Depression. That word that no one wants to feel or talk about.
I was diagnosed with depression in 1993. After I had my first child. I had been a happy person all my life up until I started feeling off. Off in the ways like sad, angry, felt rage, tired, suicidal, and no motivation. I didn’t know what was going on with myself. How could I be like this when I just had my child. A child that I wanted, the family I had been longing for. I had a son, so why was I so full of these dark scary emotions.
No one wants to admit or acknowledge that they may be affected by depression. We want too be perfect. We want to be like everyone else. The sad thing is we only see what others want us to see. We have many masks we put on when we have to be around people.
When I started to feel all the emotions that come along with depression, I had no idea what was happening. I would be happy one day or minute and full of rage wanting to drive my car off a cliff or into a brick wall. I wanted to cry for no reason or I just didn’t want to come out of my room, see or speak to anyone, I wanted to die.
I spoke to my sons father about it and he told me to go to the doctor. I was afraid and ashamed that I could be one of “those people“. Not perfect. I didn’t want to be on meds to make me feel better.
My mother in law at that time was very supportive and put me in contact with someone who had been diagnosed with depression as well. I have to say, that was the point. I decided to go to the doctor and talk about what was happening, I couldn’t live like this. I had a son, a family to be here for.
The doctor told me I had a lack of serotonin in my brain and that was causing the major mood swings. She put me on Prozac. Prozac at that time was getting a lot of backlash due to people committing suicide when prescribed the medication.
I was on 20mg per day and I have to be honest I felt the difference in a matter of days. Maybe it was because I had succumbed to the diagnoses and talked about how I felt instead of hiding in my mind, but the difference was life changing. I was happy again and functioned like “normal“.
Back in 1993, there was no internet yet, so there was no outlet on social media where you could relate to all the others that were, or are struggling in the area of depression or suicidal thoughts. There was no one to secretly talk to. Just you against the world and the shaming and labeling. The hiding.
Today I am still on my anti-depressants and I am not afraid to say it. I am thankful for the science behind the medication that can change your life and HELP with depression. Could you imagine what life would be like to suffer without proper medication? I know I wouldn’t be here without it.
I still have bad days that bring me down but I know what it is now and I can handle the emotions. I take a day to myself whether it be a day of movies in comfy clothes or a few hours of nap time. I tell myself that this too shall pass and wait and distract.
My message to those suffering in the dark, alone and no good days in sight. Get help, reach out to someone, No one judges you as much as yourself, Self sabotage is the worst and can make things a lot more difficult. Turn that voice off and talk too someone. PLEASE. We need you, your family needs you, you, need you.
I am not ashamed to be “those people” cause I am one of “those people“.
What is “normal” anyway?
Together by sharing we can make a difference in peoples lives.
I hope this helps you today.
It takes a strong person to admit their faults but takes an even stronger and braver person to do something about it and TALK about it!
This is, Being Me Sober
I had a dream last night.
I was watching my son play and laugh. He was happy and I was crying in my dream. Someone in my dream was showing me what I had missed because of my drinking.
I was crying because I felt I had missed all of his childhood because of my drinking. I felt horrible, I felt sad and I felt I was unavailable.
Even though I was present and available for them throughout their childhood, I guess subconsciously I know they lacked the security as children. I know they heard the fights, they seen my depression first hand and went through the divorce of their father with me. They’ve seen abuse first hand, whether witnessing or being on the end of it from their father.
As much as I have tried to shield them from the damage caused from drinking, divorce, and abuse, there are moments that we, as parents, even the “perfect” parent, can not shield our children from.
There are moments of regrets I have as a mother that I do think of often.
I wish my children never saw me at my worst, I wish they never saw me as anything but a strong secure mom.
When we think of the times when our children witnessed our drinking episodes and what it has done to them emotionally we also must remember they saw us recover as well.
When I decided to give up the drinking I didn’t do it just for myself. I did it because I was killing my children emotionally. Killing any good they saw in the world. I was killing myself. Where would they be if I did die or continued in this drunk escape. We as parents are all they have, we are their world.
I wanted to get sober and be better but in my state of mind at that time I was so low and carrying so much emotional baggage that I did not care what happened to me, but I did care what happened to my children.
We can’t go back and repair what has already happened but we can make it better and heal. Heal each other.
When we are seen in recovery from either alcohol or drugs and we slowly start to love ourselves, feel good about our progress, and stay committed to our sobriety, our family and friends see that as well. They start to see the strength, the determination and the real person behind the fog.
The anger slowly starts to leave. The doors open for a new you to come through.
When I awoke from this dream I reminded myself that yes, there have been many moments of regret but there are also moments of clarity and forgiveness, for myself and from the ones I love.
They now understand the disease and reasons behind the bottle. The why?
They’ve gone through the recovery along side of you. With you.
Do you think we recover alone? Our family, friends, or whoever is begging you to sober up or get clean, they are full of anxiety, mixed emotions of hate, anger, love, panic. Constantly waiting for us to relapse. If and when we do. They go through just as much as we do. They are also in recovery.
Drinking is easy!
Recovery is anything but, it takes work, hard work, it takes strength and most of all commitment.
So if your tormenting yourself about past regrets, remember how much you fought to get where you are. How strong you have become.
When you think of your children, the damage, the regrets, think of the strength you’ve put back into their lives by watching you get well and recover and being here, sober/clean, physically, mentally and emotionally with them, that right there is showing them more than we will ever know.
Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow is not here.
Today, is all we have.
This Is Being Me Sober
I have to say I can not believe it has been a year since I wrote to the world. Guess I’ve been a little busy having fun.
I really hope you are all holding up as good as you can.
We, my husband and I were away at our winter home in Florida when the Covid 19 hit South Florida. Every news channel and radio station had been talking about this virus and how fast and deadly it was spreading. Our kids were calling to tell us they had to cancel their flights to come down and ordering us to get home. Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. So we thought.
All the talk about 2 meters apart, stay home, don’t breathe! The entire world was shutting down.
Until we drove home and were ordered to stay indoors for 14 days and watching the news day after day did it sink in. This is really bad. This is really scary.
Now, 4 months in, I still feel we are far from getting over this, if we ever will.
My thoughts lead me to thinking about all of those struggling with mental health issues. How will they cope? How will they fill their day without being able to leave the house? How will this affect their sobriety and strength both mentally and physically? I am worried about my fellow warriors who are trying to live a life without alcohol in a pandemic. This is the first pandemic of our lifetime so there are no resources or plans made in place for when situations arise. My heart is heavy for those suffering in any situation, alcohol, drugs, abuse, depression, etc. Not having the outlets readily available to them at the time of a crisis.
In today’s world atleast we have online meetings that can be very helpful. But some need that person to person contact, so we arrange for a parking lot meeting and stay in our cars. We put glass shields up, we stand outside windows to say hello to friends and family. We adjust and struggle to live the life we are used to but now with strict orders and a whole new way of living outside our homes.
It’s a shock to our system, to our way of living. Not only are we faced with changing everything in and about our life, we now are forced to not hug, not touch, stay 6ft away from people, waiting in lines to shop anywhere, wearing a mask and so on. It brings anger, frustration and irritability.
The feeling of helplessness is on high alert for a lot of people and there are no outlets for them at this time.
What can we do for our community? What can we do to help?
We can do extra care for those needing help, we can make ourselves more available to talk, to calm, to support, by social media, by picking up the telephone and calling a friend who may need to hear your voice. We can grab a coffee for 2 and have a drive way coffee date. But mostly we can and will get through this if we stick together. Reach out if you need help. Please.
I’m thinking of all of you throughout this pandemic and hoping you all stay strong and safe.
We are all in this together. Even without a pandemic, we are in this together!
This is, Being Me Sober
State of Mind Recovery Coach.
I read a book recently wrote by Elizabeth Vargas off 20/20, Between Breaths. Well written and so honest. Such a triumphant thing for her to do as she bares all in the real life off camera totally exposed self. Great job Elizabeth!
First let me say what a battle she went through to become sober. Something she tried so hard to do for so long. The grips of alcoholism had her and was not letting go. The mind, the anxiety and fear she felt every waking day. To ease her anxiety and fears she, like many of us, found alcohol to ease the pain and fears of a traumatic childhood or experience.
One of my favourite parts of the book was when she was in her 3rd stint of rehab, a horrible jail like place where you were basically cut off from the outside world.
It was her 2nd time at this facility and it was not going well. It wasn’t working for her.
A fellow facility worker and friend introduced her to a companion coach who brought Elizabeth back to life. Before leaving the facility, the patients and family members had a game let’s say, where they had to be blindfolded and follow a rope to find their way out of the maze and to home base. They were told to raise their hands if they had questions or needed something. Along the way Elizabeth kept hearing people come through the finish line and welcomed home. She was getting frustrated and angry that she kept bumping into walls and could not find the exit when everyone else seemed too, so easily.
Finally after hitting her 15th wall she raised her hand. Teddy, the facilitator came to her and asked what she needed. “I need help!” she cried. He took off her blindfold and welcomed her home. That was the way out of the maze, asking for help.
That is the way out of any addiction or anything you need help with in life. Ask for help. It is such a hard thing for us to do. Why? Does it make us look bad or weak? Is it because we have to let people in to see the real person you think you are?
Quote. “We all need help. We can’t think our way out of addiction. We can not will our way out. The first step to recovery is raising your hand and asking for help” end quote.
Isn’t that the truth. So many times I tried to convince myself that I never had a problem, I could control the consumption and I would do and be better.
Our intentions are there and we really do not want to live a life like this but we have gotten lost along the way and did things that we thought were helping us, not killing us. It works for only a short time until it doesn’t work anymore and you and everyone that loves you are begging for help.
I would highly recommend this book and would like to congratulate Elizabeth on her honesty and sharing her way through addiction and the consequences she has to deal with as a result. Not all bad but, some we can never forgive ourselves for.
With that I say, forgive yourselves for the past. It wasn’t you who made those bad decisions and choices, it’s the disease that had a hold of us until we had the strength and support we needed to come out on top and ask for help.
Make each and every day better than the last…..sober.
This is, Being Me Sober
Let’s face it, we, the addicted, have a hard time understanding our addiction in the early stages, so how can we expect our family member, friend, or anyone for that matter, understand what it is we feel inside when we make the choice to stop drinking or using. They don’t feel what we do, they don’t have the sudden urges or triggers we do. If you’ve never had cancer, how could you relate to the chemo treatments that debilitate them or understand the extreme sickness they go through.
How do we help them understand or feel what is going on in our bodies and mind.
Every one of us here on earth is addicted to something, coffee, exercise, cigarettes, etc. There are numerous things that we think we need to do too help us get through the day.
When I made the choice to remove alcohol from my life, I was the only one feeling the pains of emotional and physical changes in my mind and body. No one else in my family or my friends knew what I was going through. So, here is how I put it to my husband the other day when talking about letting something go that you have become so used to, such a part of your life and having to make a new life without it.
I said, “Imagine the doctor told you you could not run anymore, but he was going to get you up everyday and sit you in a chair beside the path where you used to run and make you watch them as they gloriously run by.” “Oh, he said with a painful look, “I couldn’t imagine that, that would be torture!”
When you can no longer live a life your accustomed to, you become suddenly at a lose with what your life will look like, how will I fit in, how will I cope, what will I do without it in my life? It’s so easy for people to tell you to just get over it or come on, it can’t be that bad, because they don’t understand.
As time progresses we fill that space with new healthier ways of living. We adjust to the way things have to be for us to live a long happy life. We start to understand why we can not do the things we did and accept a life without it.
Getting people who are close to you to understand what we go through is a bit challenging. It’s hard to fully understand but with communication and expression or examples they can get a better idea of the feelings we have to deal with along our journey which makes it a little easier for us to get by.
So if your wife, husband, friend, child etc has an addiction, please try to understand what they are going through inside. Once you do the whole progress gets a bit easier.
With just a little more understanding, together we can beat this!
This is, Being Me Sober
“I’m going to leave! RUN!”
That’s what I said to myself when I felt threatened, I felt insecure or was faced with confrontation. My first instinct would be to run, to avoid the heartache before it came. I wanted to be in control of the outcome. I would walk away before they would because I knew that’s what was going to happen anyways. I would pack a bag, figure out where I was going to go, which was nowhere because I didn’t have anyone really, just me, and later, myself and my 2 children. I would be freaking out inside because I really didn’t want to leave I was just so scared. It’s what I did, for so long.
What was I afraid of?
As young as 4 years old I saw physical abuse going on at home, an image I still can not get out of my mind today. Parents divorced when I was 5, and then the abuse turned onto me. At the age of 9 years old I felt the pain of abandonment and then throughout my early teenage years I was subjected to verbal abuse. I don’t remember what I felt then being so young, and not fully understanding what was happening. I imagine I was very scared, confused and sad. I carried with me all the anger, insecurities, confusion, and self doubt and it just grew and made itself at home in me over the years.
I was afraid of communicating how I felt. I didn’t know what or how to say what was going on in my head. Until I was full of drink and liquid courage, that’s when it turned and the shadows came out. I would believe that no one wanted me. Why would they want me?
I felt ashamed of myself for my lack of education, lack of money, lack of control. I was full of anger on the inside that showed its face when I drank in excess, binged all night long.
I discovered a way too protect myself and be in control. Run! Leave, before anyone gets the chance to hurt me again. I was in control.
How and when did that happen?
I was married at the age of 22 to a man for 13 years who gave me 2 beautiful children, first a son, then a daughter, but the marriage started to go really bad year after year. The verbal and physical abuse was escalating slowly but quickly for my son and I. I couldn’t do this to my children. I couldn’t continue to drink like this. I hated the man I was married to and the person I was. I had reached the point of leaving, running, for good.
My drinking got heavier and heavier just to be able to stay in the marriage. I had no where to go. No money as I was a stay at home mom. I worked of course, but never had enough to just leave for good. So I continued on with the marriage and the drink, and the hope that things got better.
I did leave though. It was a hell of a ride but I left and it was a very happy scary time as I headed into another unknown territory. It was just me and the kids for 2 years.
My drinking was not bad. I had a cleaning company and 2 kids to raise, I didn’t have time or the need for binge drinking all night. I was free. So I thought. I thought I would miraculously be healed if I didn’t have him in my life. That’s another story though.
Being insecure and having not one ounce of love for myself, carrying all the weight of my past has caused me to jeopardize and at times, sabotage relationships. I couldn’t communicate because I was afraid and didn’t know how or where to start. I blamed myself if things went array.
I ran because I was afraid of letting people in, afraid that they would leave or hurt me. Waiting for the punches. So I built a wall around myself to keep the monsters out. I had a shell around me to protect myself and my kids. Every man was the same in my mind.
Until I met the man who changed my life.
This is, Being Me Sober.
It is hard to think about what will life be like to us when we think of a life without alcohol. I mean it’s all around us, how will we ever get through?
Whats so good about living alcohol free?
Well, I would like to share with you some of the things that changed for me when I was brought to my knees due to alcohol ruining my life and the ones around me.
In order to succeed I had to give up the alcohol and deal with emotional issues I had through life and finally put it behind me.
It did not happen over night, but gradually, I started to feel the amazing changes in my mind, body and spirit. About 5 months into my sobriety I felt this huge excitement running through my whole body, I felt so good I would say to my kids and husband, I feel like screaming I feel so good! I was actually starting to feel resilient and full of love and happiness, real happiness.
I’ve always had an optimistic, happy look on life even though I had suffered emotionally for so long, but when I surrendered it became more profound. In ways that I could see and feel. The feelings became stronger, I, became stronger in all areas of my life. My priorities changed for what I wanted to be or do with the rest of my/our time on earth. I was stuck in a rut, in the past, and when I drank it surfaced. My self esteem was at it’s lowest and I had no faith in anything I did. There was always a voice that said I was a failure, I was worthless to anyone, my children were better without me. I truly believed that until I felt and began to see the changes I was making without alcohol being my main priority or a part of my life.
Although, I did have a very successful cleaning company for over 10 years, it wasn’t what I saw doing in the years to come. I felt ashamed of my job, even though it was my own company, I still felt like nothing. I wanted to venture into Real Estate but kept failing my first phase. So I told myself I was a failure and I would be doing what I hated for the rest of my working years. I was living, just living and acting happy and content when I was dying inside and couldn’t wait til I was dead and gone. Wow, so much has changed today.
I was 3 months sober when I told my girlfriend that I failed my exams for real estate and I was going to give up. She looked at me and said, “Don’t give up, keep trying, you will get it, you’ve come so far, keep trying.” Well, she, who has been one of my biggest supporters, was the first person I told when I passed, not one phase and exam but all 3! We celebrated and I felt for the first time that I was not actually a failure, I could change.
What else changed?
My focus was more on my family and rebuilding the family I had longed for.
My priority was no longer surrounded around the weekends so I could get blasted.
I had no more night terrors, no more waking up screaming or crying.
Less anxiety, depression and complete motivation, I was up for anything.
I believed people when they told me I could do anything I put my mind too because I became stronger and more confident in everything I did. I was on a natural high and nothing could bring me down or turn me too a drink. I became fierce and determined to beat this illness.
My mind became clear, like that song, “I can see clearly now.” I could see the manipulation and deceit from people that were so close to me. I was able to let go of toxic relationships and build ones that were true and made me and my family feel good. I didn’t need or depend on others for my own happiness. I became in control of my emotions and how I dealt with what came at me.
One of the most important things that changed is the amazing relationship I now have with my children and step children. I have the most amazing man on earth to share my life with who stood by me through it all. I really don’t know where I would be without him. He could see what was under all the layers I wore. He could see that I was a good person who needed help and love, real love.
I am so glad for what I had been through so I can pay it forward now, to tell and share with people the amazing things that you will feel and what happens to your entire life when you make the choice to cut alcohol from your life.
Let’s start sharing the triumphs we experience with each other so it doesn’t look so bleak when you start your journey. I want people to look forward to living without alcohol, to feel what we feel and be here, in the moment every single day!
YOU, are so worth it!
This is, Being Me Sober
After a year or so on my sobriety journey, I started to have this urge to show and help people who’s life has gone array due to alcohol. I started to research job opportunities. What I wanted to be doing in life and although I have done many jobs throughout my years, not one thing I have done thus far has been more rewarding then helping and sharing with people from around the world what a great life it is to be without alcohol. Abstaining from alcohol and being able to live a life that is filled with so much happiness and endless rewards.
A few years back when I first heard of Coaching, I though it was/is a great concept and new way of helping those struggling in life. It’s a new alternative to “therapy”, which can be difficult for some people to accept that they need therapy to help them and some never go because of the shame they feel is associated with “therapy”. “Something is wrong with me” type attitude. I believe everyone would benefit having a Coach or Therapist to guide their way when things are not going so well.
My life had been tainted by alcohol at an early age, directly and indirectly, and with it brought traumas not only to me but, to my family, friends and strangers that had the unfortunate exposure to see me at my worst.
When I reflect on my past, I don’t feel sorry for myself nor do I expect pity from others, I will use what I went through to help others. My archetype is the Caregiver, so true! My mission now is to get the message out and help those struggling with addiction or co-dependency.
I am excited about this new adventure and the opportunities being a Recovery Life Coach will have and looking forward to helping people be their best self.
This is, Being Me Sober
State of Mind Coaching
2018 was a year of change, new beginnings and new family members.
My husband and I became grandparents to a beautiful baby boy and became a Great Aunt and Uncle to not only one, but two babies. New lives to embrace and love. More family to have around the table at gatherings and holidays.
Our children are flourishing and heading down the path of success. It is an exciting time heading into 2019.
I finally accomplished one of my long time goals this past summer, which was becoming an Addictions Recovery Coach. Wanting too expand my learning and Coaching Career, in November I enrolled in a course to become a Life Coach. With everything life has thrown my way and my ability too come out a little scared but not broken, I will have the knowledge and expertise to help people in life, to show them they have what it takes to lead a life they desire and deserve to lead. My philosophy is this, what I have been through has given me the experience to help and support those with similar situations looking to be better, get better, and do better not only for themselves but for their families who love them and don’t want them to suffer anymore.
As I embark on my 10th year of sobriety, I look back not only at last year but from where I started my sobriety journey in 2009 to where I am now, mentally and physically. Where my family is now. Who is apart of my life and who have gone their own ways. I’ve learned that I no longer need what I thought I did or what I clung to before because I was so scared to let go. I didn’t know any different and had been so insecure and lost that I would settle for whoever and whatever love I could get.
Every year of sobriety brings new beginnings. Your eyes open wider, you see more clearly. Your circle get’s smaller because your no longer willing to accept what used to be okay. You become stronger and wiser. You love and become happier, you develop more respect for yourself year after year and are proud of yourself because of what you have accomplished that you couldn’t ever see happening in the past.
No matter what you are struggling with carried over from 2018, reach out and ask for help. Make a change for the better in 2019. It may seem like it is a battle you may not win but you’d be surprised at how strong you truly are. Enjoy the little things in life, take time for you, make changes you are afraid to make, take chances that you are considering to take, be determined, be strong and fight. Be the best you you know is in there. Most importantly, surround yourself with people who make you a better person and help you flourish in every avenue of life.
Wishing everyone a Happy 2019!
This is, Being Me Sober