Caveat: This blog talks about the partners addiction and suicide.
Recently our family has watched a (for me) distant member continue to self destruct. From early on in his life he has been addicted. I suspect alcohol at first but quickly drugs. He has been to rehab many times and now in his twenties he was in a serious accident with his transportation. A short while before this he was hospitalized for an overdose. In the hospital following this latest incident it seems he has expressed that he couldn’t cope any longer.
I can imagine that to have spent most of your life battling addiction, always needing drugs, in and out of rehab unsuccessfully, it would be difficult to see anything in your future except continued pain. I can understand the desire to end it all.
Several blogs have talked about that kind of hopelessness. It is devastating to feel that there is nothing that you can do to stop the circle of pain. Most of the blogs that talk about this have suffered from mental health issues and many have found help with medications, therapy and coping skills. Unfortunately, I know several families who have suffered with the problem as it relates to addiction and wish there were more successful help for sufferers. Some people are helped by rehab but there are those for whom rehab is not enough. It has made me suspect that for these people there are underlying problems, possibly mental health issues, that have never been identified and addressed.
It makes me suspect these victims have spent their lives self-medicating their unaddressed mental health problem with drugs and/or alcohol. I hope that as we look more carefully into the people who are suffering with this that more help can be found.
It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.
The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.
It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.
One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.
We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.
Many times when I am reading other’s blogs I see the tragedies they have endured. So many had childhoods fraught with abuse, neglect and pain. My life has been so different. I makes me wonder why I have been plagued with anxiety and IBSD. Then I remember that even though I grew up in a loving family attitudes and ideas about parenting were different.
My mother was isolated from me when I was small. I remember little about it. She was diagnosed with TB that she caught from my paternal grandfather. She had a very mild lung case and was allowed to stay at home in a separate part of the house. Unfortunately, the TB attacked her adrenaline gland and the doctors were unaware of this. She was well for a while and then by my early teens had declined and was quite ill but no one was able to diagnose her disease. The ins and outs of that period are for another post.
The bottom line is that I was aware that my mother was very ill but the family never talked about it with me. It was thought that you didn’t share this with children. She was in and out of the hospital and my aunt would come to help and keep me entertained by taking me shopping. Needless to say this was not a good coping skill to be learned by a teenager.
Just prior to succumbing to her illness she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease and lived to be 95. I know now that those years of her illness were terrifying for me and explain anxiety and fear of illness. Anxiety and all its companions also run in my family.
It is nice to know why I suffered in those years and it is wonderful to have coping skills that keep me sane. So much was not understood in those days and mental health was not discussed or treated. Women had the vapors and spent several days in the hospital with “nerves.”
Even though mental health is not treated as well as it should be it is much better than in my growing years. I am grateful for the strides that have given others help and hope. I pray that things will continue to improve and that one day things will be much better.
I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. I have been blessed with people in my life who have held me up from my parents and family, my husband and friends and my God. They have all been so patient through my struggles with anxiety and IBSD. The song always brings tears to my eyes remembering how their love has held me in the midst of trials. My life would not be the same without their presence. Some are gone now but their love is never gone. Others have filled in the spaces to especially my children, grandchildren and wonderful friends.
It is so easy to fall into thinking that we can control outcomes in life. When things don’t work the way we want we start with the “What ifs.” If I had only finished something at work faster, if I had only been nicer, if I had turned left instead of right. Depending on the situation we can blame ourselves for what happened. We can also blame someone or something else. One way leaves us feeling guilty and the other way exonerates us but leaves us angry and wanting to lay blame on someone.
There is also the problem of responsibility. Some families have solved their children’s mistakes so many times that the child has no sense of responsibility for their actions. They have not suffered any consequences. Unfortunately, we need to be held accountable early on in life or when something happens that can’t be fixed then the result can be devastating.
Life is unpredictable. When we are truly at fault we need to take responsibility but we can’t take on guilt for the vagaries of the world. Knowing the difference between these two is a critical life skill.
When situations arise take a hard look and sift through what happened. Learn to use some perspective and don’t take on things that are uncontrollable. Don’t lose yourself in the “what ifs.”
Life moves along. The things we knew slide away and new things come. The church that I used to work for has 2 new pastors. They seem to have jumped in with vigor and lots of things are going on. This is a really good thing. The offices, which were in another building, have been moved back to the church building and rooms have been updated. This is moving forward.
I was there today and it did bring memories and nostalgia about the past. There are things that I will miss. A while ago I said I should have a T-shirt made that says “I have survived 8 pastors.” If I added the ones I worked with before that job it would be even more. Each one had their own personality and own way of doing things. Part of the job is to support the pastor so I learned the ways and ideas of each one. It feels strange not to be doing that with these two but it is time to help elsewhere.
We have all talked about dealing with change. it is a constant like death and taxes. There are changes that are easy to move on from and some that are not. Regardless that is life. There will always be changes that we will regret and mourn. That is as it should be. We just have to accept that there are things we can’t do anything about and we don’t need to get hung up on them.
We have to move on to new things ourselves and find our place and our fulfillment somewhere else.
Today I hauled some of things I have cleaned out to the car. It was mostly art supplies that I will give to a local place that offers art opportunities for children. it is so nice to be able to help with things that have stood useless in my closet.
While cleaning I also found knitting projects that I haven’t finished. I now have them in order and I will begin finishing them. It is sad for me to realize that I have done that. It makes me wonder how many unfinished things I have left in my life. Not projects like knitting but relationships or important people. Are there those out there that I hurt in some way by not following up with them?
I hope that I have not left too much undone. At the moment I don’t remember anyone but life can take strange twists and turns. I send my plea for forgiveness out to the cosmos. I am sure that I also have been left undone by some but my forgiveness is sent out also. We can’t go through life without encountering others and sometimes mistakes are made. Knowing that we are all frail humans and not perfect can bring peace.