I’m thinking of how to tell you more about my chronic illness, without having to sound like a tin horn. My own personal version of schizophrenia is well under medicinal control at the moment. I’m feeling quite comfortable in this quiet afternoon. I’m enjoying a full measure of peace and quietude for a change. I have plenty of trouble with my anxieties often enough. I especially relish days like this one. It’s a privilege to feel whole and healthy for a change.
My doctor has just increased my meds this past week, to help me handle my anxiety attacks with more alacrity in the dining room, here at assisted living. Whenever I’ve goon out into the public gathering for meals downstairs I’ve had an anxiety attack. Living here gives me some social dynamics that I’m having some difficulty adjusting to.
The crowd of people three times per day makes me uncomfortable, exacting a toll on my emotions during some of my group meals. The medications the doctor prescribed for the problem are working, though. I’m a lot more calm now than I was before the adjustment in my medicine.
I can remember so many days and nights in my life when I didn’t feel the least bit happy or healthy. It used to be, a long time ago, that I’d have a craving for alcohol a lot. I’d always lose the battle against taking a drink, just as I’d go back to smoking cigarettes, without ever hardly understanding that what I needed to do. Now, I resist the appetite in the first place. I’ve gotten enough of an education on how to handle my addictions over the years. I’ve learned the hard way, long since.
Tonight at supper in the dining room there was this old lady who wouldn’t shut up about drinking wine. She kept telling me over and over that her doctor told her that drinking a glass of wine before bedtime was good for her. She must have said it five times. I told her that I’m an alcoholic, but that didn’t stop her from reiterating her “doctor’s advise,” as if I were hard of hearing or daft or something.
It really annoys me when people disrespect my intelligence in such a fashion. She didn’t know what she was doing. She doesn’t understand. The mere mention of the word alcohol makes me uncomfortable, because I’ve had so much trouble with that substance over so many years. I know I have to avoid all alcohol, even in mouth wash. But oh no, the old lady had to say her trash over and over again, sitting at the table right next to me. I felt like screaming obscenities at her.
Also, there’s that guy here who always sits at the next table over, in the dining room, who’s always trying to get more beer than the one or two they’ll give him at mealtimes. Between the two of them, the old Catholic lady who’s always yapping about her doctor’s opinion, and the obnoxious drunk at the next table, they both have to have their say, over and over again.
It just pisses me off.
I know what I’m talking about. I’ve learned that for me to imbibe alcohol would be a major disaster in my life. No, I’m not being theatrical. I was the town drunk when I was young. I almost died from the abuse of alcohol from the time I was in my 20’s. I know myself and my disease. That’s right. Alcoholism is a disease. I’m not about to prove anything to anyone. That would be like blowing my brains out with a hand gun, just to prove to someone that the bullet would make my head bleed. I’ve already proven my allergy to alcohol to myself, for my own satisfaction. That settles it for me.
I don’t need to prove anything like my allergy to anyone else, ever again, for as long as I live. I enjoy my sobriety, and won’t have anyone telling me something’s good for me when I know it’s not. That’s how I got into so much trouble when I was young. I was always proving something to someone else, instead of doing what I knew would be healthy for myself.
That dining room annoys me no end sometimes.
I’ve been hanging out at my apartment at mealtimes, instead of going downstairs to meals recently. I get them to bring me up something, while I sit quietly here in my suite, feeling like a dead duck on so much medication. That doctor’s got me all doped up. I don’t like this. I went to his office a couple of times, complaining of having anxiety attacks in the dining room, so he’s got me awfully doped up during the day. The doctor’s solution is to give me drugs. Last evening I missed supper altogether, by oversleeping in the afternoon, for all the dope the doctor’s been giving me. Now, I’m going to isolate again. I don’t feel right at all.
My sister in law’s been telling me I sound drunk on the phone. I’m not drunk.
I have to cooperate with the doctor and take a whole fist full of medication twice a day. It’s just not fair. I never get a chance to wake up. I’m always falling into a doped sleep all day long. I’m really rather afraid I’ll pass out while I’m walking, like I was doing when I overdosed in 2010. Am I overdosing again? That last time I overdosed cost me every possession I ever had, except for my financial resources. It even cost me a hip replacement, when I finally fell on my hip too hard, too many times, when I was passing out on my feet. I wish that man would stop doping me up.
I needed what I needed, and I got it, too. Now, it’s too much.
I called the doctor’s office and complained. Turned out the med tech was just outside my door when I was on the phone to the doctor’s office, so I put the two people on the line with each other. In just a few minutes I learned that I was, indeed, getting slightly overdosed, inadvertently, on a daily basis.
Turned out the med tech was giving me a pill I wasn’t supposed to be getting in the morning. We finally got that ironed out between the doctor’s office and the med tech over the telephone. Then, I had the nurse go over all the doctor’s orders, and the two of us got everything straightened out. My sister in law also came and talked to the nurse. It worked out.
I had been assuming that I was getting what the doctor ordered, until I was getting so doped up I couldn’t hardly function all day long. Turned out the doctor had ordered a pill I was taking to be discontinued, but the nurse missed the written order to discontinue it. It was a simple oversight. I was taking the same kind of medication I use to go to sleep by, only I was also taking a little bit of it in the morning, which was not the doctor’s intention. No wonder I couldn’t wake up!
Then, when I went back to the doctor, I asked specifically to be taken off yet another drug, which I knew would make me groggy even before the first one was eliminated from my morning regimen. The doctor cooperated again. He took me off both pills. It doesn’t make my fist full of medications any smaller, I’ll tell you. It just makes me wider awake. It’s amazing how much clearer I feel now, and how quickly.
The issues with my medications have passed by safely. Luckily, I didn’t have to go to a psych ward to get things straightened out this time. Often, I do. This little crisis was handled right here at home, in assisted living.
I’ve been feeling kinda quiet recently, wondering what to write in the way of any stories or email, or what I should do altogether. It’s taken me sometime to get my medications balanced again, since the doctor began raising the number of pills I was taking, trying to remedy my anxiety. My writing has become one of the victims of my illness for a few days, but the problem is minimal. I finally feel like my thoughts are thawing out a little bit.
What a relief.
The problem was that I was having anxiety attacks in the dining room here at assisted living. The doctor was trying to help me with that problem chemically, so I might feel less uncomfortable in public. It worked over the short term, but now I want my creativity back again. Also, the doctor is cooperating. I’ve got to hand him that.
After reading over my notes, I see that the anxiety attacks I was reporting to the doctor were really very tangible attacks. I’m grateful for all the help I got. I got human support, too, as well as the chemical support. Apparently I needed both. Sometimes I need a little extra medication, and then I also benefit by a reduction in meds when the crisis is over. Sometimes, I’m flying this illness of mine by the seat of my pants. The illness has got it’s own ways, and I’ve learned to submit myself to those ways. I get a little weary of trying to harness my illness. There have been times I’ve had to get a major medication changes. The only clue I get is that I ended up suicidal under very ordinary circumstances. I’ve become one heck of a survivor over the years.
The other thing I was doing was avoiding my meetings of the program there for a little while. Boy, was that a mistake! I may be an old timer in the program, with years upon years away from a drink, but I’m still an alcoholic. I need my meetings to function like any other well integrated person.
My sobriety is not really so fragile that I’d chuck it all at the drop of a hat. I’ve worked so hard at keeping my own personal miracle alive. I’ve been faithful for a long time. But I’m an alcoholic, and I get uncomfortable around drunks. The other thing I get uncomfortable around is smokers. It’s not that the idea that someone else is doing those things makes me want to do them myself. It’s that I don’t like how those things effect my environment and my moods. Drunks are obnoxious, and smokers interfere with my breathing. I never realized how much those things bothered me, until I stopped doing them. Other people have similar reactions.
The other thing is that I do my best to look at life thru a spiritual lens. Anyone who doesn’t think spiritually gets on my nerves, at least a little bit. And there are plenty of those around. All I would have to do is say something about my faith in one of my writer’s groups online, and I’d be on the outs with all the atheists in the group. So, I’ll say it here instead.
The thing that happened to me was that I got a series of miracles. I want to do everything within my power to cooperate with those miracles on an ongoing basis. How I ever conquered alcoholism, as well as drug and nicotine addictions, is nothing short of a dynamic series of miracles in my life over a significant period of time. For someone to disrespect that experience is irritating to me. It gets on my nerves. But regardless of what other people do, I owe it to myself to be faithful to what my Higher Power wants of me. I’m staying sober.
In my opinion, the true mystery of life is hid in God, and all that He does for people.
Someone I met not very long ago has taken his own life since I met him. I’ve been trying to picture what the man looked like, but I only met him once. I work awfully hard to keep from doing that sort of thing to myself. I don’t ever want to compromise this great gift the Lord my God has given me. I want to live and abide in sobriety, smoke free for the remainder of my lifetime. It’s a revelation to me every day of my life that I accomplish that goal now. I watch my life unfold in the most remarkable ways. What an adventure!