Today, I had a moment where I wanted to give up on everything. I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with my employment. I won’t give any details. What I will say is when superiors don’t fulfill their duties in an ethical manner, despite consequences, it has a ripple effect down the line. I happen to be down that line… and I don’t like it.
I left work painfully frustrated. This stemmed from a combination of being awake 25 hours, having 12.5 hour shift, some discoveries, and, some less wonderful than news. Ever get so angry that your body’s response is to throw up? That was the sensation that plagued my stomach for hours. Prolonged stress isn’t good for anyone. I am no exception to that.
I was just so angry.. so stressed.. and felt so completely defeated. I seriously had the first thought in ages that I wanted to resort to a chemical restraint. I didn’t. I promise. After work, I wouldn’t let myself go home because I was more than sure that I would do something stupid. Not necessarily chemical, just something stupid.
When my mood swings in rapid pace, so do the thoughts in my head. It feels like a circus of psychosis and I have to do everything I can to remain the ringmaster. No matter how long a person has been in recovery (I am sorry to say), these voices never fully go away. They are not always present (thank god/dess), but they love to appear during stressful times.
This morning, my brain was telling me “Go home and crack open a beer or have a shot or two, you’ll be chill afterwards. Not like any one would know”. (My SO drinks, therefor my fridge is always stocked. I don’t buy it. He does and brings it.) Other wise it was like “Go have a cigarette (I quit that over a year ago) or go cut yourself (I was a cutter from age 12-23)”.
Even though I can spend all day thinking about all the things I could do or use to escape myself, I am thankful I am at the point in my recovery where I know those thoughts are just fantasies that I can pull myself out relatively quickly (even though it never feels quick in my head).
When I get like this, I pretty much have to treat myself like a kindergartner. Internally, I am sitting myself down, talking to myself (I’m sure I make some really stupid faces while having these inner monologues).
I’m like: ” Ok. Chill. Why are you feeling like this? When did these feelings start to develop? Was it a sudden trigger or did you just have enough? What have you done to try and calm yourself down? Have you given yourself a few minutes to just not think about this and come back a little more level headed? Ok… You’re still super mad…Breathe.. ok. Innnn….. Ouuuutttt…….Hey Hey, slow it down. You are starting to hyperventilate. Goozfraba…. Yeah, I know.. Adam Sandler. Whatever, that’s not the point. Ok…Let’s get you a bit distracted. If you go home you will just fester. Ok.. let’s see… Um. yes! The poverty mart. You love thrifting! You love staring at things! You have $3 in your cup holder! Ok lets go. Listen to that one song you like. You should totally have a sing along with yourself. Yeah… That’s a good song. Ok. Say hi to the store employees. It’s not their fault your having a bad day. They’re not mind readers either.. they’re highschoolers. Also, this is a christian thrift store and tomorrow is their easter. Don’t wreck their merriment. Ok. good. Oh yeah, social anxiety… Ok, Ok, it’s fine. Just breathe. breathe. Ok. Slower… Jeez. You’re really good at this hyperventilating thing. Ok. See that dress over there? Yes. That’s a pretty one. Go try it on. Who cares if you have no intention of buying it? You need a few seconds alone and the dressing room is perfect… Ok. Good. See? Look how ridiculous you look! Haha! Ok breathe… Yep. Doing good. Are you calming down now? Yes? Good. Ok. Are you still thinking about said problem? Yes? Ok. Any solutions? Will that actually help or will that only make you feel better temporarily? Temporarily? Ok… Let’s just sleep on that one and if you’re still thinking about it in a day or two we can consider it. Ok. Any actual solutions? Yes? Any that can be done today? Not really? Ok. Well, let’s just take the day as it comes. You can’t do much right now, so there is no reason to worry. It wont fix anything. Ok. More distractions.”
And that is my brain in internal crisis mode.
I am fairly certain that studying psychology in terms of both mental health and addictions has helped me stay level headed (despite my seemingly growing list of diagnoses). I promise, I wasn’t always this way. I’ve had my fair share of chemical escapes, self mutilations, broken furniture, and trichotillomanic moments.
I remember one time when I was in my early twenties, I was so distressed by how much I hated the way I looked…. I smashed a mirror over my face and shredded my arms with the broken glass…. In front of my BF at the time.
Being sober has helped me look at myself from an outside view. This helps greatly because I can calm myself down more easily because I can picture how nutty I would look losing my mind if someone else were watching.
Thankfully, this approach has helped me immensely. I do not yell. I rarely-rarely-rarely ever raise my voice (pretty much only when safety is concerned, which primarily involves my clients). I do not slam doors. I do not break objects. I do not vandalize property. I do not bring others into the turmoil that is in my head. The last one is very important.
Since being sober, I have found it easier to step back and think. I don’t feel the sense of entitlement I once felt. I don’t feel like I am better or worse than anyone else. I am just on a different level. My Mario is still in the desert level. Your Mario is in the water level. We’re playing the same game. If you get bitten by a fish, you may end back at the desert level. If I do well, I can meet you at the water level…. You get it.
Another thing I have over come in sobriety is being a pity whore. Now, we all have things that upset us. We all need to vent. That may be to a counselor, a pastor, a high priestess, a teacher, parent, friend, blog, whatever. We all need that. Venting is healthy. Having the expectation that everything is fluffy frills and froo froo during sobriety will set you up for failure. As will internalizing issues.
What I am trying to describe is that type of person where everything is terrible and every thing is going wrong… The victim card. That’s what I’m trying to describe.
When I was an addict I was a hard core pity whore. I did stupid things that landed me in stupid places and I kept getting swept in a dance of misery that only led in circles. Yet, I couldn’t blame myself and I sure as heck wasn’t going to blame my drug. Oh, the world is against me. The world doesn’t understand me. My childhood was a nightmare. Oh, I have depression. Oh, my body hurts, etc.
Being sober helped me straighten those issues out. The world is not against me. I just haven’t chose to help the world in return. The world doesn’t understand me. Sometimes, you just need to compromise. My childhood was a nightmare. Well, can’t change that now. Whether you are 20 or 200 your childhood would still suck. Quit wasting your and everyone else’s time and deal with those issues. See a shrink. Get on meds if you must. Just stop living the way you are now. Your body hurts? Ever try nutrition instead of meth? Yeah? Crazy, eh?
During the beginning part of my recovery… about 7 or 8 months in, I started seeing a psychiatrist briefly. It was insightful because she was able to diagnose a few conditions. Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I got prescribed antidepressants. I was super reluctant to take any meds when I started because I had a heavy paranoia revolving around the pharmaceutical industry, but I gave up. I just needed it that bad.
After researching my conditions extensively (especially BPD and detox/withdrawal from my drug of choice), it made it easier to exist. I could pin point symptoms of these conditions in my daily life and make a conscious effort to function in a different way. Sounds easier than it really is. I promise.
BPD has blessed me with dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. They are for the most part kept stable with antidepressants, but there is always a margin of error. Like PMS week. AKA Shark Week.
Anyway, ramble ramble. The point is: Today was hard internally, but I made it through. Everyday I am thankful I am not at day 1 again. The end.