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i haven’t been on line for a very long time. being able to pay attention and put even a few words together, focusing on a topic has been out of my reach for a while. i finished taking the klonopin and all of my meds april 25, ’08. it hasn’t been long. but the withdrawal, rebound…what was going on…not a good time.

but, knock on wood, i think things are getting a dab better. i do have some pretty “normal” days that all my senses are intact, my mind seems to be working well but i guess the best feeling is just not feeling “me”…my body or mind. no, i’m not saying i’m numbed out. it was just the constant bombardment of symptoms, side effects, psychological stuff…i was just too aware of me. it’s nice to walk around and be able to see, smell, hear, pay attention to other things that are going on. withdrawal began to feel like the worst prison i could imagine…trapped in my own, very sick and going crazy body!

i like feeling like i’m in touch with the world around me. usually i say that and hear that from others when they’re recovering from alcoholism and addictions! been down that block. this was worse…way worse. but i can cry and sometimes laugh…i do some creative things and have really gotten into cleaning out and organizing my sinfully messy home…i had lost all emotions but had anger, depression and severe anxiety. those bad ones are still with me, but they are much more quiet. i did decide to take some very low doses of two meds that are pretty weak in the spectrum of psych meds, but i’m sure they’re still not great for me. i just needed a break and those tiny doses of neurontin and wellbutrin have given me a holding place i think. i think i’ll rest here for a few months and then regroup and reassess.

so…i’ve been running a support group for fibromyalgia for all these months that i’ve been absent. i will also start yoga teacher training in september. let’s hope i can maintain…i think i can if i just believe.

after all…faith is all i really have. i have to believe.

peace!

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since fibromyalgia is a complex disorder that requires a multi-disciplined approach in its treatment. there is no one correct, end-all, be-all approach for all people. in the beginning (before ’01) i had gained a lot of weight (i am typically pretty small) and my ability to exercise and manage much of anything had disappeared. not exactly the person you meet today. but from the beginning i had been advised by every doctor i saw to push through the fatigue and pain. it seemed overwhelming and i could not understand why they would ask me to do that. but i did a endless hours of research over the years and began to do what my docs and the research were telling me. i discovered focus on relaxation and exercise is many fold and is supported by all major research and medical foundations such as the arthritis foundation and mayo clinic. it seemed to me that people who were getting better  were the ones who’d found relief when they have adopted a routine including exercise, relaxation, healthy sleeping habit and other life management skills. this adaptation was not easy and i was faced with it before i had a diagnosis. i am not more motivated or have less pain than anyone else. i’m a fairly average person. so, i’ve felt hurt when people look at me and say “you’re just stronger” or “well your pain’s not that bad”. but not every day is good and fatigue drags me down to a halt during flairs.
the person you meet (on a good day) today, is not the person i had become years back. it took major attitude adjustments (2×4’s to the head, knees, legs, feet…) and learning…trying things and failing…to find some relief from the most disturbing aspects of this disorder. but first i had to become open minded and willing. the pain was in my body, but as i’ve seen with so many others in some horrible chronic situations…it’s all about the attitude! that’s no small thing. i fought everyone and didn’t think they knew what they were asking me to do! i was angry all the time. i couldn’t understand and i thought my doctors were quacks and incompetent. now, my song is changing as i’ve changed. they’ve become my partners in trying to make it through this maze. but i still get tired and the pain flairs…i still have days that i feel i can’t do anything. i have bad attitude days…and that can be expected. i have to remind myself that i didn’t make myself sick, but with help, i can get myself muchbetter. slowly i’m noticing progress. but it’s progress not perfection!
 
regarding exercise, i learned it must be geared towards the person with fibromyalgia. “regular” exercise classes are often too strenuous and fibro patients leave because they do not benefit from those. exercise done incorrectly (for a fibro patient) can, in fact, exacerbate the pain and fatigue. the gentle exercise outlined by the arthritis foundation and others will work, but it takes time and doing and must be done as regularly as possible. that coupled with correcting sleep disorders (the gentle exercise goes a long way to do that by reducing pain, raising serotonin, releasing endorphins and helping us to be tired at night…avoiding sleep during the day) because lack of sleep compounds and results in most of the symptoms fibro patients deal with, when healthy sleep patterns are restored most symptoms improve or disappear via that channel as well.
 
for me, my fibro seemed beyond debilitating…my life as i knew it stopped. for years things got worse until i couldn’t take it. it was either end this life or try this option…(yes i’ve become totally despondent and hoped for death rather than living like this). the medications never helped and any other passivetreatment i tried…didn’t help. from all research i had gathered, and on line support networks i had participated in, this is the one of the best medicines that seems to have been offered, not only to me but far too many others who i’ve communicated with or read their stories. it can sound disheartening to leave a doctor’s office with the advice being go and exercise and get better sleep (god i came to you for help and you tell me to go help myself?), but there is a reason for that. for one dr.s and research do not have a clear enough picture of what fibro is…and believe it or not…this is not the only disorder that the person with the job description of “doctor” has to deal with. with still foggy descriptions of what fibro might be and how it mightbe treated…they all do their best. the ground rules are somewhat clearer, but still, not exact or complete. rheumatologists are, at this time, the recognized specialists for fibro…at this time. that is where the major advancements are being made in treatment and diagnosis.
 
at this time there is no pill or treatment that has the long term, wide reaching benefits that countless research efforts have shown with the exercise, sleep and stress management protocols. combined, they do work if we let them. a doctor can’t do that for us…i believe that we are personally responsible for our care. i found that when i stopped being angry at the medical community and started helping myself…i improved. the reasons for that, again are multi-fold. that shift resulted in self-empowerment and knowledge which goes a long way to helping us feel better and regain a foothold in a life that has…slipped away. we regain a sense of self and self-esteem that we lost to criticism and doubt. when no one could seem to help us our self-esteem shattered as people questioned “why can’t you just pull it together and stop spending all of your time in dr.s’ offices?”…like that’s what you really wanted…but true…you were going to have to start paying rent at your dr.s’ appointments.
 
we never like to hear that “it’s all in our heads”. all chronically ill people fight that stigma at different stages of their process. but the most significant change for the better in our treatment does happen in our minds. when our outlook and attitude changes…our prognosis improves. this is true of any chronic illness or situation. fibromyalgia is not unique that way. and if you’ve read my blogg you know that i’ve dealt with a few chronic illnesses.
 
all though by no means is “exercise” the only protocol i’veused, as many disciplines are necessary to reboot a life that has been halted by fibromyalgia, hopefully the group (a new support group in town) can bring ways of implementing various protocols that are tailored to the person with fibromyalgia. while we hope for other medical progress to be made in bring relief for the major symptoms of pain and fatigue, etc, that may still be long in coming and this is the “best practice” at this time. chances are that this will always be a standard protocol as it is and has been for decades, for so many chronic disorders and well…just living well.
i will share that i take lyrica…i think it helps some but i’m not fond of the side effects. i’ve taken it regularly for several months and was on neurontin for years before it. i hope that some of the protocols i’m following might allow me to get off the lyrica too, but in time…one thing at a time.
some good fibro links:
national fibromyalgia research association: http://www.nfra.net/nfra-resource.htm
fibromyalgia network http://www.fmnetnews.com/
national fibromyalgia network: http://www.fmaware.org/site/PageServer

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 i was going to delete this, but then i pulled back and read the whole thing…i could see my thought process as i was having a “borderline melt down”. even though my focus, in this blog, is on my withdrawal from meds and fibromyalgia, i have lived as a recovering borderline amongst other things. boy can my thoughts bounce around and i spared the laundry list! but watch the process! the fear, resentment, paranoia, blaming…oh what an angry little girl i can still be! (description of BPD below)

feeling well seems to be a blessing and a curse. i haven’t been around to write on this blog for awhile now…and i’m sure, if i continue with the work i’m trying to do, that my time will continue to be restricted but, i’m having a day…well several by now…that is leaving me feeling horrible. i can’t seem to be able to talk with anyone about all that is going on but i’m feeling guilty for having tried to choose a better path for my daughter, surviving several sincere suicide attempts, recovering from alcoholism and getting off addicting meds! yes, sometimes i honestly wish my path had zigged instead of zagged at all of these points. i’m screaming at god and looking at people who i thought were my friends and wondering why there is so much resentment and anger…why does it have to be mine too.

i’m usually fairly good at dodging emotional bullets…my whole life has been made up of that. but when there are just too many bullets in the air…god i wish i were wonder woman with the large amulets. but i’m not. i’m just a person, alone, trying to go with the flow and make the best decisions i can. even best of intentions often seem to be thrown back in your face with added crap.

i can’t apologize for being born into a rich family. that was never the grace that so many people seem to think it was. i’m slowly trying to pull up my boot strings over the fact that my father died and i was the only one not mentioned in his will. (this just happened september of ’07.) he mentioned his dogs, home health aids, brother’s grandchildren, other family members and the remainder to my daughter. this was the end of a bitter, life long struggle for a father’s love. the manipulative act of leaving everything to my daughter just…doesn’t suprise me. he can continue to reach out from the grave and manipulate.  and he’s succeeded. there is nothing more i can ever do and my father’s last efforts on this planet were to let people know just how much he hated me. his decisions have left a continued destruction of what family remains as they take that as a final declaration to what a horrible person i am. loss, loss and more loss compounded with judgement…from friends and family. god can anyone just stop gossiping and talk to me. talk to me about the truth? this world is not fair and i won’t yell “not fair”. that is a law i accepted a long time ago. i never set out looking for justice or fairness…life is not just and redemption is rare. i have never set out to intentionally hurt anyone but my actions are constantly interpreted as having ulterior motives and i can honestly say that i never set out to do good to gain anything other than to set back and see good done. i never want my name attached and i try to do as much anonymously as i can. i flinch if people talk of my good deeds publicly. but i do glow when i see good things happen. why wouldn’t anyone. i guess i try extra hard to those ends. i think it is the effort that offends people. i think it is that, i use my free time and resources to help others when ever i have them…often though to the extent of over extending myself. i don’t do that to martyr or put others to shame…no, i love to share in the efforts when ever possible but if no one else picks up on the work i feel obligated to finish what i start. if i did harm it wasn’t intentional and believe me when i say i live with the consequences and constant, nagging, resurfacing painful reminders. i don’t say this as an excuse…i don’t believe in excuses…but i need to remember that i’ve been a very sick person for most of my life and i’ve been tossed out and alone in trying to manage a very messed up life.  i don’t expect others to carry that burden, but i do wish others could view my decisions with some compassion and a bit of respect. i tried to do the very best i could. this seems to have become some sort of battle cry and i don’t think life should be such a battle. a person needs a resting point…some forgiveness and “you did the best you could”. because…i have addressed my illness and i have worked so, so hard to recover from illnesses most people do not recover from. but when i get slammed from all sides i wish i could still hide behind my illness. but, i don’t want to be forced back into the darkness of borderline, bipolar, eating disorders, alcoholism, addiction…too much. i just want to be and at times i think i just want to be alone. people are too hard for me to navigate. but i’m human and i get lonely. i guess that’s why i turn to writing on here. every once in awhile i peek my head out into the world of the living only to do a hasty retreat from their games. i’m not that savvy…i don’t navigate the game playing world of soap operas. it’s too prevalent in the circles i frequent…and i need to frequent them because my continued recovery depends on it. but, the very help i need is equally capable of undoing and destroying the progress i make. it seems that people only want you around if you’re down and failing but the moment you’re doing well and having some small successes they make a world of controversy over what you’re trying to do. i avoid a lot of group activities because i don’t “play well with others”. i try to grow with this issue…. i may be so much healthier now, but i guess basic human skills continue to elude me. but i have to ask if i’m more plugged in now than i allow the feed back to tell me. maybe that i’m having friction around these sick people (who i thought were healthier people) is a sign that i’m better and maybe i’m swimming in the wrong pool. i’ve invested 11 years of my life trying to live up to certain principles. not perfectly, but consistently.  i get worn down like this often and maybe it’s my depression. no, it’s the borderline thoughts in my head.

god…i’m blabbering and unraveling here.

i haven’t been able to tend to myself and i’ve become caught up in “friendships”, not of my choosing, that are very sick. some people are seriously disturbed. i should know better than to help people who present as borderlines! yes, they can jump in to call me a “friend” but that’s not what i am…with newly recovering, sick people, that’s how it goes…as a person just beginning on the road, a borderline, isn’t really capable of being a friend to anyone…not even themslevles. when you are struggling with so many inside voices you can’t consider anything going on outside of your mind. i’ve heard it when i’ve suggested helping another as a way towards recovering: “why should i help her…she doesn’t have anything to offer me“. now…i can see what helping another person can do for me…but it’s still a difficult path for me to walk. shoot i know what i was like…and being one doesn’t always leave you better off in seeing one. my heart goes out to people in the throws of this disorder. i grew up in the midst of a borderline family, but i got out…i want to stay out.  borderlines will always try to pull you into that hole with them. while having been a deeply disturbed bpd, i still have to agree that borderlines are the most dangerous population in the mental health world to tangle with. besides my own recovery process, i have read extensively and if you have done your home work then you know that i’m not damning anyone…bpd means seriously sick…

but this disorder is like no other as it is an affliction of the personality and not a “chemical imbalance” or organic brain syndrome. most simply, it is learned and must be unlearned. if you know the difference and where that falls on the nosology…i needn’t say more. i’m not saying that borderlines don’t need help, but you have to be very skilled and armed…set up to do the job. not being able to handle the disorder well is just as destructive, if not maybe more, than not trying at all. what they write about borderlines is true…i lived it and i remember what i was like…

i see what the remnants of borderline are still like in my life. i may have had significant recovery but really, the volume is just turned down very low…i am still borderline, just to a lesser degree…much lesser. i never want to see that volume turned up again. when i get scared and unravel as i’m doing now…the volume seems to want to get louder…that is the process of that disorder. it is a cacophony of destructive voices going off in your head…fighting the whole world and your self.

damnit! busted! ok, i see what’s going on…i was sitting outside, frittering away over a laundry list of resentments and woes. wow can some people throw zingers at me if they want to hurt me…and then i throw in a few myself…that’s it! ok…nothing is really wrong”here. sitting down to write this out when i couldn’t find anyone to talk to, is helping here. my wonderful psychologist walked me down this path, kicking and screaming for over 7 years and now…if i remember her lead…i can, with in reason, navigate that path alone when i must. and…i must do it alone a lot. with borderline…sometimes you get hit with a big one and sometimes small, but the blows can come in rapid succession and the voices can become very athoritarian!LOL in my “down” times, when my reserves are low (and they come as a direct result of neglecting my personal care), i can feel like i’m driving down a road loaded with speed bumps at 50 mph and that is a lot to lay on other people.

that is how us borderlines suck the souls out of others. to compound that…i was trying to give a hand up to another borderline and she grabbed my hand and started the long sustained pull of the borderline. a little is never enough and enough is never enough. we are vacuous, black holes! i know! i need, need, need…and on a bad day i can become a whiny six year old in just moments. thank god i can usually detect that rush of borderline behavior when it begins to seep in. sometimes i can’t be objective and the behavior carries me away.

i have to watch “people, places and things” as they say in my support group. i have to check and recheck my intentions, because i can slide down that darn slippery slope of borderline behavior…which is so much more insidious than my alcoholism (but the two play darn well together). constantly, i have to ask myself “why are you doing this”. it can be exhausting, keeping the disorder in check, but i count my blessings that i was given the insight to do it. it was a lot of sacrifice on the part of my psychologist and a scary road of trust and surrender on mine. i continue to seek guidance from other qualified people. managing this disorder gets easier as we get older…perhaps wiser. life won’t be perfect…but is it for anyone? being honest and realistic are two qualities i try so hard to embrace every day. doubt and those darn voices can try to destroy my serenity but i am the final word on what happens with my thoughts. i don’t have to act on every thought and i can surely just release most of them.

so, thoughts, fly away now…

i should garden and play with my dogs for a bit.

peace out

what is BPD?:

Raising questions, finding answers

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual’s sense of self-identity. Originally thought to be at the “borderline” of psychosis, people with BPD suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation. While less well known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), BPD is more common, affecting 2 percent of adults, mostly young women.1 There is a high rate of self-injury without suicide intent, as well as a significant rate of suicide attempts and completed suicide in severe cases.2,3 Patients often need extensive mental health services, and account for 20 percent of psychiatric hospitalizations.4 Yet, with help, many improve over time and are eventually able to lead productive lives.

Symptoms

While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day.5 These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone.

People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthless. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.

People with BPD exhibit other impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, binge eating and risky sex. BPD often occurs together with other psychiatric problems, particularly bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other personality disorders.

Treatment

Treatments for BPD have improved in recent years. Group and individual psychotherapy are at least partially effective for many patients. Within the past 15 years, a new psychosocial treatment termed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed specifically to treat BPD, and this technique has looked promising in treatment studies.6

read more:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/borderline-personality-disorder.shtml

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seeking aid for addictions in prescripton meds: this was an interesting blog by “oasis avanced wellness”,  discussing an issue near and dear to my heart…taking meds, often in place of adjusting lifestyle and even when taking it in an effort to work on lifestyle issues…the side effects and direct effects can undermine your best efforts. in addition the liabilty of risk of depression and suicide no doubt out weigh any risks one might find in using support groups, individual counseling and life style classes to manage addictive behaviour.

Risk of depression dims hopes for anti-addiction pills
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE / 4 days ago

CHICAGO (AP) – Two years ago, scientists had high hopes for new pills that would help people quit smoking, lose weight and maybe kick other tough addictions like alcohol and cocaine.

The pills worked in a novel way, by blocking pleasure centers in the brain that provide the feel-good response from smoking or eating. Now it seems the drugs may block pleasure too well, possibly raising the risk of depression and suicide. read more: http://www.oasisadvancedwellness.com/health-articles/2008/04/big-pharma-markets-vice-pills-despite.html

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my counselor and i began discussing polarity therapy…energy work. i wanted to read more about what exactly it was. i’m very familiar with a variety of yoga, meditation and have had reiki, massage and acupuncture work done…but i wanted to know more about polarity therapy because this is just another area that  can use improvement when one is trying to work towards a healthy lifestyle. so here’s a good, straight forward article, from the american polarity therapy association, on what polarity work is: http://www.polaritytherapy.org/page.asp?PageID=24

an interesting book that my counselor gave me by caroline myss, phd, called “why people don’t heal and how they can” (also wrote “anatomy of the spirit”) deals with incorporating energy work into a holistic mind, body, spirit approach to healing. now i know the title might put you off, but i’ve been following other works that deal with “road blocks” in healing and this is a positive and good read if you’re experiencing “being stuck”.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0609802240/interactiveda936-20

i’ve been at this “wellness” gig for over 20 years. i began searching out many spiritual and nutrition based approaches as a teenager. initially i was concerned with the usual teenage issues like acne and weight but what i discovered, worked, so i stuck with it. as i was digging around that community, which was very small back then, i met a lot of people and was turned on to a variety of readings and experiences. i was learning about ways to heal some deep inner pains that i was already wrestling with, and having some horrible consequences from very bad, maladaptive behaviour and personality issues. i became a devout buddhhist in my early twenties and the search continued. but i am convinced from the many positive experiences that i’ve had, that this whole arena of mind, body, spirit healing is key for living well.

i still struggle with a lot. i’m not whining, but life just can never be normal for me. i keep stumbling across huge hurdles and crashing into brick walls. by now my problems must largely be due to brain damage from all of my collisions with life! but MRIs and other say that, anatomically, i seem “normal”. my gastro. dr came into the room a few days back, sat down and looked at me squarely and said “your tests are normal but…you are not!” and we laughed.

so, after over 11 years on a battery of psych meds for bipolar and spotty treatments for fibromyalgia, i felt i was not longer benefiting from the pharmaceuticals and was going broke in the pursuit of maintaining that. i guess i’m finding out that no matter which direction you go in…if you live out here…it’s not going to cheap and access to help is going to be limited. moving is not an option for me. so i have to work with what i   can  learn to do.

just what can i do from learning? i can maintain a healthy diet and exercise (walking, yoga, physical therapy). i can work on my spirituality (reading, AA, community). i have limited access to a counselor but she’s great and that’s what counts. books and videos are helpful. i have a good thing with my AA community and they do what they can (moral support and other help). there’s the phone, which can be my lifeline on days that i’m not doing well. the internet provides many opportunities to learn of up to date information on nutrition, techniques and therapies. while attending classes and having practitioners would be optimal…you do what you can. at best, things can get frustrating…very.  but when the rewards appear and even if they’re small, it’s great. you learn to appreciate the small things because healing from life long spiritual wounds and chronic issues is a slow process. i may rush with some things but i can’t afford to be down for long or maintain costly therapies that i have no funds for. but much of my process is about patience…the patient practices can be a long and lonely journeys some days and it’s easy to get despondent when you are just plain hurting and down. i’m not a monk…i’m just human…a sick human trying to heal.

while i’m off all of my “psych” meds i am still taking lyrica. i don’t think i’m fond of the lyrica? i take melatonin and it does help me  sleep very well and i wake up feeling good. i ran out of guaifenesin a couple days ago and found out just how much that was helping my fibromyalgia. i ran into the 4 corner town a few miles down the road to see if they just had something containing guaifenesin…i didn’t think they’d have what i take, but i found it…after half an hour i was feeling much more on track. gaufinesen an oddball therapy for fibro but it was in the book my dr. gave me and i thought i could try it…it seems to really help. (Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual (2nd Edition) by Devin J. Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland)  also a good article on guaifenesin therapy: http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/Articles_HYSTERIA.htm for now, i’ll take any help, because simply being able to do anything but lay on the sofa is an improvement and i need to be able to be up, moving around and communicating. i’ve got a lot of writing to do and i’m just trying to avoid it right now!

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i would like to say that this is another journey i don’t want to see come to an end but i’d be lying. detoxing off of my psych meds has made my top three list of most difficult things to do. but to think that it ends here would be…well let’s say getting the drugs out of the system is a only a portion and beginning of journey.

as i learned from getting sober…more than once…there are a lot of life skills i need to acquire, to make up for what i was depending on the drugs to do. i was lucky in that i’ve had a great foundation and have worked with some people who’ve really put me to work! i see so many people living with the illusion that the drugs/meds are “the therapy”. gosh folks, if we don’t know by now, we’ll never learn…that they are only a brief/portion means to an end. they can help clear things up and and make a newly diagnosed person a little more capable of coping (which in the beginning can feel like a lot). but if you do not develop a good set of life skills to depend on…you will start heading off in an even worse direction. and, having mental illness, depression, bipolar, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or any chronic disorder…we shouldn’t feel singled out as having an added burden of the need to learn these skills…granted we might have some more work to do, but all people would be wise, to be conscious of these simple, almost obvious skills that need to be created and sharpened.

i just have to say, that being on line with this journey has been one the greatest, free, adjunct therapies i could recommend. i’ve been able to put my stuff out there, and receive input. i’ve had the chance to read other people’s experiences and tips and have good exchanges of information and support! the support to gather more information and research…to be an informed consumer and participant in managing my life has been invaluable.

but, my journey is just beginning. the meds may be gone by the weekend but learning to live with out them is the next…the real part of the journey. i got off these meds so my life would be better and now it is time to set my sights on that process. i will still have the lyrica to contend with, but one thing at a time…doing to much at one time was part of the mess i got into.

in the past i’ve discussed various things that i’ve been picking up over the years and past months…such things to look at as: laughter, spirituality, brain exercises for mental acuity, using support groups (blogging), etc…there is a lot of discussion about diet, exercise and supplements in everyone’s blogs. all of these things are great life skills to work on that make our life’s great. i am still being exposed to more books and practices that support healthy living. that learning, is never ending.

i’m really looking forward to continuing my journey off meds both on line as well as…in my life. i do feel reeeeally good! (allergies and fibro…i can deal with that) there is much more to come thanks to being able to get off my meds (fellow bloggers), staying sober (AA), good living (counselor, friends, neighbors) and spiritual living (i should go back to church).

so moving forward here. my next effort is getting back into grad school. they could always just say “no”, but they could say yes (maybe with provisions)…but what ever happens…happens. as i get more busy with those ventures i will have less time to write here. but, my writing here is very important to me so, it is something that has to go on the list of “things to do”. if i don’t post much in a week it is likely because i’m doing well. of course when i’m having a more difficult day, i tend to not write either, but let’s go with the thought that i’m not here, because i’m out there putting the metal to the test!

this is just another beginning!

peace out!

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i thought i’d share a letter i completed. i made a difficult decision, to try to return to my graduate studies in counseling and i’m asking for a second chance after i completely unraveled, unknowingly, from multiple prescription drug addictions and entered into subsequent relapse in my alcoholism.

hi p.,
 
it’s been a couple of years now…after talking with a lot of people for a while, everyone’s input has led me back to the same spot: “go back to work on your degree in counseling”. so…
 
my BVR counselor, c., suggested that, in light of how things ended for me in the department, maybe i should initially contact you to talk about how i might be able to get back into the program to complete my masters degree in counselor education.
 
after all this time has passed and so many things have happened, i can see more clearly, what went wrong my last time around. yes, i wrestled with being very sick, but what i wasn’t fully aware of was that i had developed an addiction to pain medication after being prescribed the drugs for over two years! yes i was working on my counseling degree. yes i was active in AA. i was even counseling and working with so many alcoholics and addicts. but, since i never abused my medication and never got high off of it…drugs were never “my thing”…i didn’t see what was happening to me. at one point i told my doctors that i needed to stop taking the pain meds, but i didn’t realize that i was addicted. my behavior and judgment had gradually been changing and finally, when i did try to stop the meds…well i tailspinned into a total relapse with my drinking. but through it all…i couldn’t see what was happening.
 
amazing that with all the resources and experience i had…it happened (well i happened). and of course i can see all the elements of my unraveling now…the most sneaky aspect was that i got so busy working with others (interning)…at the end of a day i would feel that “i’ve been studying, counseling and working with other alcoholics and addicts, facilitating groups…i probably don’t need to get myself to my meetings and continue with the work that supports my continued recovery”. i’ve learned from raising this issue in meetings and while giving leads, that this is a very common cause for addiction and relapse in the helping professions. (you hear about it, but you can feel immune until it knocks on your door.) working in the counseling field can be full of “land mines” we don’t consider until we’ve stepped on one, and it’s not for lack of warning signs. this time around, things got much worse before they started getting better. i got back into AA in september of ’06. it’s been a good and productive 18+ months.
 
i just uncovered recently…and here’s a really good one…that i was addicted to klonopin! after over 11 years on the prescription drug…go figure. it was when i began a titrate off of all my medications and finally approached the detox from klonopin that, all of my addictions became so horribly clear to me. it took going through an intentional and “going into with your eyes open” detox off of meds (and i’ve been this route on alcohol) to understand and see what’s been going on over the years. it’s humbling to look back and think that “someone like me”,  could have become so tangled in so many addictions, for over a decade, even in active recovery, therapy, under doctors’ supervision, and studying to become a counselor!
 
i can’t say that everything is alright now. no, there’s a lot of stuff to continue to learn, clean up and work on. what i’m aware of now is how one can get “lost” in the midst of trying to be a counselor and…in life. there may be no perfect prevention, but there is a lot of “psychosocial insurance” available. i have a valuable past to illustrate what can lurk in the shadows, of even a seemingly together person…as i once thought i was. i’m a firm believer that the wreckage of our past can be our most valuable resource as we try to move forward.
 
with all of that said…am i crazy for wanting to re-enter the counseling program? maybe. i weathered some storms that woke me up and taught me some…great lessons. while i am still me, i can’t help but be changed. i have some good material to bring to the table. so…i’m wondering if i might be able to schedule a time to come in and meet with you to discuss what is going on in the program now and if i may still find a place there.
 
thank you for your time,

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