6 Months Sober


I am 6 months sober as of last Friday. I began this journey after the nurse practitioner who prescribes my medication suggested that I stop drinking because it can make bipolar symptoms worse.

World Bipolar Day was recognized last week. While I haven’t been officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it occurs in my family and there is a possibility that I could have it. Historically I have responded better to bipolar medication than regular depression medication. I have also experienced bipolar symptoms and the “cycling” that occurs with bipolar. However, official diagnosis can be a lengthy process that I haven’t pursued.

I recently had my medication adjusted. I’m not sure if the current regimen is working well and have been struggling with anxiety in particular. Each evening is hell after I take my medication. I experience extreme anxiety and involuntary shaking. I also have the inability to sit still while also feeling tired. Because of this inability to sit still, it is difficult for me to fall asleep and I find myself walking in circles around my apartment or jogging in place. I’m not sure if the negative symptoms I’m experiencing now are due to withdrawal from my previous medication or from the new medication. I wish I could drink to help alleviate these symptoms.

My husband thinks my new medication is better for me (at least when I’m not experiencing negative side effects). I think it may be worse, but maybe for the wrong reasons. My previous medication had a sedative quality that made me feel kind of numb. I like being numb and not feeling anything. It’s more comfortable for me, because my feelings suck. This new medication is much less sedative and (at least during the day) makes me kind of a normal person again who feels and doesn’t need 9-10 hours of sleep every night. I’m really struggling with that. It’s weird being normal.

Complaining about this stuff makes me feel like shit. I have two close friends who just had to take their mother off of life support, one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. Their bravery throughout the ordeal has been one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen. I also have friends who struggle with debilitating physical conditions who suffer in silence. I question my motives for sharing such intimate details of my life in such a public forum. Do I really want others to know that they’re not alone, or do I just want attention? What is the point of sharing all of this information with people who likely cannot help? Writing has always been therapeutic for me and I suppose it’s therapeutic for me to share my experience.

Speaking of which, I recently lost my therapist. She went to pursue her PhD in Making More Money and I haven’t been able to get in with anyone else yet. I’ve given up on trying to get in with someone else. The only people I seem to get an opportunity to see are recent grads who don’t seem to know a lot about life and have had everything handed to them. I miss the therapist I saw in Kansas, who offered wise, auntly advice and told me that some of my feelings about things that happened in the past were perfectly normal. I have very normal feelings I’ve yet to deal with because, again, it’s easier to be numb.

I still struggle with the idea that there is no real point to my life and I feel many days I am just going through the motions. I detest simple tasks. I hate showering. I hate going to the gym. I hate doing the dishes. I hate getting out of bed. But I do these things. I’ve also been struggling more with social situations lately. I have become much quieter and anxious at social gatherings because I feel stupid. I feel like I have nothing valuable to add to a conversation. I feel unaccomplished. I feel like I’ve fallen behind everyone else around me. I feel ashamed for things like not owning a home at this point in my life, not having a master’s degree, and for not wanting children. Drinking used to help with these feelings.

Yes, I feel ashamed for not wanting children. I feel that fact has created this persona that I’m an unloving, unfeeling person who hates kids. I have come to detest this and have made an effort to be more engaging with children. I may not be a baby person (babies are WEIRD, okay?!), but I like kids. I hate bad parents. I feel like I would be a bad parent. I feel like a kid deserves better than me, especially while I struggle with mental illness and have panic attacks over nothing (how would I handle a kid?). A kid also deserves better than a predisposition to mental illness. I know we’ve come a long way medically and socially, but I just can’t knowingly pass this potentially life-threatening condition on to a kid. It would be cruel.

I am tired of being perceived as a kid hater, especially now that several of my friends are having kids and I am buckets of happy for them. I think I have a child’s best interest in mind by saving them from myself and from mental illness. I think I have been lukewarm to children in the past to avoid the reality that I would be an unfit mother who would doom her child to the same lifelong sentence of mental illness. I’m sorry about this and am working to change myself. I am truly, truly happy for all of my friends and relatives who have children and can experience the joy and fulfillment that children bring.

My husband, friends, and family continue to be amazing. I try to be the best person I can be for them. I feel bad because sometimes I can’t be there for them in the same way that they are there for me.

I don’t really have an inspiring message today. I wish I did. Things have been hard. I wish I was a stronger person. It was hard to write this.


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