Monthly Archives: March 2015

Starred Up A Movie About Prison Life

The movie Starred Up is an Australian film that is brutally beautiful in it’s honesty. It tells the story of a young offender sent to the same prison where his father has been serving time. The son is angry, violent, and wants nothing from anyone.

When I first started drinking it was with a group of men that had mostly served time for one thing or another. I was 17 and they were all much older. I lived a double life. I was the good girl at home and work and after I was the “housemother” to a group of ex-cons, alcoholics, thieves and basic lowlife characters. It was with them that I felt the most comfortable. Today I wouldn’t. But there was some genuine hurt in these people’s past. Some were following in the footsteps of their fathers. Just doing the only thing they knew. Some were genuinely evil and there was no hope for them. One should have been locked away for good but never got caught at anything. I made friends with a few that I wished I could help but I couldn’t even help myself then. Yes, some very bad things happened during that time period. The good ones tried, if they were around, to stop it. But I chose to be there because I thought it was where I belonged. An educated, middle class white girl drinking herself into oblivion every night at 17 and continuing until I was about 24. At that time things had gotten so bad even they didn’t want me around and I have the scars to show for it. So I left that group and started my binge drinking years. It was a little better, I wasn’t getting robbed or beaten or other stuff but not much better. What I’m trying to say is I wasn’t any better than anyone else. We all had our demons and were dealing with them in different ways. None of them good. I just paid a higher price because I was often the only female. Do I forgive them? Some I do and others I never will. It would cost me the rest of my sanity to do so. So I bury it with a lot of other things and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I still startle easily, I still have drunk dreams or nightmares, I don’t like a man’s loud booming voice but I go on. I have to.

I Once Was Blind

I can finally admit the reason people do not want to answer my phone calls or spend time with me. I am a negative person 85% of the time. When I do finally get to talk to someone I immediately start unloading my baggage. This can’t be fun for anyone. I have made excuses and put off trying therapy again for too long. Even if I go and they just listen it might help to stop this cycle. I know that CBT won’t cut it but there has to be something to fit my needs. The only problem is Medicare but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Moments of clarity come to me when I am manic. Today I went from manic to depressed to manic to depressed in hours. I was at the hairdressers and the receptionist is in college for psychology. She noticed it and asked me about it. I just thought it was another day. I’m going to have to talk to my doctor about it. I am getting worse it seams. When other people are commenting that they are worried and I can’t see why it’s a problem. Usually I know what’s going on. When I’m telling my dad we need toothpicks because my ears are yucky and don’t even know I have said the wrong word until he asks me twice about it there is something wrong. So it’s time to acknowledge I need more help. I hate doing it. But if I don’t I will be even lonelier than I am now.

Taking Care of Business and Finding Your Version of Happy

After speaking to my alcoholic brother last night and letting it bother me to the point of feeling sick I decided some changes had to be made. They’re going to be big ones and the people in my life are not going to like them. But they have to be done. I will no longer speak to my brother until he understands that I am an Alcoholic. He made comments about my road trip and maybe the band would buy me shots. It was pointless to argue with him because he was drunk but I did anyway. I told him I have been sober for almost 6 years and I would never disrespect the person I was going to see who is also sober by drinking. Besides I don’t want to. He said I didn’t have a problem I reminded him of how I drank him under the table and stuck him with a huge tab right before I quit drinking. He’s 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighs about 275. Plus he’s been drinking longer than me because he’s 7 years older. He was quiet for a few minutes then said “yeah but you hooked me up with that girl haha” so pointless. I’m not doing it anymore. I have always been in his corner because no one else was except my mom. With her gone he had no one. And when we were little he didn’t have it easy and was always there for me when our parents were drinking. But we are adults now and my father has been sober since I was 9. Being Bipolar I am greatly affected by other people’s energy and what they say and do. If you hurt me that hurt will stay in my head for a very long time. I am not like other Bipolar people, actually we are all a little different. I just happen to have extenuating circumstances that go with my diagnosis. The Social Phobia, Conversion Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, PTSD (from what I don’t know), Celiac Disease, Neutropenia, Leukopenia, Loss of White Matter (Significant in brain), Tremors, Stuttering, Hyperpigmentation, Loss of pigmentation, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Spinal Stenosis, it goes on and on. So I can’t take on the additional crap from other people.

My sister never deals with any of it. I helped her pay for groceries the other day and the found out she went out to dinner with a bunch of friends that included a bottle of wine that she bought the table. Not happening. Her husband said he wasn’t helping my father because my father didn’t help them and didn’t come over to see the kids. He’s lucky I quit drinking or I would have drop kicked him in the nuts. Grow up put your big boy pants on get a full time job and shut the f**k up. My father has done a lot for them that went unappreciated. Sorry you didn’t make it as a rock star but no one talks bad about my father except me. So unless my boys need something they will get no money from me.

That brings me to my dad. He does not want me to do this road trip. Too bad. I have spent over 5 and a half years at home so he wouldn’t worry and get upset when I left the house. This isn’t living. He is 72 and has had his life I am 42 and spent most of mine drunk. It’s time for me to try to do things that make me happy while I can. I will have to try hard not to listen and worry about what he’s going to say and do. Life is short and right now I don’t have much of One. It isn’t normal to go days sometimes a week with no social interaction. I will eventually start to decompensate. Or decompose that is what the computer keeps trying to put in for me. Lol

Accountability, Honesty, and Being Your Own Advocate

Sometimes I forget to hold myself accountable for my actions and words. I also forget to give myself a break. I got myself to where I am today. It’s nice to be able to have the help of music and other things I enjoy. I am grateful that some people have reached out to me. I am grateful that some musicians and artists are honest in their own work. That being said, they are in no way responsible for any of my actions past or present. Or in the future. I can show my gratitude and respect but it doesn’t mean they are responsible for my well being. The only person who is, is me. I may not do the best job at it but it’s still up to me to do it. I am the one who needs to look up new advances in medicine, or side effects of medications, what scientists have found recently, or if my doctor is still the right fit for me.

If you have a doctor that discourages you from reading about an illness you have been diagnosed with than I suggest you look at other doctors. My favorite doctor is a Hematologist who was actually pleasantly surprised at what I knew about Celiac Disease and Bipolar Disorder. It made his job a little easier. He encouraged me to keep reading about my illnesses because medicine is constantly evolving. Too bad my primary care doctor and a few others do not see it that way. They take offense when questioned and rush you out the door without even listening. This is one of the reasons I have not been to a regular doctor in a year. I have only been to my Psychiatrist and had my kidneys tested by one blood test. Which showed something going on but not what. They couldn’t do further testing because it was just to see if I could donate to my dad.

So it’s my own fault that I’m ill. My hair is falling out, I have constant migraines, light hurts my eyes, I have pain in the upper middle of my stomach where my ulcer is and where I get gallbladder pain, I have pain under my right ribcage, my hands and feet swell, my neck and shoulders are almost unbearable, my face hurts whether this is from the two cysts in my sinus cavity or not I don’t know. I’m more and more confused and forget things. I see words rearranged and write them wrong. My skin has too much pigmentation in some areas and not enough in others. I’m probably going through menopause at 42 but a year ago my primary care doc said “no”. Women with Celiac tend to have Polycystic Ovary Disease and go through menopause early. I have always had all the symptoms of Polycystic but no one ever said anything, as usual. I have not had a period in over a year so…….? I’m celibate so unless I was visited by aliens there no other explanation. But it’s ok after April I will go to Boston where there is a Celiac Center and let them do what they want and they can also help with the Bipolar. I’m kind of done complaining with no one listening it’s time to just DO something about it. I don’t want to be on the outside looking in anymore.

My Not So Good Friend ANGER

When I get angry I have to leave the situation. My anger mostly comes out in tears and stuttering these days. Once in awhile I can feel it bubbling into something else. Like right now. It’s been a bad day and to read about kids cutting themselves over a member of One Direction is too much for me today. I want to tell them “I’ll give you something real to cut over idiots” and you should all have a lobotomy. But that would be mean and wrong. But if that’s the only thing that is getting you down count yourself lucky. It is so frustrating to try to identify with this kind of behavior but it’s common. I think about my depression and what happened today and I want to disappear. What makes me different from them? I want to say a lot but everyone has a right to their feelings. I’m kind of tired of the political correctness of it all. It sickens me. Makes me tired. So I am done today.

I’m Trying & You Don’t Know How Hard

My father is having surgery tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and I am driving him to the hospital. My night time meds will still be in my system, I am at my worst in the morning and get a little better as the day goes on. I will have a slight stutter and tremors when talking to the staff at the hospital. They will look at me in a strange way and wonder what is going on. My cognitive functions will be low, things like word grasping and short term memory, I will try to write stuff down but with the tremors it will be difficult. How do I know this? Because I have been through it before. Because I live with my dad it is assumed I will automatically take care of these things and only call my sister and brother in an extreme emergency.

When I tried to get my sister to help out this time she said she “thought” she could drive and come to our house. While she was there she would “maybe clean if one of the dogs didn’t bite her like last time because it really really hurt”. There is no reason she can’t drive the doctors told her she was NOT having seizures it was stress. Insulting me about the cleanliness of the house is not the way to go and I know the dogs are a pain but we never have company and Chihuahuas are territorial. I got so frustrated I said forget it, it’s ok I can do it. So as usual I am doing it.

My father won’t hear half of what is being said to him but will pretend he does. He won’t ask questions and will become rude. I will have to get in the middle. In return he will say cruel things to me. He does this because he is scared. If there is a blood clot it could go to his heart or brain and kill him. Once again I am left to watch a parent suffer and possibly die. The selfishness of both siblings amazes me. I am mentally and physically I’ll yet left to deal with the caretaking of our father. I know I complain a lot I do so here because there is literally not another place or person to go to. I am almost at the end of what I can handle. The anger inside is consuming me. The fear of losing another parent and not knowing what will happen to me after is giving my ulcer ulcers. I don’t belong anywhere or with anyone. What would happen to my dogs? Who’s going to tell me they love me at least every other night before bed? I’m sorry. So sorry.

Off The Wagon

I won’t lie. On really, really, bad days like today I think about about drinking. The escape it gave me from dealing with any pain or anxiety. The way I didn’t feel like an outsider anymore, I felt included, a part of something. Life I guess. I knew as soon as I woke up and heard ” Godamn” several times while the drawers were being slammed that it wasn’t going to be good. My father is going in for surgery on his fistula Thursday. He’s scared but won’t admit it. He also refuses to write what he wants done should anything happen during surgery. He’s 71 and doesn’t hear well in one ear either. What set him off this morning was opening the $4000 bill from the dialysis center. I didn’t help any by telling him he needs to get a lawyer and make them clear his bill and pay for his surgery because they are the ones that poked a hole through his fistula more than once. When he told me I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about I was hurt and angry. I just left. I may be an alcoholic and diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder but I am not stupid. I wish people would stop treating me as if I am.

The problem with drinking again this time is too many people know I am sober and for how long. This time the fall would be longer and harder. This time I wouldn’t stop until I physically shut down. I know this. My bestfriend said to me she was scared if I ever drank again. When I asked her why she said “Dana, you only want to remember the fun and we did have fun but think about it. Everytime you tried to hurt yourself you were drunk. I’m afraid next time you will succeed.” she was crying when she said this. She’s not a person that cries so I knew she meant it. My own family doesn’t discuss it. They have never encouraged me or offered support. They keep a silent watchful eye on me at all times and that is it. Do I deserve a pat on the back after what I put them through? No, probably not. But at 42 I don’t think I should have to play 20 questions with everyone everytime I leave the house. I have almost 6 years under my belt but in an alcoholics world time doesn’t mean anything. I have seen people that have 25 years of sobriety and one day something happens and that’s all it takes. For one man it was his daughter dying he never got sober again and he himself passed away a year later. My brother’s friend had been sober for years, a new baby and wife. The problem was he was living a lie and couldn’t take it anymore. I knew he was gay and so did my mother and brother but that was it. He left his family and a few months later choked on his own vomit because he felt ashamed of who he was. How I cried for him because a part of me could understand the isolation and loneliness he must have felt even though he was surrounded by people.

So today I didn’t drink. I told my father in his good ear that I love him and that’s all I can do right now. I can’t force my sister or brother to help me if they are not capable or willing. I can only control what I do. And what I want to do is be there like he’s been there to bail me out or sit beside me while I cry and tell me it’s ok. I’ll tell him the same “It’s ok Dad, it’s ok”. I love you.

A Weighty Issue

Since I have lost weight not one person wants to go clothes shopping with me. I can’t understand this.My sister who has always had issues about her body especially won’t. I’m getting a little pissed off at this point. Now she is making comments about me being too thin. Comments about chicken legs and my face being sunken in. It wasn’t bad enough she was nowhere to be found when I was subjected to public humiliation being 250 pounds but now I have to hear this from her because for the first time in our lives I weigh less than her. She won’t help me pick anything out for the concerts I am going to. She knows it’s important and still won’t. And yet I helped her buy her family groceries yesterday. I know I should let it go, but it’s hard. I am not on a diet I am sick. To what extent I don’t know yet. So if you see me give me a break ok?

Sexism in The Psych Ward

When I first started on this Mental Health roller coaster at 17 it was a nightmare. We all knew I had issues with depression and severe anxiety. I was self medicating with alcohol and not disclosing this yet. The first three doctors had me fill out a sheet of questions and hand them in. Then I would speak to the doctor. Each one was pretty much the same. “So you are depressed and anxious?” to which I would reply “yes”. “Any abuse in your family that you maybe not telling me?” “NO” “Absolutely not” I would answer. They would shuffle papers not asking anything else write a prescription for an antidepressant and send me to a therapist. That was it. The therapist was always female and also would cling to the idea of abuse. One going far enough to suggest something about my father. My father is the most honest, hard working, modest, unsexual, somewhat boring in a genius way, person I know. No one was going to suggest anything so ugly about him not while I was alive. After the fourth therapist did this I had had enough. And I told her so. I was never molested or beaten by a family member so get over it and move on! And I am not doing written homework that takes hours everyday while trying to maintain a 50 to 60 hour a week job. The antidepressants do not work and I dry heave frequently because of the anxiety. Not one of them listened or asked different questions.

So I kept taking different antidepressants and drugs like buspirone that help with anxiety and social phobia but have to be in your system for a time to work. I was never given a fast acting antianxiety medication which would have made a huge difference if I had been.

In between I had hospital stays in Psych Wards. I don’t reccomend them. Most are locked down co-ed wards and you are placed with people detoxing and the mentally ill of all degrees. For a young girl this is frightening to say the least. You really have no say about when you are released. You do not get any help from doctors. You are their to be watched over and to make sure you do not hurt yourself or anyone else. That’s it. I don’t think I even saw a doctor just nurses.

I was finally diagnosed as Bipolar a few years ago by an excellent doctor that I trust. I needed to go in for ECT, my depressive state had lasted a little over a year and I couldn’t take it anymore. So I went into his hospital to have the procedure done. Small problem. There was a blip on my EKG and they were not equipped to deal with an emergency heart attack. They sent me to the nearest hospital by ambulance that performs ECT so I could have it done there. I thought no problem. I was wrong.

The doctor in charge there didn’t believe in my medications so he witheld them from me the entire time I was there. When I tried to question it a nurse took me aside. She told me not to argue with him because he would keep me longer. My mouth was hanging open. 2 of my meds if you just stop you could have a seizure. Didn’t matter. I kept my mouth shut and watched elderly patients being robbed of food by drug addicts, a very sick man who just stayed in bed moaning loudly that he was in pain repeatedly and yes medications being witheld. I was also made to attend meetings 3 times a day even though I was not there for that. I was only there for ECT and that was suppose to be it. I was feeling the rage kicking in. I had my round of ECT that I will never repeat again.

As the doctor did rounds the next day he got to me. He patted me on the head and told me I was “too young and pretty for ECT and all those meds I just needed some therapy” and then he walked away.

On the day I was finally released I made sure all the paperwork was signed and being held by a nurse I trusted. Everyone sits at a big table, social workers, the doctor, the nurses and me. The doctor repeated what he had said to me. I stood up as tall as I could, made my soft voice as loud as I could, and asked him “Did you even read my file? The five suicide attempts? The fact that I am Bipolar and you are telling me to go off MY MEDS?!” “Where the hell did you get your degree? You are a disgrace to your profession.” And then free as a bird I walked out to hug my father.

I will never be put in that position again. Held in a place against my will, not a threat to myself or anyone else. I will run if I see that about to happen. And it’s sad that I even have to think that way.

If I had been asked a few key questions long ago I would not have suffered for over 20 years and continue to suffer. I at least know why now. The damage caused to my brain and the rest of me might not be so bad. But maybe it was meant to be, who knows? I do know without the love of my mother, who has since passed, and the love of my father I would not be here.

Dealing With Treatment Resistant Bipolar Disorder

I deal with treatment resistant Bipolar Disorder. I still take a combo of meds that make some days tolerable. I have been to several doctors to confirm that my doctor is right. I knew he was but my family was not accepting any of it. They still don’t. There are few ways to treat this. The biggest one is ECT or shock therapy. The patient has to have it 3 times a week for 6 weeks. More than half of those patients relapse within 6 months and have to go back for more. I have had it done once and found it extremely unpleasant. I also responded differently. I went into an extremely manic phase for awhile. After about a month I crashed. All of the other treatments have to do with some type of brain stimulation. Because I have memory and cognitive issues as it is the doctors are leary of doing them. Supposedly there is hope on the horizon with a new drug using Ketamine. It is I believe still in it’s trial stage but is said to relieve depression within 5 minutes. I would sell some body parts for that kind of relief, that is if I had any healthy ones. But hope is a strange thing, as long as you still have it you can keep fighting no matter what anyone else does or says.

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