This post is an update post from an entry titled “No Words for This One”, November 3, 2021 about a sponsee in a domestic violence situation.
Kerry is her name and her (husband) has destroyed her. Those that I have spoken to who knew of him described him as a monster … some say he was worse than a monster. He was manipulative, controlling and in his own eyes all powerful. These things I only know of from what I have been told. She was a victim, stuck for too long in a bad situation. She was scared to leave and scared to stay. She had a psychotic breakdown, was hospitalized and finally free of his abuse. She also had the problem of addiction / alcoholism. With years of his abuse, she also had some mental issues; severe depression and anxiety with PTSD. She moved in with her parents to try to heal and get her life back. Her so called husband has had custody of her 11-year-old twins. This alone broke her heart.
Wednesday of this week I got a phone call from a friend while I was on vacation in Florida. Tuesday (February 8th), my dear sweet Kerry committed suicide. She hung herself. There are no words for this one. I am devastated and heartbroken beyond words. There is sadness mixed with anger mixed with guilt. I know I am not responsible, but a part of me still wonders what I could have done differently and if I could have helped her more. I am making myself crazy with all those what ifs. My heart hurts for her family and all those who knew and loved her. It is sad that she felt no hope, no way out and no peace. We had a text exchange on Saturday. We were starting to work a little bit on small steps of gratitude. I wanted to give her hope, I wanted to give her light, I wanted to give her peace. I was always so worried about her and what she may or may not do. I knew she was hurting, but I did not really expect this. Mental illness is real, domestic violence is real, being over medicated is real and suicide is real!
I am having a hard time processing this all, I can’t imagine what her family is going through. I am lucky to have a great support system and fellowship in recovery. I have been surrounded by love and support. Being a sponsor to someone is a special sort of bond that is hard to explain. Kerry called me Mama, even though she was 41 and I am 54.
I am just sad. There have been a lot of tears. Sometimes out of nowhere the tears will flow. It felt unreal until I saw the actual obituary. I feel anxious and sick. I know I cannot undo what has been done, but those what ifs will continue to haunt me.
Happy Fall. The weather has definitely changed and Halloween is right around the corner. We have our annual Halloween party coming up at the recovery club. I have once again delegated a lot of the details and it is still hard to let go of the control of the event. Being on the board and in charge of social events I feel it is also my responsibility to let others get involved and be part of the process.
My mood has been all over the place as of late. Some depression, some happiness and a lot of whatever. I have had many needed conversations with my therapist. I have been too out of sorts to even write.
I found out at my physical in September that I am pretty close to being diabetic. I have started monitoring my sugar and it has been all over the place. I have been taking better care of diet and exercise and really working it, but it gets discouraging when it really doesn’t seem to change anything. My weight is also up and down but for the most part the scale is moving in the right direction. I am really being careful with my carbs and sugar intake. I have been working with my trainer and walking and working out at home in between. I have met with the diabetic nurse and have an appointment scheduled with the dietitian, which I hope can help me even out this sugar issue. My dr. has given me 6 months to get things under control. With the fluctuation in my sugar readings …… I don’t know.
At that same physical, blood was found in my urine. That lead to an appointment with the urologist, which lead to the discovery of a kidney stone. It was causing pressure, but no pain. Surgery was scheduled, but it thankfully passed before the scheduled surgery …. that was painful!
To top it all off, my pointer finger that I had surgery on in July is still slow to heal. The tendon was weak and healed and now my finger is crooked for good, unless I want another surgery ……. not!
It was a few weeks of so many dr. appointments and not great news and many ups and downs with my psyche.
Steve and I also had our annual babysitting stint with niece Caroline.during all that. She added a light to a dismal mood. She is now 5 and we thoroughly enjoy having her with us. We had her for 5 days and she kept us on our toes. She is a very busy, creative, sweet girl.
So I guess this is my new normal. I will just keep trying to live life on life’s terms.
Well ….. I am currently doing not so great with my weight loss. I have been stagnant. I lose a couple pounds and gain a couple pounds. This has been my lifelong struggle. I should be happy in that overall I am down 15 pounds (if I am on the right side of the scale) since March/April. It is just that I am not consistent in my efforts. I am doing really well with my trainer 2X’s a week (she is really pushing me) plus 1 workout on my own over the weekend and I am supposed to be walking on days off – that is hit or miss, but I am trying to get it in …. it is just so dang hot right now!
I think I have gained approximately 100 lbs since I was deathly ill with the Ulcerative Colitis. I had the surgery to have my colon removed in 2005 and I weighed close to 100 lbs. Everything I ate before that surgery went right through me. It wasn’t even worth the effort to actually eat. I practically lived in the bathroom. I had to drink protein and calories to sustain. After the surgery it was still difficult to eat as my internal JPouch needed a lot of time to heal and start functioning properly. I was forced to eat a little something every couple of hours. My friends brought my family dinners and brought me the highest caloric foods they could find. But still I could eat very little. I think because I was close to starvation mode at this time in my life, my body and metabolism are wonky ….. still! There were a few years before I was really really sick and a few years after when I was healing that I was at a good skinny weight and I liked it. But alas, it was hard to maintain! The weight kept piling on as the years went by.
In high school, looking back I was a good average weight. I thought I was super fat (I would love to be that “fat” again)! I was a member of the drill/dance team. We were well known around the area and it was a very strict and disciplined activity. We had to weigh-in every week. If we were not in the range we would get a tik – too many tiks and you get a demerit, too many demerits and you are off the team. I always struggled. I was right on the edge of my weight range. Before weigh-ins I would not eat day of and very little the day before. I took laxatives before weigh-ins and diet pills to maintain. The day after I would chow. A vicious cycle. I did not have a healthy relationship with food.
Today, I am trying just to be healthy, but I want to look good too. I was going to try a new weight loss program, it was based somewhat on meal replacements. As soon as they realized I don’t have a colon, I was told that the program would not work for me as I do not have the same absorption as others … it is always something! When I was sick, I was barely functional. I had severe clinical depression and an anxiety disorder (hence my love of benzodiazepines) along with the Ulcerative Colitis. I should be grateful that even though I am fat, I am somewhat healthy and I am much happier than I used to be. Of course I am still on a cocktail of antidepressants but hey, whatever takes. I will keep working with my trainer and keep using her as a coach. She keeps me accountable, I just have to willing to be willing to do what it takes. But sometimes you just have to eat!
I had a wonderful care team made up of my primary care doctor, my psychologist and my chiropractor. Each one of these people were essential in helping me deal with my Ulcerative Colitis, depression/anxiety and in helping me to get sober. They were an important part of my life and making sure I continued to live.
My primary doctor worked really hard in trying to control my Xanax intake and my obsession with self harm. He referred my to my GI doctor who in return referred me to the Cleveland Clinic for colon removal surgery. He took good care of me after that surgery and took my phone calls at all hours. This physician really cared about me, was a family friend and went the extra mile to ensure my safety and health. He retired (2015)
My therapist worked with my doctor. It was her who called him and said I needed treatment for the addiction to benzo drugs. My therapist helped with so many mental challenges including my diagnosed clinical depression and general anxiety disorder as well as the addiction / alcoholism and the self harm. She knew me most times better than I knew myself. I always told her I would never let her retire because I needed her in so many ways. She retired (2018).
My chiropractor who became a friend was a great help during my illness. When I could not eat due to the effects of the Ulcerative Colitis she delivered supplements to my home. When my mental health started getting wacky she referred me to the local psychologist who became my therapist for 15 years. She has helped me through thick and thin. It was my friend and chiropractor who I went to when I was told I had an addiction issue from my therapist to ask her thoughts and what I should do regarding going to treatment. It was her who took me to my first AA meeting. She helped me heal from my car accident. She has taken care of me and my girls and has been a great asset to our health. Today was our last appointment …. she is retiring.
The above care team was the best and they all went far above the call of duty to care for me. I don’t know what I would have done or where I would be without them. Probably not alive. Even though I have grown and have a handle on my mental health for the most part and little problems with the no colon / Jpouch I feel like I am now left to my own devices. I don’t do well with change and things have changed greatly and life continues to move on.
I have a new therapist who I can really connect with who I saw on occasion in past. It is a good fit and she is very helpful to me. She is always there to return a phone call at all hours and to talk me down no matter what the problem. I have a new physician, I like her, but she doesn’t know me like my original doctor or my (real) history. Medicine has changed and it is almost impossible to get an appointment when needed. I will try the new chiropractor at the office, but it won’t be the same. I retired so I can not complain when others do the same especially since they are older than I.
So really I have to put my big girl pants back on and embrace the change. I do miss those from my original care team but it has been years since my surgery, my mental health diagnosis, and addiction. They have all moved on and maybe I need to do the same.
Some of the gloominess lingers, but you would not know it. It is a feeling way down deep inside of me. I am certainly not as bad off as I was just a few weeks ago, maybe the med change and therapy has helped …. I don’t know. I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow and a follow up with the Dr. about the meds. Not sure what to say or do.
It is hard though to be too gloomy, I just got home from a week of warm sunshine and beaches in Siesta Key. It was good to get away with Steve. My Mom and her husband, one brother and sis in law and my 3 year old niece were also there. Caroline really made the trip more enjoyable and exciting … everything is exciting to a 3 year old. She is such a good girl and a lot of fun. Some of the time though all the family and activity was just too much for me to handle. I did get an afternoon alone while everyone else went off on an adventure. It was much needed and helpful, although I could have used more.
I didn’t really feel like drinking while I was away. I was around a lot of alcohol. My Mom had about a dozen bottles of wine and alcohol just sitting on the counter. It would have been easy to have a slip. Who doesn’t want to have drink on the beach? I miss it and I don’t miss it. It is hard to explain.
I really miss my routine and my recovery peeps when I am away. I am such a creature of habit and a homebody. Though I do enjoy getting away on occasion, I mostly like being at home. I did not go to any recovery meetings last week and that makes me a little antsy. We got home yesterday and I have already been to 2 meetings to make up for lost time.
So will the gloominess continue to linger or is a new day dawning on my funky feelings. I guess only time will tell. Today though I can find the gratitude and good and that is progress!
It has been almost a month since I wrote about being gloomy, well that gloomy turned in to full blown depression. The definition of depression “feelings of severe despondency and dejection” …. I can’t explain why or how, but that self-doubt is ever present. Feelings of misery, unhappiness, melancholy, loss of joy and energy is just the tip of the iceberg. I can minimize the symptoms and act as if all is well …. usually, but that takes a lot of energy and that energy is hard to come by.
I have seen my doctor who doubled the dose of my antidepressant and have been talking often to my therapist. I have clued few others in on my despair and even fewer on the darkness. I had to take a leave from the gym, even though I know work-outs help with the endorphins and is a good thing, I haven’t been to my volunteer “job” in weeks or really gone out with friends since last time I wrote. I have no desire.
The one thing I am doing consistently is going to AA meetings. I have realized to drink or use would only make this thing much worse than it is. I am reaching out to my sponsor who has been very helpful with little kind words, advice and love. I have tried working with my sponsees to get out of myself, it works maybe a little bit, but it is mostly annoying. I am doing what I can in that area. The AA club is where I feel the most comfortable right now, being with my peeps whether I participate in the meeting or not is just where I feel most secure and can just be.
My husband is trying to be understanding and comforting, but he doesn’t really understand the tremendous amount of energy it takes to just exist. He tries, but also worries because last time I went down this path it was really ugly. I get it and am trying to be understanding of where he is coming from. I have forced myself to go out more than once if just out to dinner or the grocery store.
I don’t know if it is hormones, the gloomy weather or just my mood cycling around in a bad way, but whatever the case depression is no joke.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel?