – I would limit my drinks to two. It’s been a mere month and I have broken every rule! I repeat: I like to drink!!

So I ask… Am I an addict?

I started drinking juice and barley tea to ward of the craving for something different, water gets boring, and it works when I do it deliberately but if I am lazy and don’t consciously curb my appetite I can slip and have a drink or two… that even after I’ve already consumed the other empty calories?!

My vacation this fall scared me, but is that enough? The thought of losing my family to a disease like alcoholism seems so absurd, but it happens all the time! It would royally suck to lose my boys!!!

In truth, I don’t want to end up in AA and never drink again. I’ve said this before: I can’t imagine social events or holiday dinners without a glass of wine… and I admit sometimes, at social events, I drink to curb the nervousness – sometimes I wonder “Will anyone like me?” – “Do I have anything interesting to talk about?” but other times when it’s just me and my two (2) year old son, after a long day, I want a drink?!

I trust that I am not alone. I know many people, albeit many other mothers, all over the world of many shapes and sizes, drink for a myriad of reasons – I just wish that I knew my reason. Maybe I just like the high. Maybe I just like checking out after a few? …so I ask again with all sincerity: Am I an addict?? …How serious is my problem??? Do I have a problem???? Am I hiding from something, running from something?????

Note to reader: I am just rummaging through some old drafts on another sleepless night… I wrote this one two (2) years ago, my son is now four and a half (4.5). Nothing’s changed I still like to drink… and so I am inspired & have I’ve decided to cut back. I decided that a) I am going to attempt to not drink alone! That’s it. I have one (1) rule.

An Ode to Rose Petals

Negativity really has a bad rap!

But to me it’s just one side of the coin. It’s a fact: there is joy and there is pain; just like there is day and there is night. Just like there is winning and losing – good and evil, happy times and sad times… this is life in its totality! The plus’s and the minus’s.

But not everyone sees that.

Instead everyone under this great big sun wants to dance around barefoot in the tall grass with the breeze in their hair while it is showering rose petals.

… and yet I cannot relate because this quote that I cannot quite recall haunts ME. It’s something about how one can only see light through the darkness.

And that is something that I have accepted at the core of my being. It’s not dissimilar to the faith that I have that the sun will always rise.

With this acceptance comes a dilemma, as I want my whole self to be heard. I want my whole self to be felt. But I am learning that you can’t be brutally honest with everyone because the whole truth can hurt. …this dilemma gnaws at my soul because I am desperate to give my whole/true self to someone but when I look around the only one that I think can handle it is myself!

So here’s a dose of my own medicine. Here’s a stab at being brutally honest with someone: When I have a hard look in the mirror and seen a lie; a fake!

!!!???!?!

I can’t tell you how many times that I have questioned my authenticity since becoming a yoga teacher. With the title comes a sense of responsibility – an image of a role model, no?

But I am no role model. I am not living the best yogic life. Instead, for example, I drank a fight with my sister away just before being caught plastering pictures of my family on Facebook while arguing with my husband and neglecting my four (4) year old son. And that was just yesterday!

Some yoga teacher. I don’t feel better. I feel dark. Sad even. So, I think I will crawl under a blanket and disappear until the sun finds a way to peel open my eyes!

For tomorrow I start a detox, a new exercise regime & a renewed commitment to my morning practice. I am lucky it’s Spring. It’s high time to reflect – to reinvent. …and maybe just maybe it’s high time that this yogini give some thought to why everyone under this great big sun wants to dance around barefoot in the tall grass with the breeze in their hair while it is showering rose petals!

My therapist told me to

woman-on-therapist-couch

My therapist told me to. My therapist told me to write about “my depressed states”?!

And that, that’s a really hard charge because as I have told you, I don’t think that I have it! I didn’t think that I could do it! And then like most things flow; this article came across my path.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/17/the-subtle-symptoms-of-depression/

You should take a moment to look at it! It’s from Forbes & extremely educating. I read it & realized I am a walking talking high functioning depressed wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, screenwriter, blogger, yoga teacher?!

Now don’t get me wrong, in my long/short life (which is it today?) there’s a lot whole hell of a lot about myself, my life, my family, others that I have had to learn how to accept and turn a compassionate heart towards; you know the kind of things that one doesn’t want said at their wake but just thinking about how beautifully the painting of my life, my family’s life, looks above the fireplace makes me smile… smile on the inside. If you’re a perfectionist, I trust that you know what I mean.

If I am honest, as of late, when I am depressed I withdraw and I rearrange my calendar so that I don’t have to leave the house. I cancel lunch dates, play dates, skip yoga classes… being anti social furthers my depressed state. I neglect exercise, sleep longer than ‘normal’ and thus neglect my morning spiritual rituals. I find myself having too much liquid at lunch and/or at dinner – you know the kind that we don’t serve our kids and thus I gain weight! …gaining weight furthers my depressed state which affects my sex drive which affects my relationship with my husband which only furthers my depressed state… then I get negative, negative about everything.

And I’ve been doing that a lot lately! I haven’t hit rock bottom and jumped on the negative band wagon but if I am not careful, it’s just around the corner!

…don’t get me wrong, I am and am not DEPRESSED I survive because I toggle. I am grateful for this article teaching me about toggling… I am a toggler!

I bounce around between the magic moments. Gratefully I practice gratitude and can find many magic moments that make my life worth living but if I graphed it, it would be a pretty erratic graph. Sometimes, like many bipolars, I can spike several times in one week, but now that I am relatively stable or was fooling myself that I was before I visited with my therapist last week, I usually spike a few times a year.

Note to self: Don’t talk to your therapist about your Screenplay anymore! You didn’t need to know that you are a toggler! ;) … I can see my first meeting now: “Hello, My name is XXX & I am a toggler! I am here because I want to stop toggling!!!”

If that wasn’t enough, fully present & conscious I do things that I know that I don’t want to do, like drink coffee. Bear with me dear reader – it may at first sound like a feeble attempt to fill up this post, even I thought it was a little pathetic when I wrote it, BUT coffee is a BIG dehydrator and false stimulator that I wish that I had access to naturally. I notice when I am off coffee that things like a smile, a hug, yoga, coconut juice or kefir pick me up!

I can’t tell you how many times that I have been in the kitchen, habitually like a robot taking the coffee beans out of the pantry and the grinder out of the cupboard saying to myself: “You don’t really want to do this”… “No, I really want to do this”… “What’s the harm?”… all the while mindlessly hearing the pitter patter of the beans falling against the walls of the grinder?!

See that proves it. I am a toggler! You can only imagine if I toggle with something so small as my coffee drinking that I toggle with much bigger daemons in the closet.

…and here I want to close by saying “Pfew. That felt good! I am glad that I listened to my therapist!” But that would be in part a small lie. As I just found out that I toggle.

I think that this post is a good start to get me thinking about what a BIG role depression plays in my life. I know that I have only scratched the surface of the iceberg, I have much more to brew over – pun intended… Question is what am I going to do about it? There is only so much that Uncle Google can answer!

…I think that I’ll do something super superficial, but all that I am prepared to do now @ 2:44am MT, and vow to not make a pot of coffee today!

I’ve got this

denial

Dearest Cici, the suicidal woman in denial that I recently posted about, you helped ME with a struggle of my own! So I just want to say THANK YOU CICI and share that I struggle with denial too!

If I am honest, I have always liked to drink since I started in my teens but for the past few years, namely two (2), I have been drinking more than usual. Being an expat and stay at home can be hard and in retrospect I gather I was moderately depressed… always reaching for a glass to cure my daily woes.

Typically, while starting dinner, I’d open a bottle of wine and have just two glasses of wine by dinner’s end. Problem is, that I was doing it whenever humanly possible! My husband was not pleased!! Basically it became the way to end the day, to shut down. Problem is that I would go to bed immediately after putting my son to bed and sadly before spending quality time with my husband?! My poor husband! As if the fact that I don’t shower every day wasn’t enough!

…I learned years ago that his dominant love language is “quality time” and I repeatedly selfishly disregarded it these past few years!? (Reader if you do not know, kindly see http://www.5lovelanguages.com. It has helped my husband and I make sense of one another’s needs over the years.)

Needless to say I thought I am/was fully aware of the potential dangers that Bipolars have with drug/alcohol abuse, I have been dealing with being bipolar for ten (10) years. So I’ve heard the stories, witnessed the struggles… but apparently I didn’t take them to heart, apparently I wasn’t really listening. Apparently I wasn’t ready to hear it. After all, it was often only 2 (two) glasses…

During this time I sought the help of our local AA, Alcoholics Anonymous Chapter; however they tried, they couldn’t help ME as I was unable to accept the severity of my drinking problem because I never hit rock bottom! I couldn’t connect to their stories; their real life nightmares. And I read Chopra’s “Freedom from Addiction”… he has great advice and talks about the great goal but I couldn’t manage to sit twice a day!

To my knowledge, my drinking didn’t impact other aspects of my life; only my marriage?! I gather I took it for granted; feeling very secure. It is dangerous to feel so secure!

I was not completely unaware that I lazily, sheepisly, reached for a glass to relax or cope with the stresses of daily life but I constantly minimized its consequences and was unable to face the addiction aspect of it!

When I married my ‘soul mate’ in 2009, I vowed “with all that I am and all that I am to become”… mind you, I had no intention of becoming an Alcoholic then and I still don’t now! The odds might be against ME but I have been fighting the battle squandering bottle after bottle down the drain! How very wasteful of me!

Today, I can comfortably share this with you because I am on the mend! I have been trying to address these daily 2 glasses since they reared their ugly head! I have learned a lot about myself in the process. Healed even… I am still drinking, now, but I learned that my “drinking problem” and “rock bottom” are relative. Gratefully, I no longer drink to escape but I drink because I like the taste!

It’s taken hard work, it’s been two (2) long years… not days, not weeks, nor months but years! Now I am drinking considerably less and making relative leaps and bounds with other constructive endeavors in my life! But I don’t want to get into all that now… What I want to share today about denial is what’s clearer to ME after working to reach Cici.

I am finally accepting* my denial and have come to the realization that I am no good to anybody if I cannot walk the talk. So thank you Cici. I’ve got this. Now, I’ve got a handle on this!! You made that message click for ME! Now I see that I can’t help anyone else if I can’t help myself. And I so want to do something positive in this world!

Clearer still is that I learned like the image above depicts, denial is a BIG waste of time… if any of you have advice on just how I can ever make up for the last two (2) years, I am all ears! But I trust that it’s not possible. All I can do now is try to make today all the more remarkable to make up for it!

Clearest of all, I love myself! I mean, I am really beginning to prove that love myself and unconditionally at that. i.e. It’s okay that I knew but didn’t KNOW that there was a better way, an easier way to ease release. Fortunately, for ME, I was never held accountable; rather I was repeatedly forgiven. I recognize that I might not be so lucky next time.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my dearest Husband now, at this very moment, for all of his listening and for all of his support. I feel guilty for not thanking him first… Gratefully he let my denial take it’s course, watched it closely, and did not force ME to seek treatment and quit drinking cold turkey. He understands as Gabby Bernstein does that “marriage is a holy relationship in which two people hold space for each other to grow, learn and heal”. I have grown. I have learned. I am healing… I just hope that I haven’t done too much damage in the process.

Many of my role models are recovering alcoholics – Adele, Brene Brown, Gabby (as mentioned above)… I admire their discipline but I cannot seem to wrap my head around a life devoid of alcohol! Pathetic, I agree, but it’s deeply engrained in ME that many a celebration, big & small, like a new job or your child’s first visit from the tooth fairy, go hand in hand with an alcoholic beverage. In my opinion, filet mignon most certainly does. I might not each much steak anymore but when I do I want a big rich cab(ernet) to accompany it…

As for the rest of you, I am grateful for the ability to put myself out there, to be honest and to share this with you today. If you sense that you are in denial about something. Do YOURSELF a favor. Sit quietly for as long as you need, it may be a week – it may be a month, and follow Lee Jampolsky’s advice to “ask yourself what is really important, and then have the wisdom and courage to build your life around the answer”.

Sat nam

*Kindly Note: I use the present tense of acceptance. It is, I am, a work in progress and my awareness of this weakness needs to remain present. My hope is that writing this post will help me keep my drinking in check, reinforce that I have any number of other tools to reach for first and that drinking should be a last resort to handle stress. Who knows, the next thing that you may hear is that I have given it up all together… at two (2) in the morning, it seems clear to me that I should take my abstinence a step further & just saving it for special occasions. I do not need to loose any more sleep on just an average dinner. #2glasses