1.25.2008

Continuing on

About this time I moved out into my own house. Almost immediately after moving out my boyfriend Eli moved in with me. Eli loved to drink and so did I. Needless to say we spent a lot of time drinking with his friends. Since we were both drinking and partying my habits didn't stand out to anyone and it was again easy to hide. Alas Eli and I didn't work out and he moved out. I found myself alone. This was so new to me. Being alone made drinking so much easier, especially since I had the worlds best fake ID ever. I would go out drinking with my cousin and then come home and pass out. I would wake up feeling like shit and have a morning drink to take off the edge. It was starting to take a lot more for me to get a buzz which is why we always looked for ladies drink for free clubs. That way I could get way wasted all for free. However being alone gave me a lot of times to come head on with the things I had always dealt with. One of them being depression.

This part is still the most frustrating parts to me. I hate when people think you need a reason to be depressed. Or when they think, this girl had everything, was pretty and nice and got the things she wanted, what does she have to be depressed about. Depression, often is purely mental. Thats the form I had. The kind of depression where you wake up one day and the world is too much to bear. You feel like your sitting in a black room and can't see anything but the blackness closing in on you. You can't manage simple thoughts or tasks and you don't know how or why this is happening again. The hardest part was being able to know that what I was feeling wasn't right but not be able to change it. I stopped talking about this or reaching out because so often I heard, "You have nothing to be depressed about, your life is perfect, you just want attention." When these times came I drank even more. I would find reasons to make myself sadder and just drink and drink and drink alone. I can't count how many times my friends would come over and find me with a jumbo glass of alcohol and I would lie telling them it was my first one. At the same time I can't count how many phone calls my cousin Lisa got from me drunken, rambling, crying or yelling making no sense at all. She would just listen to me and let me ramble.

Anyway four months after Eli moved out my grandma died. This was and still is the hardest thing I have endured in my life to date. I can't think of her with out crying and I think about her a lot. It was April 23rd which also happens to be my then "best friends" birthday. To give you an idea of what kind of people I had in my life at the time that friend told me I had to go out for her birthday. Rather then just be there for me and comfort me, or even let me stay at home to grieve she guilted me into going out with her. Telling me she would never forgive me if I blew off her birthday. So I went. I got to our destination first and I got drunk before they even got there. I was really drunk, and it was amplified by my sadness. I spent the entire night crying and when I finally made it home I cried even more. After that I think I kind of went off the deep end. I spent so many nights just crying in my kitchen. I stopped going anywhere and for about 9 months I didn't see anyone or date anyone. My friends would come over and try and get me to leave but I didn't want to. I would go to work and just go home and collapse in my sadness. I started walking at night in the dark and leaving my house unlocked and generally not really caring what could happen to me.

Keeping friends like I had at that time didn't help. I was friends with a group of drunken college guys and an equally manic depressive maniac like me if not crazier. We were feeding off each other. We were getting drunk and going out walking and depressing each other. I just got worse and worse and worse.

Finally after about 9 months I started dating a friend and while that was happening I met Rob. Things with he and I were, intense from the start to say the least. Alcohol was involved from the start. In fact the first time we went out of town together and I realized I would be alone with him and stuck in a car I freaked out. When we stopped at a gas station to fill up before leaving town and I ran in and bought about 4 mini bottles of liquor. I picked nonsense fights and pushed him as hard as I could. I pushed and pushed and pushed and he just stood strong. I remember the first night I went to the dark place in my head. We were hanging out at his apartment laying in bed and nothing really triggered it but away I went. I was lost in the dark place. He had no idea what happened. He had seem me be a jerk but he'd never seen me basically disappear. Then the strange thing happened. He handled it. He stuck by me and just let me go there and was cool while I was there and basically just waited for me to come back. At that moment I knew he was the one. He may not have known yet but I did. 6 years later and he can tell ahead of time when I'm going there.

Years went by and I would go in and out of my dark place. A few times my doctor would try and put me on medicine and I would try (I will address this later in my 1000 post because Shawna asked me) but I always went off. I knew that no matter what this was something I had to deal with on my own. I also knew that I wanted kids and I didn't want to go on a chemical crash while I was pregnant. I started being excited to go to bed because that meant I could wake up and have a bloody mary. And then I got pregnant. Surprisingly I made it though the entire pregnancy without fading away. But after I found my way back to the bad side. I spent the entire pregnancy being mad that I couldn't have bloody marys. I remember being so happy when I could finally have one. Even though I had Brandon I would still drink. I never drank alone with him because I still had to be a mom. I also rarely got to get drunk because I was nursing. But something about even having one drink made me happy. It made me okay knowing I could have at least one. I realized there was a problem when my one glass started getting bigger and bigger and I was just drinking alcohol on the rocks no mixers.

The final breaking point was when my parents had Brandon on forth of July and rob and his friends wanted to go somewhere. I was way drunk and I lied and said it was okay to drive. We drove around the block and came home (that was where they wanted to go, around the block). Immediately I felt regret. Not only had I just driven but I had driven with Rob in the car. If I wrecked Brandon would have lost both his parents. The next day I went to the Verdi picnic with my grandma. I had an Amaretto on the rocks and that was the last drink I ever had. I stopped. I realized that in order to be the best mom I could I could never drink again.

However. While I've never taken another drink, not even eating candy with liquor or deserts with wine or liquor for accents I will never stop having depression. That imbalance in my mind is always there daunting me. I've gone there a few times since Brandon was born. Once Rob found me curled up in a corner in our room crying for no reason. Since Codi has been born it's been a huge struggle not to go there. I'm halfway there. I feel as though I have one foot in and one foot out. The constant struggle of parenting two kids and hoping I'm parenting them equally weighs so heavy on me. The struggle to do right by these kids. To not let my faults bring them down is so hard. Knowing that there are times when I snap at Brandon and I'm aware I'm doing it but I can't stop because my mind won't let me. After those times I seems to fall the fastest. I fall closer and closer to going black. I'm trying the hardest not to this time because I know that I won't be able to spread myself thin enough to still parent both kids efficiently while I'm lost in my own bad place. I can only expect my husband to pick up so much of my slack before my kids resent me.

I talk about all of this, not to put the people in my life down. Not to place blame. Because no one has ever been to blame for this but me. I am the one who chose to drink. I'm the one who chose to be bulimic and do all of the other things I have done. I made the choices. When I say that no one knew what was happening I say it to help people understand that even with out medicine it is very possible to hide your crazy. To cope with it just enough to hide it. To seem functional to the outside world. You know how they talk about functioning drug addicts, well I'm a functioning "crazy." I wanted to write this so people understand why I some times seem extreme, or like I'm over thinking things. Why I'm afraid to be alone and terrified of the dark now. I want people to know that it's okay to have these feelings. It's even more okay to verbalize them. It's okay to be depressed with no reason other then you woke up that morning and felt different. I also hope everyone knows that I am very loved. I am surrounded by great people and its probably those people that have kept me from drowning in my darkness every time. I weeded out the bad, like the friend whose birthday was more important then the saddest day of my life. I've weeded out the people who couldn't understand that I can't ever drink again. I can't ever have one drink. I can't taste it. I've weeded out all the people who make life hard to cope and I've tried to surround myself with only good people. I really hope that when my kids grow up they see a functioning mom. They see someone who loves them unconditionally. And I hope that even if I have to go outside and shout at the moon to prevent myself from shouting at my kids, I'm able to do it. Or, maybe I'll just come shout here instead. The good thing is now that you all know about this, I can come here and vent. I can come here and say, I'm there, I'm in the dark place, and you will all know what I mean. It will be kind of like cheers, where everybody knows my name, and you'll always be glad I came, no matter what kind of shit I'm spewing here.

8 comments:

Steph said...

You most definitely aren't alone and have a lot of support. I love that you shared your story and am sorry even more that Eli added to your bad time.

Not So Perfect said...

You have no idea how many people's lives you touched with your post. I commend you on talking about a subject that many people are afraid of.

angie said...

What is amazing to me (other than your strength to share your story) is that you are able to admit your depression, but still understand that you have so many people that support you. I think at times if peoples depression seems so unexplained, they tend to blame others. You don't. You accept that there really is no cause for your depression...it's just there and you understand that. I think that is a great thing.

As for your kids...I have no doubt in my mind that they will grow up knowing nothing other than that they are loved unconditionally. And even if you do snap at Brandon one time, he will probably either never remember it or he will look back later and go geez I was really being a cheesehead then and Mom straightened me out.

I am so happy that Rob came into your life when he did. Maybe he was a "present" from your grandma if you will. She was looking down on you and said yep she needs him. He is a wonderful man and he is so caring to both you and your guys children. You couldn't have asked for a better guy.

It is posts like this that make people fall in love with your blog. You are completely honest and you share all parts of your life...that makes you REAL. People like to read real and you don't ever pretend to be something you aren't on here. That's why people love your writing and you so much!

Jeninacide said...

Shannon it is so awesome how well you verbalize the experience of being a depressive alcoholic... I have been there- I AM THERE everyday still and it's soo good to know that there is someone else that knows how I feel. I never knew that you really did have the same kinds of experiences that I did. I mean, SERIOUSLY.

Thank you so much for posting this.

YOu are such a great mom and a great writer and a GREAT FRIEND.

LOVE YOU!

Laura said...

That is a wonderful post and I am glad you have your blog for when you hit those dark spots. I wish my husband had an outlet for the times when things got too tough for him. Good for you in realizing that you (none of us are anyway) are not perfect. We'll take you anyway we can.

Jennifer said...

I am wowed by your post. It's almost a relief to hear that other women out there aren't the "picture perfect" moms and they have problems too. You're not alone and sometimes talking/blogging about it will make you feel like you've done something about it. We're all here for you, so post, email, or whatever means of communication you can find... do it!
*HUG*

Babba Unknown said...

Shannon you are so amazing and brave. Never worry because you are and always be a great person and a great mom.

I think in one way or another we have all experienced similar things and it's not to know that I'm not the only one out there.

You give so much hope to the rest of us. Thank you for being you and being able to share it with us.

It truly is a gift.

Patty said...

It's amazing that you can recognize and verbalize all this about yourself. I'm in awe. You should know that we all have our "dark places" that we retreat into...it's our defense mechanism and you are not the only one who faces this challenge on a regular basis. You aren't alone and because who wrote about it this can be your outlet and group of supportive friends.

You should be proud of yourself and how far you've come. Your kids will be proud of you too.

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