I’ve Been at War With Myself for Decades

Written last week: I smiled for the first time thinking about waking up. I’ve only smiled twice today. I have been dreading waking, living and existing for the last 3 years. It’s 1:05 AM, I’m supposed to be up and at work by 8 but I was laying in bed with what I can only assume is anxiety, a panic attack or alcohol withdrawal. I’ve Googled this. They all have similar symptoms. But laying in bed just now I thought about how hard it was going to be to get through tomorrow because of my lack of sleep tonight. My friend Haydee and I have devised a plan and we’re meeting for hot chocolate tomorrow (a thing we did in high school) and she’s following me to an AA meeting. I thought about how I can look forward to the meeting. Getting to listen to others experiencing the same problem. I grew excited thinking I could possibly share my own story and actually voice my own concern about my health and welfare. I got on Pinterest. I typed “sober” in the search bar. I’ve read recovery and sobriety quotes for the last 30 minutes. I put my phone down, rolled over to sleep and smiled. I actually had something to look forward to tomorrow. I want to stay sober and I want to be healthy and goddamnit I want to be happy again.
I’ve been miserable for years now. I don’t know how people put up with me. I’ve been giving everyone else advice on their problems and not heeding my own. I’ve spiraled down. I’m down. I’m done. I don’t like feeling like this any longer. I don’t like being me any longer.
Today was a rock bottom moment. I simply woke up feeling like shit. Having drank a 12 pack the night before I wouldn’t say I was hungover, I usually drink bourbon and a lot of it. A morning after a 12 pack is usually mild. But today was different. Today was sunny. Today was Sunday. My boys were downstairs. I saw the sun, thought about the boys and chose to turn over and go back to sleep.
You see I’ve been having what I thought are recurring panic attacks every morning beginning around 4 AM for about a week and a half now. I wake up paralized with fear, sweating, my heart beating rapidly. I toss and turn. I get up to pee. I lay back down. I pull off a cover, turn on a fan. Seconds later I’m shivering and putting the blanket back on. But then I start sweating. My thighs sliding, so a leg goes out from under the covers. This repeats itself until I eventually fall back asleep or I get up to take my “emergency anxiety pills”. Which I’m almost out of. That realization freaks me out and I start having anxiety over it. I currently have no insurance as I’m going through a probationary period at work and I can’t afford to buy my medication out right. Or take the time off of work to see a doctor for a prescription anyway. But eventually I go back to sleep. A few hours later I awake angry, mad at myself, shaking. My temper is short and my patience is thin as the boys try to talk to me excitedly about their day when I’m just needing coffee like a mother fucker.
Or I have to wake up and get to work. I have extreme anxiety about getting the boys dressed, do they have clean clothes? Will they match? Will I put them in something that gets them teased? Do they look dissheveled? What I’m really finally realizing is I’m asking if my children will look the children of an alcoholic?
I mean I think this now. I wasn’t thinking it last week. But deep below the shallow questions is my underlying concern.
Jackson came home crying a few weeks ago because his teacher never picks him as the star student. I learned last week that he has to turn in his homework each week to be considered. He has a weekly reading log that I’m supposed to sign off on every night. I never turn it in. I hardly sit down and talk or read to my children. When I get home from work I’m more concernced with fixing dinner, doing laundry, feeling sorry for myself, getting on the treadmill (not necessarily a bad thing), walking the dogs, cleaning up after the dogs. I’m tired, unhappy, ok, miserable and stuck in a rut. Mondays and Wednesdays my boyfriend comes over. That’s my excuse not to help them and a reason to drink. And we will, a lot. Often with him leaving after the bourbon or beers are gone to run to the liquor store to buy more. All of this happens so I can pass out before 12, get up and attempt to function all over again.
Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, definitely Fridays and Saturdays I’ll stop by the liquor store to unwind after a day. To forget about a day. To just live and exist. I hate my job so I will drink to forget that I have to be a fucking adult who has responsibilities. I think my hate for my job and life is different from other people’s. I feel like a victim. But I have no one to blame but myself.
For the last three years I’ve blamed Jeff, my exhusband, who overdosed on July 5, 2015. My “way out” or my solution for any problem, mentally, that I was having was always suicide. I thought that if I ever got bad enough, if things ever got bad enough, I’d just kill myself. I thought that was the last resort but a good one. Because living this way most days is hell. Sunday was no exception.
I got up, fixed my coffee, tried to sit quietly on the couch and watch the news while Jackson fluttered around me, chatting nonstop like he always does. Jackson is disabled and truly has special needs, like his need to converse with you all his waking day. I think about how it’s Sunday. How I’ll have to return to work tomorrow and how I dread this already. I think about how I want to get out and do something but I can’t afford to. I think about how I need to get outside and we all need to be in the sun and fresh air but I don’t want to move. I thought about it again. Killing myself. But I just become bitter and angry at Jeff. Because of him I’ll never be able to kill myself, or at least while the boys are young. I couldn’t leave them parentless. I get so angry with Jeff for ruining my plan B, my backup plan. He beat me to it.
I realize no one is supposed to think like this and few of us do but we do. We try to change our thoughts but ulitmately they immerse us and we ebb and flow with our feeling of self-hatred, pain, hurt, anger, and disgust with ourselves, our lives, now our own thoughts. We should be punished. I should be punished. Thinking this way with children. Thinking this way with family and friends that love me. I deserve to die because of this. Another reason not to live. Why keep hurting people?
Keep hurting people. I get tired of waking up each morning after drinking wondering who I need to apologize to, get on Facebook and try to delete my drunken posts before too many people see my crazy and just feel like shit for being weak and drinking again.
I text Haydee today about an old classmate that killed himself while he was separated from his wife and kids. I totally understand why he did it. I know why people kill themselves. Who the fuck wants to live like this and think like this? We can’t escape it. We see no way out. There is no quick and easy fix. Recovery and finding the right medications, the money, the appointments, the weekly therapy or meetings will all take time: days, weeks, months, even years. Suicide is quick and will ultimately be painless, unless you believe in God and believe you’ll be sent to a “different” heaven for committing suicide. Have you seen “What Dreams May Come”? The irony in that movie. Robin Williams is another person that crossed my mind a few times today. A past colleague who shot himself. They all have their place in my thoughts today as I grasp for a reason not to kill myself and a not end up like them. All the while I tell myself and now Haydee that I know why they did it.
It’s not the answer for everyone. It will only cause more problems for the boys. Pain for others. Haydee met me at the playground today. I realized I had bathed, got us there and I was pushing Jake on the swing and watching Jackson get mad at himself and a ladder for being so scary that he wouldn’t climb it regardless of the fact he wanted desperately to be atop the playground in it’s tall tower. I realized I was crying. I was able to hide this with sunglasses. I’m looking around and noticing other people and wondering if they knew that I would rather kill myself than be here. Does crazy show? Did I blend in? Was anyone else thinking like me? Surely other people have to. Haydee text me she’s coming to me. I relunctantly tell her where I am but deep down appreciate it because maybe it’s finally time I talk to someone. I admit I need help. I admit that I have a problem, or a few of them. After talking to her, eating an early dinner, even drinking a margarita, I realized that I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go to sleep only to wake up at 4 AM again. I didn’t want to go to work tomorrow. She mentioned my drinking earlier. Had I thought about going to AA again? I had visited one meeting in the past. They see themselves as diseased and blame others for their addiction. That wasn’t me. I know I’m the reason, the problem, the beast. I know I have underlying issues that cause me to medicate or escape myself. I’m different from them I know I’m the problem. But I couldn’t get to a psychiatrist on a Sunday, wasn’t going to get a magic pill, didn’t need or even want to get drunk, I could text the Suicide Prevention Hotline, Haydee and I agreed. That would be my plan if I got worse tonight and I could always text or call her…she was crying with me at this point. Look what I’ve done, I’ve hurt my friend. She suggests I talk with my aunt. I text my aunt later and casually say I thought about hurting myself today but I’m better, please lets talk when you return from your ski trip in Colorado. A text “I’m calling you later”. Not what I wanted. I don’t want to talk about it now. She calls later. I tell her I don’t want to talk but I had to hear her out. Go to AA. You’re realizing you’ve hit bottom. You can see what you’ve become. Now change it. We hang up. She calls my mother. My mother calls my brother. My brother calls me. My mother stops by 2 hours later and drops off all the AA chips my father had accumulated in his lifetime. She thought I should have them tonight. Grr. Not what I wanted. I don’t want to talk about any of this with them. I don’t want them to know what all I’ve done, what all I do to hurt myself and them. I’ve got so many stories. I’ve got quite the past. I don’t want to tell them but maybe I’ll talk to a stranger tomorrow at AA. God knows I love to talk about myself, doing it now, I love to be the center of attention. Maybe I can go to AA tomorrow, talk with others about what I’m doing to myself and my family. Maybe I can get a sponsor or a few numbers from people that know what I’m going through and about to go through. Maybe I’ll start recovering tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up without a panic attack and actually have a good day. Fuck that, I’ll make myself have a good day. I’ll change my thinking. Holy shit, I’ll be doing what everyone else does every day. I’ll wake up, not feel bitter, not feel like a victim, I’ll live this life I’ve made for myself or do something to start changing it. By God, I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning. For the first time in a long, long time I’m looking forward to a new day. And it helps to think that AA is a form of therapy and it’s free and doesn’t need a prescription.

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