WEDNESDAY, 26TH JANUARY
Yesterday, my boyfriend suggested outing myself. Making my dirty little secret public. I immediately wanted to vomit. I burst into tears and had to sit on the kitchen floor to catch my breath. It was the most horrifying prospect and the worst thing I could think of.
So here I am.
I am an addict. I have alcohol and substance abuse issues. Every relapse chips away at my life, my loved ones happiness and love/trust/faith in me. Every relapse chips away at me. My boyfriend and I are barely hanging on. I am one bad decision away from losing my home, my children and my life. I am struggling right now and looking for more tools to help me stay on the right path.
I have been hospitalised twice in the past 18 months, sectioned, suicidal. I have lost custody of 4 of my 5 children over the last 5 years. I have blamed depression, anxiety, stress and grief for that but despite them all beings factors in my life, my coping skills – turning to substances – are what have led me to my children either deciding for themselves to live with their father or being forcibly taken of me.
I have tried various medication over the years and found none helpful. I either abuse it and it numbs me and makes me gain a lot of weight which makes me even more depressed.
Therapy has been hit and miss. I have had 2 lots of drug and alcohol counselling in the last year which was useful but ultimately hasn’t helped me discover what is wrong with me, why I continue to veer off the right path and why I struggle with life. It hasn’t provided me with the answers I need, yet.
I am looking into private therapy. My partner has offered to pay. I am reluctant to use medication again. I have tried writing before. I love to write. Maybe this will become the missing tool from my kit.
I struggle to reach out and ask for help. My circle of friends has got considerably smaller in the last 10 years. I have pushed people away. Some left of their own accord. I know that this is something that I can’t do alone though. It’s also tricky for me to attend any kind of NA or AA meetings as I am without a car at the moment and live out in the sticks. It’s not like a city where there are daily meetings. There’s one a week, in the evening. I have a baby. It sounds like I’m making excuses. Maybe I am? I tried NA for a while but it was a very small group and it played havoc with my anxiety. I would really like it if this blog became a network for me.
After my last hospital stay last August I began to start writing. I wrote poems, short stories, diary entries. It wasn’t a blog. I don’t know what it was but I will add bits of what I wrote to this blog. I spent a week in hospital, 2 days on a main ward and 4 more on the mental health ward. I wasn’t sectioned (this time) but I had tried to commit suicide and my boyfriend wasn’t ready for me to come home. He was traumatised. I had been spiralling for a few months things felt hopeless. I’d lost custody of my 10yr old son by my ex-husband. He has profound special needs and I hadn’t seen him for nearly a month which was the longest we’d ever been apart. I will write more about him later. I felt like I was going to lose my partner and my youngest child who was 15 months at this time. I couldn’t think straight, I was on various prescribed meds and secretly abusing pills I’d purchased online, alcohol and food. After another argument with my (poor, long-suffering man) he left, taking the baby. I was due to see a mental health nurse later that day. My boyfriend tells me now that he intended to come back for that meeting and beg whoever it was to take me away. As soon as he left I took all the pills I could find in the house. Over 200. Hours later he and the nurse broke into the house and found me in a cupboard. Near death. I’d written notes to him, my parents and my kids.
Things have improved a lot since that bleak point in my story but I can’t say I’m doing brilliantly. I’m wavering. I need more help. I don’t know why I am the way I am. I truly believed that the strain of caring for my disabled child was the main factor in my inability to cope. Losing custody of him last year broke me but after a few months of respite I realised that I needed a break. That it was time for his father to become his main carer for the time being. I can’t begin to explain how much easier life was to cope with. I got through the court case and represented myself. My ex husband and I came to an amicable arrangement and I have had my son (and older daughter) to stay twice in the last month. There’s a lot of guilt and shame in coming to terms with and admitting to yourself that you can not cope with caring full time for your own child. But, I know its the right decision. I think I would have ended up in hospital again within weeks if I was still his full time carer. I got complacent though. I thought life was just going to be get easier and I wouldn’t have to work so hard to maintain sobriety. I thought that the pain of not being to cope with caring full time for my son anymore was what was causing me to abuse myself. But he’s been living with his father for 6 months now. The court case is behind us. Life has settled down and everyone is reasonably happy.
So why am I struggling to stay healthy. I WILL lose everything. Why is that not enough to make me confident in my own decisions?
Ok, this is enough for a first entry.
Here is something I wrote in hospital last year, a few days after my suicide attempt.
I’m trying to laugh. I’m watching my favourite comedians and clips of dancing babies and excellent dancing on YouTube. Then it pops into my head that I shouldn’t be doing this. That this is just another form of avoidance.
Should I be in the garden helping Christine weed? Who, by the way really does seem very zen and more therapisty than anyone here.
Or I should really spend more time sitting with Eluned who does crosswords by literally looking at the complete ones at the back of her puzzle book and filling in the right answers at the front. She’s kind of old and SO Welsh I can’t really understand her even when she speaks English. She asked who I was yesterday and said I looked placid. I laughed because compared to some of the unmediated women who arrived the same time as me I am very placid. What she actually said was ‘pleasant’.
I am pleasant looking.
I really don’t look anything near pleasant when I look in the mirror right now. I have several cold sores. I attacked my hair before I attempted suicide and haven’t been able to brush it properly for 4 days. My eyes are swollen from long periods of sobbing.
I am truly bare faced.
And yet she looked at me and the first thing she sees is someone pleasant. So, I must be somewhere near an OK person, right?
Normally I would just say that I am a good actor, I can put on a good face and the show must go on and anyway, you can’t tell a good person just by looking at one but I was sat there as raw and broken as I’ve ever been in 4 decades and she thought me pleasant.
This morning she called me rude and shouted at me for using a hairdryer though, so I suppose she had a case of ‘Valium goggles’ on our first encounter.