From Alcoholic to Bipolar to Blogger
An Inspirational Life Story
Hey y’all!! Welcome to Revenge of Eve, An Unconventional Lifestyle Blog.
It excites me that you have stumbled on my little slice of the internet and I hope you take your time to mosey around!
But before you do, allow me to share with you my story.
You may be wondering, “what is an unconventional lifestyle blog?”. Well….for starters if you are new to the wonderful world of the internet, the history of blogging can be found by clicking here. If you are familiar with what a blog is, here’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!
During my research for beginning a blog, it became evident that in order to have a successful blog you must choose a specific niche. I found this information to be disappointing and almost tragic for my dreams. I thought “How am I expected to be authentic discussing one particular subject when in fact I am a multifaceted woman with a range of interests?”. Refusing to let go of my dream of connecting with others on a human level, I decided to do as I have always done….
I created my own damn niche!
An Unconventional Lifestyle niche was born.
The word ‘unconventional’ was chosen in an effort to remain true to my character. I have never fit the mold nor in a box. My thought process is a bit different than others, my fashion sense unique, and my humor, dry. These are the qualities I am learning to embrace and at 40 years old, I am attempting life for the second time.
Before I go any further, I have a history and one that I am not proud of. When reflecting on my life it isn’t shame I feel yet a deep sadness.
“A life lived in emotional turmoil results in unhealthy choices creating unhealthy habits.”
My personal account: 2012
After leading, 20 plus years, life as a bartender, I found myself attempting to stop drinking alcohol on a daily basis. Unaware of the depths my alcohol use had plunged, imagine the surprise reality served me with withdrawal symptoms.
People drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people—and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
How had I gotten so far beyond that my body was physically dependent on it? How was it possible that me, a functional mother of one, that worked five sometimes six days a week, has to consider she may be an alcoholic? Did others know? If so, why hadn’t they cared enough about me to express their worries? Was I not worth it?
“A variety of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality disorder [characterized by a lack of empathy toward other people], anxiety, sleep disorders, or depression, increase the risk of addiction. Those with the highest risk of addiction have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia — up to 50 percent [of people with these conditions] can have an addiction,” says Garbutt, researcher. everydayhealth.com
Thoughts continued swirling around in my head and at that moment, my only way to freedom was death. Irrational thoughts consumed me and before I knew it I had dialed my sister and threatened suicide. Reaching me in record time my sister stood before me aiding my rescue.
The rest of the day is fuzzy.
Most of my days were fuzzy.
An untreated or undiagnosed mental disorder can wreak havoc on an individual who is suffering from a disorder as well as those around them. When a person is suffering from a mental health disorder, often, they are unaware that the disorder exists. While the individual will not understand their feelings or the mental problems that they are suffering from, they may experience feelings of hopelessness, depression, anger, or impulsiveness. Because of this, they find themselves feeling lost and at times can turn to unhealthy behaviors in an attempt to numb their psychological suffering. This process is known as self-medicating. One of the most frequently used substances for self-medicating is alcohol, although illegal drugs are also commonly abused by those with mental health disorders. Although the alcohol may temporarily numb the symptoms that the user is experiencing, self-medicating can lead to serious problems. Ouitalcohol.com
Waking at three a.m., on the mental ward floor of our local hospital, I come flying out of my room woken from a nightmare only for my surroundings to be more unfamiliar than the darkest corners of my dreams. In the stillness, my haste drew the attention of a nurse. Meeting me in pure panic, she did as she knew and referred me back to my bed. “Hell no!!”, I demanded a coke. Somehow I remembered my sister bringing me my own personal bottles of coke, “I want a coke!”, I raised my voice with intention.
Weighing a hefty 200 pounds, standing five foot ten, it was evident my demands would be met out of sheer fear. As I drank my soda I stand in the hallway unaware of what was soon become the hardest years of my life. At 33 years old I hadn’t been a day without a cigarette since I was 13 or a drink since I was 20.
Desperately ripping the nicotine patch from my arm I lick it trying to absorb as much nicotine as possible. My clouded brain hears the muffled voice of the nurse informing me that caffeinated drinks are not allowed after set hours and that my nightmare was a side effect of the nicotine patch. In a dazed state , I remember being awakened after I had just fallen back to sleep. I refused to budge. I lay there prepared to throw a tantrum or resort to whatever means necessary to go back to sleep.
I do not recall the sequence in which the events of my first hospital stay occurred but there is one particular event that is ingrained forever. An elderly patient, who was clearly more mentally disabled than me, flipped a switch within me altering my opinion about the power our mind holds. Today, I candidly tell the story but in the moments it occurred, it couldn’t have been more serious.
In between group the other patients would gather in a small room with tables, a television, and the phones while I paced the halls, gnawing on a straw, I would swiftly pass by walking in gapping strides. Somewhere around and about mile two or three of my anxious pacing I had a joiner. A woman in her 50’s who toted a life-sized baby doll would attempt to keep up with me. I smiled and was flattered that she had chosen me to become attached to… until I wasn’t. Quickly I became annoyed with her presence. She would disrupt my course causing me to go off path. The path I had beaten down on the carpet for two consecutive days.
At this point, amidst the groups, paperwork, and pacing, it had been determined that I suffered from mdd, major depressive disorder, although the diagnosis was not discussed with me.
“Clinically speaking, you have to treat the addiction and the psychological symptoms at the same time. Misdiagnosis, and therefore under-treatment, is common, such as when an alcohol addiction is masking bipolar disorder,” says Garbutt.
Psychosis: My First Experience
I would begin by asking her nicely to stop following me and she would nonchalantly respond, “ I’m finnnne”. Agitated I would dodge off into my room closing the door. When the anxiety heightened I would return to pacing with Nancy in tow. Over the next 24 hours, I pled with Nancy and I paced. Before exiting my room I would gather my composure and set off on my course. Waking to my reality and a cigarette on my mind, I start the next day on the wrong foot. Unbenounced to me Nancy’s curiosity had been peaked from my exiting and entering my room. She would take it upon herself to go in my room and borrow two of my gifted puzzle books… without my knowledge. For what had become a part of my path, I entered my room and immediately notice something off. Within seconds I figure out what it was. In this very instant, I would be shown that it isn’t me who is in control. Regardless of the constant, silent coaching, I had been doing, I snapped. Screaming at the top of my lungs I run out of my room. Before I grasp reality a nurse stops me in my tracks. Suddenly I am surrounded by all of the staff.
“ I have lost my mind.”
Alcohol hallucinosis: These hallucinations are typically auditory, but may manifest as visual or tactile. The condition is also characterized by mood disturbances, rapid mood swings, and delusions, and it may ultimately mimic schizophrenia in presentation. It is unlike delirium tremens and can appear in a person who otherwise had clear thinking and memory previously.
After a shot of Ativan, the nurse comes into my room with my books in hand.
That is the last thing I remember before passing out.
This was the beginning of a year in and out of inpatient rehabs, mental institutions and sober living homes where I would go on to experience two more episodes of psychosis. These episodes of a distorted reality would later go on to be the determining factor in my changed diagnosis.
April 20, 2015, I walked through the doors of our local government funded mental health clinic and haven’t looked back. Willingness and honesty gave me the start I needed to pave a new path and I have not had a drink since that day. The first year of my sobriety was spent adjusting to a world without blinders. Careful not to tempt myself I would stay cooped up at home and worked the graveyard shift at a restaurant that did not serve alcohol.
Setting small goals of travel for my daughter and I motivated me to save money and go on trips that have produced some great memories for her and I. My life started to gain momentum, I was humbled by the graveyard job, my anger was tested with another employer and because of this instead of responding I asked for my old job back at the casino. I left this job to enter rehab and am grateful to still be employed there to today.
My diagnosis of mdd had not changed and I began taking an antidepressant with nonnarcotic anti-anxiety medication while being treated by a psychiatrist at the mental health clinic. It was here I received counseling and completed an outpatient rehab program. After almost two years I decided it was time for me to seek a new psychiatrist because my anger was beginning to increase and there wasn’t much about life that excited me.
January 2017, with the switch in psychiatrist, I would be diagnosed with bipolar 1 mood disorder, anxiety, and mild ocd. At this point I was severely depressed, pissed off and unstable. My moods became so unbearable that I turned to Google and typed in bipolar disorder. Before my eyes 30 or 40 articles described my pain, my life, my illness.
It was in July of 2017 that I began blogging to share my story of mental illness with others. I had no idea the impact creating a blog would have on me. It forced me to want to be well so I were able to communicate what goes on within. I promised myself to stick with blogging because I had not followed through with much in my life and I had fallen in love with the community. As an empath and introvert, it allowed me to connect in a way I had not ever been capable of. For this reason alone, I agreed to take the antipsychotic my doctor recommended.
In September of 2017, I began a medication regime that has changed my life and perspective. Currently I have found what I believe to be my calling and in order for me to achieve success I have a lot of work to do on myself. From building a solid foundation to accepting life on life’s terms, implementing suggestions for growth and most importantly, learning to love myself and forgive myself. The time I have been in recovery, thus far, has been spent adjusting to my surroundings and the time has come to take it a step further. There are sure to be challenges but I am ready to tackle them and keep moving forward. My hope is that others are able to relate and for us to share the path on this journey.
Revenge of Eve dot com is live!
Will you please hang out and join me on this
journey of self-discovery, self-love, and finding my inner strengths?
Candace Lynne ~ blogger