Tag Archives: depression

4 Years Sober – One Day At A Time

It has been a huge milestone for me to reach this goal, the first time I achieved four years sobriety was in 2002, it wasn’t long before it all went horribly wrong and I decided that just one drink would be ok, it took me almost four years to get myself together enough to stop again.

During that time, my life fell into free fall and it was literally a living hell.  I look back on that time as the time when I almost lost my mental health and was on the brink of emotional death. I looked at myself in the mirror and I no longer recognised the person looking back at me, I was almost gone.  We were in a living nightmare with family issues and I just could not cope, my support system had been wiped from under my feet and I fell into the abyss.

One thing I had not really been aware of until this time were the underlying addictions that were waiting to raise their ugly heads, food, love and destructive relationsips, co-dependency and a childhood trauma buried so deep it took this time to really bring it to it’s head, I had not known just how bad it was until now.  I had talked about it and talked about it, but I had not really felt it or seen it in it’s full flow until now.  Having a relationship with someone who was so unavailable, so unwell showed me that there was something very very wrong with me.  Most people would have walked away and not put up with it, I did not know what they were talking about, to me it felt like home.  I also had to face myself and my behaviours from my youth which took me to a place I could not understand.

I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t and and everytime I made an excuse, began to think that all the people in recovery were boring and on the dilusion went, until one day, New Year’s Eve, 5 Years ago, I set myself up, asked some friends to bring champagne over and they only brought one bottle, I was the only one who had 3 glasses and their faces were horrified as I had tried to stop drinking for a good six months before then, it was that moment, when I could not stop, I would have necked a whole crate if there was one, I realised I had a real problem and I had to stop.  Thank God, one day at a time, I have.

The last four years have been full of distress, anguish and realisations that I am not just an Alcohlolic, I am an Addict, I can be addicted to anything to help me escape my feelings.  I am now learning to challenge them, to speak my truth and what is brilliant is that I am now getting people around me who are willing to be available for me, and that has made all the difference.

There are still plenty of things to sort through but instead of stuffing my feelings and building one resentment on top of the other, I speak it out and I am heard and mostly understood, which is very very new for me.

I have to deal with the underlying trauma of my childhood which still rears it’s ugly head, I still think that everyone is going to leave me, no matter what which is a very lonely place to be, but it is getting better.  When I share my pain, with safe people, I can often see the insanity of it, and eventually it becomes healing.  For some people in recovery, they do not have this extra burden, but for those of us that do, there is hope, with the right support and love we have a chance.  It feels to me like I am waking from a dream, and my feelings are coming to life, there is an untold amount of grief to face and with that will come a new life, I have amends to make, and I will.  I am finally able to face my pain because I am not being judged for it, not being shamed for it, not rejected for it.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me over the last few years.     

Happy New Year, Love Penny

Raising Questions

Raising Questions About Mental Illness

When I first heard about Raoul Moat running around shooting people, I must say I didn’t really know what was going on or take that much interest.  I had my own stuff going on and I was absorbed in that. A friend of mine, Sherry, called me up and we started talking about it. She mentioned that there was talk of him having asked for psychiatric help and not getting it. I asked her to send me any links and here they are, have a look and see what you think. http://www.itv.com/news/exclusive-moats-anger25784/

Slowly information filtered through and someone mentioned a bit more to me. I said I felt sorry for Moat, that he must be in a lot of pain to be doing what he was doing and what is being done to help him and those around him? Not a lot by all accounts.  The more awareness that is being raised about the lack of facilities for people with psychiatric, mental health isues, the better. The Raoul Moat story highlights what can happen when someone is not taken seriously. It is a tragic loss for everyone. I found this article very insightful  http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/articles.aspx?cp-documentid=154126009

Little did I know the extent of his psychological problems and that he had been asking for help for a long time and not getting it.  He has been described as aggressive and in a way it is understandable.  I am not for one moment saying what he did was right, far from it, he clearly lost the plot. However,  I do want to respond to the distress suffered by so many people at the lack of support available when in dia need. How many people do loose the plot under such extreme stress and it is at high cost to themselves, their families and society. People can get so lost and so far gone they cannot see a way out and something just snaps.

I have also come across a website of a book by James Bartholomew who has written about this same subject, commenting on the fact that Raoul Moats last words were ‘I’ve not got a Dad, no-one cares about me’.  Here Bartholomew raises the question that Moat was abandoned by his father and then his mother met and married another man, leaving him alone and feeling unwanted.  I will be writing more about this subject for myself in a later blog, it is a subject very close to my heart.

I have been out of re-hab now since the 19th April.  Have been to see a psychiatrist who assessed me, then told me to come back a month later with no offer of support in the meantime, then telling me there is a community psychiatric nurse who can help me at which I freaked out, I had had one of them before 14 years ago and know they cannot help with assessing me, giving me therapy and moving me forward in that area. I was then offered lithium incase I had borderline personality disorder or bi-polar……I am still waiting for help.  I was told I was aggressive, I was asked to calm down, I was scared and there were no answers for me……….I then went to see my doctor who suggested I tried anti-depressants to see if there is infact a chemical inbalance in my brain, so I am trying them.  I feel wierd, tired, distant, a bit zoned out..apparently it takes a while to kick in, and I am still waiting to see what the community mental health team are going to do. I have been referred to a Psychologist, with only one in the area, there is a big waiting list, in the meantime, I wait.

There are hundreds of people out there who are being left to rot, drugged up to the eye balls with no way of getting help.  I would be one of them if it had not been for some help from a friend so I can get to see someone. I was desperate and I needed help.

In the next few months I will be starting a series of interviews to highlight this exact problem, what can be done.  It isn’t ok scapegoating people saying they are aggressive. When people need help and cannot get it,  ask for it, knowing there is a problem, it is sometimes little wonder they feel frustrated.  I know I felt very scared indeed.