Posted in Anxiety Disorder, My Relationship with Alcohol

A Not So Perfect Day

 

The darkness comes sometimes when I least expect it.

Getting ready for work.

Cooking dinner.

Writing.

My eye sight starts to blur, and my peripheral vision disappears. Forcing me to focus on what is right in front of me.

My hands get shaky and my upper lip starts to sweat.

I begin to feel faint and then my brain feels like it wants to split in half.

I sit and I wait.

Scared and confused.

This is starting to happen more and more, and I don’t know why.

I am changing for the better…I think.

I am not drinking…on day 59 today….

But this happened twice on the weekend and then when I was trying to get ready for work.

Everything came to a stand still.

I couldn’t function.

I felt so tired.

Just so tired.

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It took everything I had to get my son to school.

Bad choice… I now see.  I should have called a friend to drive him.

But we made it there and he kissed me and said he loved me and off he went.

I drove myself to the emergency.

In my professional clothes for work, I walk in, tears streaming down my face, mascara everywhere.

I don’t care.

I know I need help.

Someone.

I am admitted and put on IV, as I tell them perhaps I have a brain tumor, or cancer…something really big.

The doctor listens and checks my vitals.  My blood pressure is very high.  But everything else is normal.

They put me in a comfortable room and I begin to relax.

I feel good being there.

It feels good to be taken care of.

They put a warm blanket on me and I begin to relax even more.

The medication in the IV is working I guess.

I am thankful to see one of my good friends.

She is worried and has come to sit with me.

My head is still hurting.

But my body is relaxing.

My blood pressure has come down. And the doctor comes in to tell me that I have experienced an anxiety attack.

Anxiety Attack…okay… but I didn’t feel anxious when it happened.

But the mind is much stronger than we think it is, I guess.

I am still muddling through this, as my head is still throbbing.

I went home and slept.

I slept the whole day and straight through the night.

This morning I took my son to school, came home and went straight to bed.  I just got up now…at 2pm…but honestly, I could easily still sleep. And my head still hurts and I still feel so tired.

So, I decided to write.

To share.

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I have been struggling with depression I think most of my life, and anxiety really surfaced for me when my son was born.  I will share all of this later on.

But anxiety attacks are new.

This has just started to happen the last few months….

Since I stopped drinking really.

What is the correlation? I don’t know yet.

Maybe I am feeling more?

Maybe I am no longer numbed by the alcohol.

But this feeling sucks as well.

So, mind over matter is what they say.

Now that I am working on the alcohol…I guess I should really be starting to look at the why’s?

The why’s might help my mind.

That is what I am going to start to do.

But on a positive note.  During these last few days, alcohol has been the last thing on my mind.

And this makes me so happy and proud to say that today is day 59!

Almost at 2 months.

One more day.

Just Breathe

breathe

 

Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Thank you Mom

There are moments in your life that will never leave you.   

They will imprint themselves in your memory forever.  

The one for me was the night my mother revealed her inner strength and showed me how to rise above the darkness. 

It was winter, and the snow was falling.  Big soft flakes, creating a pure canvas all around. 

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The night felt still and peaceful, but that was to change. 

At home, I remember getting the call.   

“I need you!” came the voice on the other end of the phone.  

It was my mother.  

I stopped what I was doing, opened the front door, and ran. 

I ran from one end of town to the other.   

Her voice was different and I knew I had to be by her side. For this was the night that I saw and understood what strength and courage was.

 

Many women live in abusive relationships with the fear of saying the words “It’s over”. 

This fear has many moving parts.   

What if he walks out right there and then, and never comes back? 

What if he becomes so enraged that his wrath will destroy everything? 

What if he takes the kids? 

What if I can’t make it on my own? 

What if I am making a huge mistake? 

But the one scenario my mother didn’t think of was– what if he says NO. 

NO! I am not leaving. 

NO! This is my family, my home and we are going to stay together. 

YOU will get over this. 

YOU will change your mind.  

What do you do then?  

Well, you live in misery.  You walk on egg shells.  Your anxiety and stress become unbearable.  Until you hit rock bottom.  Until the unthinkable happens.  The abuse blows the roof off the house and my mother realizes if she stays any longer she will lose her daughter forever.  Because I cannot live this life with him anymore.

As my father became his lowest self, my mother became her highest self.  His unforgivable actions one night created a stillness in our home that made my mother know that this was the end of her ‘family’. 

And we left. 

I will always feel grateful that she had the courage to save us from a life of… I will be honest…Hell. 

My memories of our first night of freedom in our little subsidized townhouse were so,

GLORIOUS! 

LIBERATING! 

TRIUMPHANT! 

PEACEFUL! 

All three of us felt it. The stress was gone. The yelling was gone. The abuse was gone. Our day of reckoning had come and we welcomed it with open arms. 

I cannot say the same for my father. 

The guilt became overwhelming for us all.  As it somehow does for victims.  We somehow feel guilty for the damaged abuser. 

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The call that came on that winter’s night, was the realization that my father’s life had stood still from the day we moved out and that on the day he was to leave he hadn’t packed a thing. 

He reached out to my mother for help, and out of a sense of obligation and wanting closure she went, with the expectation that she was helping him wrap up the odds and ends of his move.  Instead she walked into a house that still held the remains of a family that had left months before.  

As I reached the house and walked up the stairs to the front door, my heart was filled with fear and I was incredibly anxious to open the front door, not knowing what I was going to find on the other side. My biggest fear was that the guilt would overcome my mother and that she would change her mind and take him back. 

Instead what I found were two exhausted parents.  

When something ends for good, or for bad, the open wound at the beginning seems irreparable. And the light at the end of the tunnel is extinguished. 

I followed my mother’s lead and took her direction as she worked through the mess and failures my father had brought upon her life.  

These were the times before mental illness, depression and anxiety where acceptable or even acknowledged.  And to be frank, it wasn’t even anything we had heard of, or knew of.  But as the months and years past, the evidence of mental illness surfaced and became the reality for my father. 

I would say this explained many things.  Hopefully releasing my mother of her guilt for leaving him. 

But what she did, during a period of time where things seemed impossible, was to create the possible for her two daughters. 

She saved us. 

She chose us. 

She always has and I know she always will. 

She is the embodiment of leading by example.   I try every day to be as good as she is. 

To live with optimism.   

To see the good in all those around you. 

To work through struggles without complaint, but to stand strong and push through. 

To live with little and to be happy about it. 

To be a realist, but always have a dream. 

To support your community in whatever way you can. Raising money through charity events that enrich other people’s lives. 

To strive every day to be the best you can be.   

To live simply and enjoy life’s little pleasures. 

So, on days when I struggle to be a better mother, wife, sister, friend, employee or simply just a better person, my mother is ALWAYS my first call.   

She will always be my sounding board and the person I go to when I know that sometimes there is just no one else who understands where I am coming from.  She has been the person who I have confessed my darkest secrets too, as well as my most ridiculous dreams. 

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Of all the lessons I have seen her embody, and of which I am still struggling to achieve every day, is the simplicity of just being you.  My most treasured memories she created for my sister and I, was that she was simply just herself. We lived a real life.  She was always present and there.  Loving us unconditionally and creating a bond of safety and respect for our uniqueness.  Never trying to change us, but cherishing the women we were growing into. 

As I began this blog and revealed some of my darkest secrets—and some of hers, she took time to understand and show support.  To dig down deep with me.  To hear me and know that writing was my way of healing.  She is so brave and so strong it amazes me…truly it does.   

And I believe this comes from how she breaks down the world.  Believing that kindness and love will always be your best choices.   

This is what she has always given me, from my first breath, to now my 43rd year as her daughter. Through ever struggle, hardship and battle I have faced, she has been by my side and I love her so much for this. 

This is my blessing in this life.   

Thank you for bringing me into this world and for being the absolute best mother imaginable. 

I love you.

xo

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Posted in My Relationship with Alcohol

Road Trips-Therapy for the Soul

I am a person who loves to escape my life.

In my younger days, I was the girl who used to get in the car, pop in a cd, fill up the tank and drive.

Destination unknown.

The songs were sometimes sad.  Making me cry.  Tears would pour down my face, blinding me as I drove.

Or the songs would rock my world.  The volume blasting and I would sing my heart out. Woot! Woot!  I felt alive and awesome!

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This release of emotion, both sad and crazy were pure therapy for me. And life always felt better once I put the car back in park.

For a long, long time now music has been absent from my life.  And, so have those spontaneous road trips.

I really noticed this a few months ago, when I decided to put on some old music while cleaning the house…and I sang…loud…and danced…hard.

It felt great!

I felt joy and release and happiness within minutes of this explosion within myself, and I realized how much I missed doing that.

Why did or had I stopped?

I don’t know.

Isn’t that weird?

Time has just gone by and I forgot to listen, sing and dance.

So, I am starting to play more music again…and I am playing it loud!!

My son is loving it 😊  He is looking at me probably thinking I am going a bit nuts, but he’s totally cool with it.

And last weekend I spontaneously planned a weekend getaway to the mountains with my husband and son.

The feeling of approaching another weekend and working through Friday night not drinking just seemed so…. unwelcomed.

So, onto Expedia I went and the road trip was booked within minutes.

With one excited family on my hands, we were off.  As we got closer and closer to the mountains, I began to feel more and more free.

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But…here is what I also discovered about myself during this trip.

I can’t run away from drinking.

Ugh!!!!

Because, as we were driving into the mountains all I could see was billboard after billboard advertising alcohol, and how drinking and the mountains were one in the same.  I had never noticed that before.  Basically, what I was being told was that my experience was going to be less than enjoyable alcohol free.

I could feel my anxiety about my expectation of this trip shifting slightly.  I was beginning to feel a little nervous, but kept it to myself.

And as we unpacked our luggage, I was acutely aware that no wine  or beer was brought out and poured…our typical ritual of unwinding after a journey.

My husband and I looked at each other and felt lost for a bit.  So, we decided to head out to eat.

Going to a steak house and ordering Coke instead of wine still seems so off to me.  My husband had a beer and I could smell it from where I sat.  I felt sad for a bit.  He saw that.  But I know that this is my problem, not his.

And as I looked around the restaurant, all I could see was alcohol at almost every table.

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It is the first question the waitress asks you as she seats you…”what would you like to drink?”  I almost feel freakish asking for pop…or water.  At least with water it looks like I am trying to be healthy…but honestly, I need something with some flavour.  It’s almost like a treat for not getting wine.  Water just doesn’t cut it right now.

And then once we were back in the hotel room watching hockey, I swear every commercial was a beer commercial!!!

Ahhhhh!!!!!!!  Is it just me????

Perhaps.

It’s like when you are wanting to get engaged and all you see are engagement rings on the hands of every girl. Or when you are trying to get pregnant, all of a sudden all you see are pregnant women.

I guess the same is true about alcohol.

When I pointed it out to my husband, he said he never even noticed it before.  But once we both started to pay attention it was absolutely crazy how much alcohol is linked to almost everything that is advertised as fun.  Making you feel less than if you even think about doing anything without drinking your way through it.

So, we talked it out.

I struggled.

I almost gave in…again.

But day 50 was the next day, and the BIG question was…did I want to go back to day 1?

HELL NO!

So, I sat with the feeling a while and then I had to move.

So out for a hike we went and let me tell you, my 43 year old body is still feeling it.

But, what a way better feeling it is to know that I worked my body to goodness, instead of drowning it with badness.

And as we drove home, I felt peaceful and proud of myself.

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My old self would have totally given in to the moment and come up with any excuse that would stick as to why we needed to drink in order for this road trip to be any fun.

But my new self looked around, saw the love of my family, and chose to stay present.

Walking through the front door of our home I felt more energized than before we left.  I had breathed the fresh air of the mountains into my soul.  I worked on slowing down and being in the moment.

And the lesson I learned?

Road trips will always be a good thing for me, and now my family. Escaping your life is sometimes a good thing.

A necessary thing.

It enables you to reflect and reconnect with yourself, allowing you to shed a few layers and lighten the load.  So, if you are feeling a bit worn down, overwhelmed or just plain bored… go fill up that tank of gas and get driving.

Your soul will thank you.

😊

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