BiPolar …Like Me?

Most people with addiction issues also have the dual diagnosis of mental health problems. With me, I found out I have Bipolar I Disorder when I was roughly 23 years old. It took time to find this out, as I was hospitalized numerous times, tested and tested to find out what is wrong with my brain. I had neurological tests in fancy centers, I had 5 hour long book sessions with the M1PR, and of course every psychologist wanted to compartmentalize whatever was wrong-so they could be right. It was all very confusing at the time.

Growing up I had bouts of depression, and I really only had more epidsodes hypomania than full blown mania just yet. I didn’t realize that my inability to focus in school, or forgetfulness may be a symptom of something larger. My good old friend anxiety is what really opened a can of worms when it came to the beginning of teenage disaster. I started by smoking copious amounts of marijuana to calm myself down, from there, packs and packs of cigarettes. The cigarettes may seem like something small and meaningless, but I was also born with Asthma- so not the smartest idea. (Yes, I am still a full time smoker, and yes, still working on it.) From there I attempted to cope with these emotions in a healthier manner, such as painting, music, and writing. However, there was something else that kept pulling me- that nasty impulsive side kept nagging right in my ear. I found myself attempting to cope with codependent love, sex and obsession. Obsession is overwhelming when you have bipolar disorder. It is as if no matter what you do, that obsession lasts for however long it decides to. From the obsession of love and sex came the obsession of needing someone. Never being alone. Being alone meant dealing with myself- which meant dealing with the insanity. If I was alone I was usually pissed, or high. Just to be able to avoid “other me.”

After years of numbing mania with downers and enlightening depression with uppers, I found my self pregnant with my daughter at 19.  After giving birth to my daughter, this sent my illness into a whirlwind, as it had been untreated at that time.  This sent me into long episodes of mania, running around and calming myself unconventionally.  Of course at that point, I became obsessed with chilcare, health and the future that this tiny human paints ahead for me. I could say that I became this amazing mother who did yoga every morning and sipped tea at night after a 6pm meditation ritual- but that’s the idea of me I create in my mind. That is not reality.

Here is reality;

I am a fly by the seat of my pants type of mom, always on the go- shoving an ocean of coffee down my throat to get through the day.  My daughter is just about 10 years old, and I think she steers the boat better than I do some days. There are days where I realize I am wearing the same pair of leggings for the 10th time this month.  If I’m in a depressed episode, I spray some perfume-literally on the crotch, use a roller to get rid of the dog hair and move on. If I’m in a manic or hypomanic episode- I usually will wash it over and over.  Or at least wear each clean thing until everything is dirty because I know that the down is coming.  I avoid areas of the house that I know are a mess because I know cleaning it won’t change my overall situation.

Most people don’t understand the frequent job changes, or moves, or why no matter where I go or what I do why I am always in debt.  It may seem to someone on the outside that I am just always a hot mess, but in reality – coping with this mental illness is can seem absolutely impossible.

I can only hope that documenting the daily frustrations will help me from feeling absolutely insane. I hope it well help me from forgetting the day to day issues I face. As most know, when in the ups you forget the downs and vice versa. Bipolar is forgetting your home address for hours on end, putting the jelly in the with Tupperware, the waxpaper in with the bath towels and forgetting what you are doing half way through it over and over again.

I hope most find this helpful, or can find something within this blog today that they can relate to.

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Baking Bread

This week has been tough. I haven’t been to a meeting in weeks and I’m a bit crabby. I’m beyond broke, and still needing to provide for my family. So we pillaged Floyd ( Our Family Piggy Bank) and I bought flour, yeast, cornmeal and sugar. I baked bread, tortillas and muffins. I felt better. I provided for my family in a way that made me feel good. I didn’t feel like drinking and I felt like baking. My 6 month medallion is on the 18th.

The “Empty” Time

The time hits- the kid is in bed, and the “empty” time creeps in. Even months in, I still feel it.  Like my body wants to do a million projects, and I can feel almost a slight buzz of anticipation.   For what?  It is as if my mind is searching for something exciting and my body is chasing some sort of high. It is stuck in some sort of state of boredom.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being sober. It’s not as if all of a sudden I want a drink.  It’s just finding what I like to do.  For example,  my night starts a little something like this:

OMG, I want to write poetry!

No you don’t, you will get bored and distracted, in like 3.15 minutes.

OMG, I used to love to paint, maybe I should paint!

No, you would take out all of the materials get ready, then frustrated because you can’t find half of the things you need, or an idea to come up with to paint.

OOH! I love to crochet, I should get back into that.

…She says for the thousandth time…while she untangles mounds of yarn for three hours.

I want a cigarette.

Ok, that’s done.  Now what?

Ok. Ok. I’ve got it, snuggle up with a good book or a movie.

Haven’t you done this most every night since getting sober? …and while drinking?  You need a hobby girl.

 

So there it is.  I don’t need a time waster. I am trying to find activities that enrich my mind and that don’t leave me feeling like I am dabbling in a million things.  That being said, as a mom, I have to be realistic about my goals.

For F’s sake, this isn’t Eat, Pray, Love!

I don’t need to run off anywhere to find myself, I have everything I need right here.  It’s just that I still do that awkward walking back and forth thing in the house because I am so used to getting up to get that 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. glass of booze that it’s instinctual to keep getting up. I’m at a point in my sobriety where I feel comfortable as a sober being, a sober woman and especially as an alcoholic.  Meetings are my jam, and I have no problem telling people it’s part of my life if they ask or it comes up. However, get me alone or towards the night time (my old drinking timeframe) and the anxiety twists around like a doughy pretzel.

 

 

5:00am Came…So I Started A Blog

A friend had mentioned the other day that it may be helpful to think about what “Sober Allie” looks like. Hmm… I mean, I’m sure I know that she doesn’t drink, but what does she do? I don’t mean what does she do instead either, we all know that replacements don’t end well.  I mean what does a full and meaningful life look like as “Sober Me?”  So I did some digging and here is what I came up with.

  • She starts her day at 5:00am with her coffee already brewing of course, as it was pre-planned the night before.
  • She then gracefully makes her way (coffee still in hand of course!) to the living room to start her yoga, ever so quiet not to wake her kiddo still sleeping.
  • From there, she makes a healthy breakfast for everyone, and lunch too!
  • Onward to getting the kiddo to school in a nice clean car, with everything neatly packed in the back of the car.  No clutter to be seen.  (Are your eyes rolling yet?)
  • After whisking away the kiddo to school, it is then on to work.  Perfect make-up and nice hair. Fresh of course, none of that slept-in-make-up from the night before stuff!
  • Work is perfect, keeping her cool all day- drinking hot tea and nibbling on light healthy snacks here and there.
  • After work, it’s back to pick up the kiddo with a big smile on her face.  Not crabby at all from the work day.
  • First let out the dogs, feed the dogs and on to make dinner, hmm…let’s see we have 3 noodles and an old potato, and the kiddo wants sushi. I can make sushi out of that right?
  • After a delicate dinner, it’s tending to the dogs, and making sure I can finally get the kid into the shower.
  • At this point, hopefully she can still make the 8pm meeting!
  • By the end of the night, she settles in with a little more blogging, some chai and a blanket.  And her absolute favorite part of the day: falling asleep with the snores of the dogs, the snuggle of her partner and meditation time.

You know, I’m starting to think my friend is a looney.  I can at least give my self a little gold star for getting up at 5:00am, completing a little bit of stretching, drinking my coffee that WAS pre-planned from the night before, and starting a blog.  Sober me is looking pretty damn good.  I can certainly see that I strive for a certain type of perfection, but I know it is all about the progress.

Progress not perfection…yah,yah,yah…