Your illness does not define you. It's your resolve to recover that does.
Excavating Emotional Abuse
I've been surprised nearly every day since leaving my emotionally abusive relationship. Sometimes those surprises are wonderful; new hobbies, joy in simple tasks, brain not in constant crisis, and other days, other days they're a bit more challenging.
The Day I Chose to Survive
My friend might get upset with me using this picture but itʻs okay - she knows why I would post this in this article. It is the same reason that I have posted this picture for almost ten years now, as well as write a bunch of words about it.
Sober Living in Reston VA
Sober Living in Reston VA is something that people who have difficulties sleeping or staying asleep can do to recover. It's a place where people go to be alone and not worry about disturbing others. Sober living is becoming more popular in the area due to the high number of crimes that occur here. It's a great option for people who don't want to live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of people that are drunk every night.
The Freedom To Forgive
As a 35 year old woman, I sit here reflecting on my journey. I’d love to tell you that it has been one of sense, logic, and love; but that would be a lie. It’s been a freakin war! My longest war, with the most casualties has by far been the war on forgiveness. Forgiveness, oh forgiveness; I want you, but I hate you! It started off when I decided to conduct honest this "self-examination." I still ask myself why I do this, why can’t I just fall in love with ignorance?
What Does “The Matrix” Tell Us About Mental Health?
The Matrix and making a choice This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more."
I'm sure you've probably heard about AA - Alcoholics Anonymous. Maybe you've heard of NA - Narcotics Anonymous, too. Those are the two places that doctors and SAMHSA - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - regularly recommend patients they suspect of having drug or alcohol problems turn to for over fifty something years... But what if AA and/or NA FAIL to EFFECTIVELY help a patient quit drinking or abusing dangerous narcotics? In my life, I've been to AA and NA. AA DID help me stop drinking when I was much younger, for a short period of time. One well known phrase in AA is to, "Keep Coming Back!" It's good, solid advice for SOME alcoholics. Isolation and loneliness are only two of the MANY complicated reasons why SOME alcoholics drink themselves to death. So, AA uses this phrase to encourage their participants to stay engaged with THEIR program. Another common AA adage tossed around AA meetings - along with the cigarette ashes and coffee cans - is, "It Works If You Work It!" In my desperate bid to REALLY "work" the well known twelve-step program, I would ALSO attend NA meetings if AA meetings weren't available. AA and NA are like cousins. In fact, the two programs are identically modeled after one another, with just a few word substitutions. AA spawned NA. Without going into TOO much detail, attending those NA meetings ultimately lead to a terrible Heroin addiction. I haven't used Heroin or any of the other well-known "dangerous" street drugs I have in the past for quite some time. My drinking is currently under control after a long and arduous battle with my "inner demons". How did I accomplish what most doctors say is IMPOSSIBLE with "alcoholics" that DON'T attend AA or "drug addicts" that DON'T attend NA? The most simple explanation for that question is that I was LUCKY enough to have an EXCELLENT, patient, kind, and DISCERNING psychiatrist - one who also ardently supports NAMI - along with my family support system, of course. The funny thing is, I quit drinking when I became addicted to Heroin. This isn't rocket science or math. All my "funds" went towards trying to get more Heroin, instead of booze. With the help of my doctor, family, and friends, I got off the Heroin, was already off the other "dangerous" street drugs, and eventually moved out of my childhood basement. There was plenty of booze around at the new place I moved into. However, my anxiety issues still plagued my soul. "Well, I'm in a new town, on my own, with time on my hands... What can I do besides clean the house, make music/art, and tend to my new boyfriend?" I still care about that NOW ex-boyfriend and his family. Deeply. I was introduced to many wonderful people back then. Some of whom I still talk to to this day... However, I wanted my OWN identity. My OWN friends. My OWN job, life and resources. One day, as I was sitting on the couch - staring out the window - drink in hand, reflecting on ALL THOSE inpatient psychiatric stays... I thought something along the lines of, "Heroin withdrawal IS different than alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal CAN and DOES kill people... typically from WITHDRAWAL SEIZURES". Alcoholism killed my mother when I was only twenty-four years old. AA FAILED her. Three rehab stints FAILED her. Impatient doctors that IGNORED her untreated ANXIETY, DEPRESSION and ISOLATION from HER friends and family FAILED her. "Why?" To be fair, she didn't "keep going back" to those AA meetings. I'd recommend any person concerned about their or a loved one's excessive ETOH consumption attend AA with an open mind. If it works for THEM, then by all means, keep going back! My mother, however, was a very "private" person. "Heroin addiction just makes you WANT to die," I recall. At the time, withdrawal from opioids alone DID not have the same lethal WITHDRAWAL consequences alcoholism CAN and DOES have. This is due mainly to the fact that there ARE opioid receptors NATURALLY in your brain. Though, overdose from opioids CAN and DOES kill just as MANY "drunks" to this day, my mind leapt to NAMI first - The National Alliance on Mental Illness - a 501-C3 non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for the mentally ill all across the United States. This is where things get "contentious" as one of my older friends called me. Though there are MANY other FREE resources to turn to, besides AA and NA - or any other spin-off twelve-step programs - like Gambler's Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous... the list goes on... there ARE other free resources like "Hope4TheDay", "The Trevor Project", "The Crisis Textline", "Warm-Lines" you can call - all of which I found out about via NAMI.YOU have to access them, though. YOU have to recognize where YOU or a loved one ARE in THEIR "recovery" from mental illness. More important, the STATE you happen to live in, needs to recognize the VALUE of investing funds into non-profit organizations to give FORMER addicts, like myself, a FAIR chance to recover. Mental Illness is a real and RELAPSING illness that NO ONE wants to talk about. Don't EVER lose hope though. The good news is, is that there ARE those alternatives to NA and AA. For example, the DBSA - or Depression-Bipolar Support Alliance. This is where things get "contentious" as I mentioned before...The DBSA is funded by Medicare and Medicaid. I've attended NAMI meetings and DBSA meetings - both in-person and via the internet. NAMI was FAR more accommodating and thorough, in my personal experience. While my THEN local DBSA meeting was effective, this was due to the fact they had a COHESIVE group of individuals that REGULARLY met, face-to-face, to discuss their struggles, privately. When COVID-19 hit, however, and I was ALL ALONE, I turned to who I trusted the most - NAMI. The main reason I call this matter "contentious" is due to the State which saw the value in investing tax money into more than just... making more money. NAMI offers highly informative classes for families dealing with mental illness, job training and support classes for those struggling with mental illness, places to go to NOT ISOLATE, phone lines you can call, and groups for the mentally ill, and their loved ones, and is WELCOMING of ALL people with ANY experience living with, or loving someone with, a mental health disorder - regardless of where they are in THEIR recovery. The dogma of twelve-step programs, that DEMAND you reveal EVERYTHING to SOMEONE with mental health issues to someone they DON'T really know well, and DEMAND to subscribe to a "Higher-Power" is a BIG turn off for SOME people struggling with mental health issues that DON'T feel like sharing EVERYTHING with EVERYONE, like my mother. Now, the choice is in YOUR hands. Are you going to sit back and let yourself DIE because everyone "failed" you? Or are you going to access the VAST majority of resources available by simply going online and finding out for yourself - and more important - SHOWING UP to these free resources? All of which I found out via NAMI. The "sad" thing about my current situation is that there ARE no "local" NAMI organizations I CAN access anymore. I can still be an advocate for NAMI, though. And I always will be. That's just MY opinion. I'd like to thank GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, HP, VOCAL.MEDIA, my family, friends, doctors, NAMI, the DBSA, AA, NA, SAMSHA, The Trevor Project, The Crisis Textline, and EVERY volunteer and influence I've ever been BLESSED enough to have had contact with - and whomever else I missed while trying to get by WITHOUT a local NAMI chapter to visit - for helping me get to the point where... I'M STILL ALIVE AND HAVE HOPE. I HAVEN'T DIED YET. I'M OVER THE DRUGS. I'M OVER THE LABELS. I'M OVER THE DISCRIMINATION... I just want a job now, and to get on with my life... That's what MY mother would WANT. For me AND my older sibling. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. EVERYONE. [Olivia Petrus].
It’s 11:59pm and I’m sitting on the kerb outside my house. The tears won’t stop. Neither will the snot. But that’s okay because there’s also grass where I’m sitting. The only light is the streetlight, tossing its glow upon the gritty pavement. And the seemingly insurmountable weight of life is pressing down on me, hard.
My name is Robyn, and I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober since 2013. The worst moments of my addiction will stay with me forever.
- Third Place in Coming of Age Challenge
I Partied Like it was 1999...until I Couldn't
Some of what I’m about to share is not my memory, but what has been pieced together with what I’ve been told by those who were there; I don’t actually remember some of it.
Why I'm Starting this Blog
Principles are how we know that we have not been made by circumstance; that we are who we are by choice. After writing and deleting too many introductions for this article, I’m simply going to be straightforward. I am finally recovering from years of depression. Since depression almost killed me (or rather made me want to kill myself), I decided blog about it; in fact, starting this blog was one of the things I decided, during my depression, to do if I managed to survive it. This article will briefly cover my depression and how my purpose for this blog has evolved over time. So, how did I become depressed?
The Year 2017
It was a calm winter’s night, not a single misfortune in sight. My dad and I were sitting in the living room together, watching TV when suddenly I felt shortness of breath. “Dad, I can’t breathe,” I said. I thought in my head that it may be an asthma attack I was having. My dad knew it could be the same because I grew up with asthma, so he immediately called 911. The room felt smaller all of a sudden, and the darkness took over presence, making light absent. I could hear the wailing as the ambulance arrived and all I remember was sitting in the back of the cold ambulance panicking, hearing the paramedics telling me that this was no asthma attack, but an anxiety attack.
The Demon That Hunts During The Day
Statistics are just numbers right. How about this statistic - suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, a bigger killer than car accidents (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014). Statistics are always just a number until that number impacts you and your family. I was lucky not to become just another figure on the page, the sad reality is that there are other women and men out there that will. Some call it the noonday demon, the black dog, the fog, or a hole in the script. I have been hounded by the demon, stalked by the dog, and have fallen into the deepest hole possible in my life. Only now can I see the light, only now I can see that despite being lonely, we are never alone in that battle, we all have our own demons which should be fought arm in arm with our neighbour. This is my story, my battle.