Another One of Those First World Problems

I feel complaining about insignificant things and labeling them “FWP” exonerates me from being a whiny spoiled person living in the best place in the world.  I’m also a jaded ex-catholic, so there is already a layer of guilt underneath everything I say and do.  

I want to post this for another reason.  With the hell I’ve been going through for the past year from medication side effects, divorce, being ostracized by my children and doing all of this in a delicate mental condition, I welcome superficial trivial problems. 

Here is one now:

Well, so far this is a very good day! I colored my hair this week from an online hair color boasting it is just like the professional color. I don’t know why I bother. The brown of my hair turned out beautifully but the white came out a light brownish reddish. Anyway……I used the last of my root concealer two days ago (forgot all about covering my roots on Tuesday and was out doing errands for four hours). Luckily I wasn’t aware so had all of the confidence of a good looking person. Back to my roots (pardon the pun) I was even debating wearing one of Allison’s hats to hit the Walgreens early before too many people were there to get a new can of concealer. In the bathroom I took one more last ditch effort, fingers crossed, to look in the bathroom closet.  There it was buried under cold medicine…..half a can!!!  Halejuha!

Dear Life:  please keep bringing on those kind of problems.  I really need a break.  xoxo

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Still Drinking Wine

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bottles behind my dresser’s mirror

I am still drinking wine even though the danger far outweighs the pleasure. The thing is, I don’t see or feel any of the dangers …yet.

I sleep well, get up for work on time and do a good job.

I’ve managed to lose 11 lbs. without giving up wine.

I take seven different prescription medications that do not seem to be affected by it.

I am not showing signs of liver damage.

My skin is not aging prematurely.

I’m not suffering from dementia

Blood pressure is healthy.

I have managed to stay highly productive.

I drink a bottle of wine every night.  I actually don’t want to drink until around 7pm.  A lot of the time I dread that time of night.  I just give in to it.  I feel sad, lonely and deprived when I don’t drink.  Crazy, right?

I’ve come up with a few ideas about why I like drinking and why I haven’t been able to stop.

I grew up not being in control of anything at school or at home.  When I finally reached the age of being able to work etc. I started smoking.  It felt good because no one would allow me to smoke and they couldn’t stop me either.  Maybe it was the first thing that represented control to me.   I ended up being in control, but not really.  I wanted to quit, I hated the smell and I felt like a criminal because smoking had started to have a stigma attached. I couldn’t go without it even though I hated it.

Another piece of the puzzle is when I quit smoking, I replaced that with food.  For years I over ate, felt sick and ashamed.  I didn’t really start gaining weight until after bipolar meds I began taking in my forties. So that had to be dealt with the only way I knew how.

The drinking started because I had been used to such highs and lows my entire life and when I started taking medication for bipolar I felt like a big blob.  I didn’t like anything or hate it.  I felt as if I had no personality anymore.  Drinking wine at least changed that mood enough so I felt a little bit like my old self.

So here we are now, five years later.  I’m up to a bottle of wine every night.  I do feel in control when I make a stop at the liquor store and get anything I want.  I have been working all day, made my money and now I can buy some wine.  Just like I could buy cigarettes and go by McDonald’s or eat a pint of ice cream until I was sick.

My therapist says it is crucial to replace the wine and the ritual with something I enjoy just as much.  She also said if I am not experiencing any of the bad side effects of the wine, I should quit to see how much better I could be.   Could I sleep better, lose more weight, have better skin and feel a difference if the alcohol isn’t interfering with my medication?

I’ll have to go cold turkey. Drinking less doesn’t work.  I’m the kind person to eat the whole bar of chocolate instead of “just one square”.  People who do that and say they are satisfied are either on drugs or just not of this world.

My plan this time is to stop drinking completely.  Replace it with things I want to do, but never have the time because I am in bed drinking and doing work at 7pm.  At the beginning of the summer I had five lists of things to do from immediate to whenever.  I threw the last four away.  I’m going to rewrite those lists and start checking them off one by one, night by night.

And if I fail, I’ll try again.

A Long Deserved Holiday

It was meant to be a great week.  John and I had not been on a vacation for 20 years!  When we decided not to divorce one of the things I asked for was to go to the beach, something I had been promised year after year.

It was off to a great start!  The resort was wonderful. We went to an all-inclusive for the usual reason of not wanting to do anything except eat, drink and sunbathe. We saw the dolphins and snorkeled.  We ate a lot and drank a lot.

One night we went to a little market that the resort set up with locals to sell us tacky stuff.  It was perfect for John.  He got a Bronco tiki mask and a three legged stool with Harley Davidson stamped on the leather seat.  Of course, that went downstairs with the Harley Davidson side table and the Jack Daniels wooden keg.

After we got home, I left the next day to fly out to visit Emily and the children.  It took me a little while to settle in.  I had “travelers’ diarrhea” so I wasn’t much fun or good to anyone for a couple of days.  After that settled I started to itch.  At first I thought it was mosquito bites, but more kept appearing and the itching was driving me crazy!  So much so that I went to Urgent Care.  Have you guess yet?  Yes… I had scabies!!!

In case you don’t know what that is, here is the definition:  “Known as the seven-year itch, is a contagious skin infestation by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei.”  It is highly contagious.  The treatment is EVERYONE that I had come in contact with had to put on a special prescription cream to kill the eggs.  Ewww! It still makes my skin crawl (no pun intended) to describe it.

I know none of you know my daughter, Emily.  Let’s just say she is a little bit of a germophobe and so is her husband.  As you can imagine, being infested with a parasite didn’t go over too well.  I not only felt like Typhoid Mary, I was treated a little bit like her.  Everyone, including the baby, had to be treated with cream.  We washed all of the sheets, rugs, everything that I may have touched.  I couldn’t hold the baby or hug my granddaughter.  I was pretty miserable.

I still don’t know where I picked it up.  It could have been in Mexico or in the airport.  I guess I’ll never know.

I’ve only told my family about the scabies.  Even though it wasn’t my fault, I still feel a bit of shame.  I believe it was caused by what my mother said when I contracted impetigo, “Oh, isn’t that a dirty disease?”

One Year Anniversary

An anniversary is coming up. It’s been almost a year since I filed for divorce from John. In some type of modern day miracle he met all of my demands to not go through with it.

I asked him to see a counselor. He did. I wanted a bank card with my name on it instead of always having to ask him for money. It was humiliating. He got one for me. I gave him a pretty lengthy list of behaviors he must change. He has. That’s the miracle!

I also wanted him to go to my therapist with me so she could explain my condition and what I needed from him. He came with me the next appointment. She explained the disorder and how it effects me.

So the question I have left for myself is…. was I wrong? Was he just acting like a narcissist, but not really one? That’s the best answer I have come up with. My mother was one. Maybe I am just extra sensitive. I think it also has a lot to do with age. John had treated me badly pretty much of our whole marriage. I don’t think the same approach would’ve worked with him 10 years ago.

Of course, there are problems. I am still in the habit of withdrawing. When I realize I’m doing that it takes all of my willpower and energy to make sure I reconnect with him. I do love him, I always have. At least now he is making it much easier.

One horrible thought keeps seeping in.  What has he been through living with me for 20 years, a mental case? Oh yeah, I am medicated now, but it has taken at least five years to even out my mood.  And even then I just suffered two major depressions in less than three months.  He has always hung in there.  Hanging in there emotionally abusing me, but none the less, stayed. I don’t have an answer.

Abilify Side Effects/Withdrawal

Oh, where to begin. I suppose where I left off in August.

I still have my nervous clenching, now in my leg. It’s not a tapping, but a clenching. If I really concentrate I can stop it. The urge is still there, not a pleasant one, a very annoying one like an itch or when you want to pop your elbow or knuckles. I am also having trouble sitting still in general. The only time I get any relief is when I’m asleep and, of course, I can’t enjoy it.

I talked to my psychiatrist about it two months ago when it had been happening for about 6 weeks. He said it could be a side effect of the abilify. He said to see what happened with my psychologist and some relaxation training. Well I never did the relaxation training, I am a non-believer, it’s never worked for me at least.

Fast forward two months later, it’s worse and I am having more trouble controlling it. My doctor has diagnosed it as:

Akathisia – a movement disorder in which there is a feeling of inner restlessness and a strong urge to be constantly moving.

I do swear occasionally. I would love to let loose a tirade right now, but won’t in fear of offending anyone reading.

At my doctor’s backing I went off the abilify slowly. I have been totally off it now for about 5 days. Withdrawal symptoms are a crashing 4 day headache and listless/low grade depression, a little irritability, but not much else.

Since I still have the restlessness and clenching leg I started to research it on line to see if anyone else has this. I found a lot of people with it when taking abilify, some much worse than mine. I could have it in my face or arms. Mine is a little easier to conceal. The thing is that it could be permanent! I am just hoping the drug isn’t totally out of my brain yet.

This leads me to a real disappointment with my cocktail of medications I thought was tweaked to perfection. I’m also feeling a little sorry for myself.

Up to Speed

I’ve been away from my blog for a while. It happens. I’ve been so submerged in Allison and her struggle with anxiety, starting to border on agoraphobia, her medication and also EMDR. She is doing much better by the way, I believe she has finally turned a corner and is on her way to some peace of mind.

I’ve been going to therapy for my anxiety too. The EMDR has been working. It’s like magic. I have to work hard and it is bringing up a lot of stuff I don’t want. I hate to have to admit that some of the things I have thought were being done to me were actually me.

My marriage is getting better. My therapist says everyone has the possibility to change. And it’s been since March 30 that I proposed divorce. I’m feeling more comfortable with the situation. I’m going to be pretty upset if this isn’t real to say the least.

And, of course, if it’s not one thing it’s another. I have somehow developed another nervous habit. Clenching my hands. I clench and unclench all day long. I can control it when I think about it, but I don’t realize I’m doing it until I am doing it. So by then someone has noticed. It’s not that apparent unless you are sitting right next to me or across from me. I talked to my therapist about it and she didn’t really come up with any good ideas how to stop except relaxing, other ways to relieve tension, the usual useless advice for anxiety. I’m going back to work in a week and I don’t feel any closer to getting it under control.

Narcissism vs. Alcohol

Is alcoholism bigger than narcissism? I don’t know.  Maybe they are equal in my marriage right now.  If you read my post “It’s 11 p.m.” alcohol abuse explains it.

I drink too. I am not supposed to because of the medication I’m taking. I’ve only ever had an interaction with one medication, so I keep drinking. I don’t tell my psychiatrist because he would tell me to stop. He would also be very serious and maybe even a bit annoyed with me.

I drink wine every night. And because I can never be completely happy or content with myself I wonder if I have a drinking problem too.

I have read a lot of articles about how to stop.  Tips like taking a hot bath, a long walk or read instead of that second glass.  WTF?  Does that stuff work for anyone who is craving a drink?  No. For me, white knuckling it for a couple of weeks is the only way to go.  It’s just like chocolate, I either eat the whole king sized bar or nothing.  Breaking off two “squares” doesn’t work for me.

Hey, wait a minute, how did this post become about MY drinking?  Typical. It’s always been easier for me to take it on than to trust someone else to change.

Stay tuned for my next post, EMDR treatment…will it work?