Sunday, May 22, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

Once again, Momma went mad. Hence, the long, silent absence. An almost two month stint, inpatient, at a residential program in Arizona. Dual diagnosis, designed to tackle both the Eating Disorder and the Bipolar Disorder. What I wasn’t expecting (or perhaps I should rephrase: what I wasn’t ready to admit) was that I would emerge as a Triple Diagnosis: now add Alcoholism to my list of what officially ails me.
I have to say, it is a relief to give up drinking, and liberating, too, to acknowledge the problem alcohol has played in this continuing downward tumble.

I mean, I was never an every-day-drunk, never an in the gutter, hands clutching the rot-gut handle of no-name vodka, never slumped against the dumpster, vomit dribbling down my chin. Never that, no (but sometimes close, at least, the decorous, middle-class, educated version). But certainly, I drank too, too much, and too, too often. And certainly, my drinking created problems between my husband and me, and created problems in my ability to be a good mom, and made the depression and mood instability worse. And when drunk, my cutting and purging were out-of-control. Venomous rages? Check. The occasional blackout? Check. Impulsive attempts at suicide? Check.

So. Booze be gone. Since I’ve returned home from Arizona, I’ve been going to AA meetings as often as possible, which are helping me to stay afloat because those unstable moods, the bleak, black depression have both returned. And AA’s message of hope and courage and perseverance keeps me from doing really stupid, stupid things. The big time stupid things (I still, yes, I admit, engage in the small time stupid things but I hope to learn better with time).

So yes, once again, I have to remind myself to be grateful to have made it home from yet another stint of rehab, grateful that doctors and family alike saw the grim signs of desperation, saw that I was once again teetering on the edge, knew not to take me at my dishonest, completely fucked-up word and didn’t give me any other real choice. I believe my husband said, “Either you go inpatient or you can’t come home.” So I went.

I went, got better-er, and am home. Again. Listening to my kids run riot in the backyard, playing some version of “I’ll poke your eye out with a sharpened stick-Not if I throw a handful of mulch in your eye first.” Am a few weeks away from the first real family vacation in three years: three weeks in Greece on the teeny, tiny island of Serifos. (Not without its attendant anxieties, but more on that later). But victory, nonetheless. I am actually in a place where transcontinental travel is possible: doctors and husband alike believe I’m a safe bet.

I’m traveling five days a week to a Partial Hospitalization Program run by my Psychiatrist that helps with stabilizing moods and gaining coping skills. Generally stuff I’ve learned before, but of course, I’m the expert at forgetting what could help me—what could actually make a difference in recovery. And then there’s also the benefit of being surrounded by people struggling with similar difficulties; I no longer feel like the absolute craziest person in the entire room. State. Country. Hemisphere.

I’m trying my best to follow the mealplan assigned by my treatment program, a plan meant to keep my body nutritionally sound, and my mind balanced. But it is hard. Damned hard. I look in the mirror and see all the weight I gained while away and am honestly repulsed. Can only see excess. Which is, of course, the perfect container for how I feel about all of me: Excessive. Excessive body. Excessive reactions. Excessive emotions. Excessive anger. Excessive mood swings. Excessive neediness. Excessive inexplicable pain.

But IT’s voice seems quieter, today anyway. Perhaps a result of the new meds I’m on: a new mood stabilizer which has made a significant difference in the diabolical see-saw. Quieter but not gone. As they say in AA, it’s progress not perfection I’m after.