Saturday, April 19, 2014

lets talk - my dark day, why the tears

I can not remember the last time I cried. I mean really cry. A cry that takes over and you can not control. Anger is my go to emotion and has been over the last few years. This morning my flood gates opened. I guess it was a matter of time.

I have blogged before about my battle with depression and anxiety and the impact of my Fathers alcoholism in my life. I am not a writer. But that blog post was therapeutic. The best thing that happened is that I got people talking. Not about me, that was never my goal. But talking about themselves. I let many people know that they are not alone struggling with metal health and addiction. So here we are, Easter weekend. Holidays can be very difficult and I find myself struggling. I know some of you are too. Here is my update ...

I have to admit that I have felt it coming for at least a month. I said to Arturo recently that it felt like a storm was brewing. Things have been slowly changing for me. I can not sleep at night and I am waking from nightmares. I am tired all day long and just want to curl up and sleep. My usually driven self has been unmotivated. But the worst is that I am angry. Very angry.  This anger has me on edge with very little patience. Sadly, I yell at my family far too often. It is awful to hear your children ask you why you are so mean.

Luckily I know the signs and I know when to get help. Last week I went to the doctor to increase my Anxiety/ Antidepressant medication. 

Today I broke. There have been many things happening lately. Some I can't talk about. I am happy to share the ones that I can. My life is an open book. I think secrets are toxic. The perception that we are perfect is dangerous. Everyone has struggles. When you suffer with metal health and addiction you can feel lonely or embarrassed. Sadly that is because people do not tell their truths. You think you are alone in your fight and want to hide it. If we all talked a little more then we would not feel so lonely and embarrassed.

I will start with my father ... 
They always say that an addict needs to hit rock bottom. I can not tell you how many times we have said "this must be rock bottom, right?". So are we there? Only God knows. It has been a terrible situation over the last few weeks. 

I have not spoken to my Father in 4.5 years due to his Alcoholism. My brother is still in contact with him. Through that connection I am aware of the recent events. 

About a month ago he tried to kill himself. He had locked himself into a motel room for two weeks and drank himself into oblivion. They found him in a bathtub with just his nose above the water. That motel room was completely trashed. He was living like an animal. When you consume alcohol at this volume a number of things happen to your body. One is that you loose control of your bodily functions. This is exactly what happened over and over again for two weeks ... all over the room. Urine, stool and vomit. There was nothing left in the room that was salvageable. The motel had to dispose of furniture. The irony is that I am told this is the same motel that his father stayed in just before he successfully committed suicide. He too was an alcoholic.

He was taken to the mental hospital and was held for 24 hours. When he was released he went missing for a few days. My brother got a phone call from an old friend of my fathers. He had surfaced there. But was so dirty and sick he could not keep him. My brother picked him up and took him to the Hope Mission shelter. Again he went missing for a week. He surfaced one night at my Grandmothers. (He was living there prior to the motel incident but was asked to leave because of his condition). He walked right in the house proclaiming he was cold and went to the washroom only to defecate everywhere. My brother arrived and found him in my Grandmothers garage. He had been living there in a nest of hockey bags and hockey equipment for a couple of days. He admitted that prior to that he was living on the street in Rundle Park. He did not stay at the Hope Mission. My brother was forced to call the police on his drunk father. A pain I can not imagine. He was dirty and had lost his toenails. Another side effect of alcoholism is that your immune system shuts down. His legs have a staff infection and he has lost so much muscle mass that he can not walk more than 4 steps without falling. He had fallen living on the street and his glasses were broken and his face was cut and bloody. 

When the police finally arrived they took him to detox. There is currently a trespassing warrant issued against him and he can not return to my Grandmothers. 

During those these weeks I was so angry. After all these years I was shocked at my feelings about the situation. How could this gain control of my life again!  I thought that I had protected myself by shutting him out 5 years ago. I thought I was strong and resilient. I have worked so hard!

I find myself constantly thinking about the situation. Playing the events over and over in my head. Wanting to know every detail. I started to worry that he would surface here. That he would get some idea that he needed to meet his grand kids. I found myself checking my peephole and nervous to answer the door. I have anxiety every time the phone rings. I did not want my kids playing outside. I want the house alarm on. Arturo went out of town for the weekend last week and I was a mess here alone. I was scared. I am not sure what I was scared about. He would not hurt me, right? But he has nothing to loose. That is a scary thing. I know I do not want to see him. I did not want my kids to see him. Maybe I was scared I would punch him in the face ... repeatedly? Seriously! 

I do know I was angry that he was still alive. We are being honest here right? Why could that water not have been an inch deeper. He only hurts people and himself. There is nothing left of his life. Why is he still here!? People suffer every day from disease and suffering ... good people, kind people, amazing people. And a person like this is still on our earth?? Every time there is a situation with him it is a waste of resources. His hospital stay, the police, the detox facility, Henwood. Again there are people that need those resources. Why waste them on him? Give that time and our tax dollars to someone deserving, someone who cares, someone who needs them. There have been so many failed attempts. It is clear that things are not going to change. 

As far as we know he is still in detox. He can not walk from all the damage to his legs. He is confined to a wheel chair. My understanding is that when his health is improved they will move him to Henwood. 

So, back to today. I woke this morning to Arturo on the phone. I could tell that it was a serious conversation. I wasn't sure that I wanted to know. A part of me just wanted to drift back to sleep. The knot in my stomach drew me out of bed to deal with what ever was coming. What he told me hit me like a train. I was not prepared to hear that our niece is struggling with a serious drug addiction and is going to rehab. She is 19. My heart broke. It was just too much for my brain and heart to take in. That is when I started to cry. Seeing what has come of my fathers life I can not help but worry about what lies ahead for her. Do we have to watch her slowly loose her life to an addiction? Is this another life lost? 

I have been with Arturo nearly 16 years. This is the beautiful little girl that I used to snuggle and play with. She was there on our wedding day walking down the isle with us. She has grown and has gotten lost. How does this happen? 

How can I tell my family that this will be okay? That she will go for help and will come home stronger and better? I have a terrible skepticism with addiction. My hope is that she will prove me wrong. That she will change my mind about addiction. She is willing and wanting to go for help. Something that my father has never done. 

I have not called my niece. I am scared to. I do not know what to say and I am certain that I will not get one word out between my tears. I told her I was writing this via text message and I had her permission. Even writing this I am crying. I will find the words and I will call. I just need time to process. I do not want her to feel attacked or not to feel my love. Please know I do love you. I just can not enable you or be empathetic. 

My frustration today is that my logic tells me that I need to get over these things. That these things are beyond my control and worrying will only hurt me. But my emotions are telling me something else. Good old mental illness, I guess. 

An update on our daughter ... We have turned a corner with her ADHD medication. We struggled with some that suppressed her appetite and suffered with her through some weight loss. Another kept her up at night. We spent about 2 months with her up until midnight. If you are a parent you know that this is painful. Recently we have introduced Melatonin ... and it works wonders. The extra sleep is helping her. We still have not managed her hyperactivity and "busy" body. That will come with adjusting her dosage. I will say that life is so much better, even if we are not 100% of the way there yet. We work on a daily basis to keep her routine and our life on course managing her anxiety, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. Spring and summer are the best time of year for her. She can get outside often and is not confined in winter clothing. (This is her Sensory Processing Disorder piece). Her melt downs and violent outbursts are almost completely gone. We struggle with our morning routine a lot still. This is very common with ADHD kids and I think it is partly because she is un-medicated early in the morning. Once we get her meds in her a switch goes off and everything changes. 

She asked me last week about my father at breakfast. This was our conversation:
"When was the last time you saw your Dad?"
"When your sister was one, about 4 years ago."
"Why don't you talk to him anymore?"
"Because he drinks to much beer and makes bad decisions. I can not get along with him when he acts inappropriately."
"Did he drink beer when you were a kid?"
"Did he stink like beer?"
"Did you hide in your room a lot?" 
"Sometimes yes, but Grandma was there and I spent a lot of time with her"
"When did they get divorced? When is the last time Grandma saw him"
"The same day Mom quit talking to him, it was Christmas. If you have any questions I promise to answer them and tell you the truth."
"Okay, I want to know the truth, please tell me mom."
"I told you the truth. I am not telling you details because somethings are for adults only. But I am telling you everything that is appropriate for you to know."
"Dad, what toys did you play with when you were a kid?"

And that was it. She was satisfied. She must hear me talking about it, even though I try to hide when I do. Children are smarter than we give them credit for. They are perceptive.  I am sure there will be more questions. I do not want secrets and I will answer them the best I can for their age. I want to talk about it so they are aware. If addiction and depression are hereditary my children have the odds stacked against them. I want to do what I can to help them. 

I know that I have a great life with a wonderful husband and happy little children. I know I have so so so much support. Your worlds, messages and love are felt my friends, and I thank-you. I posted my dark mood on Facebook this morning and I was showered with love. It was just what I needed. It made a difference. 

I am selfishly revealed that our schedule did not work out to see the family for Easter. This weekend I want to be with my kids and my husband. I want to be happy and with happy people. I read that "you can not live a positive life if you surround yourself with negative people". When I am fragile like this I definitely need to be with positive people. It feeds my soul. 

I wish all of you a Happy Easter weekend. May you find peace and happiness with the ones you are with. If you are struggling through the weekend please know you are not alone. Stay positive my friends. Eat some chocolate, that always helps, right?!

Thank-you for reading my story. Please share and spread the word to the world that we need to talk about mental health and addiction. No one wants to feel alone, and they shouldn't because it simply is not true. We all are dealing with something in our lives.


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