Saturday, May 24, 2008

Getting What YOU Need

It's been awhile since I last posted. Why? Because my life has been a maelstrom of work. And although I've have been taking my meds religiously, the stress of travel, of doing the work of two people, and the inability to focus on myself and my mental health needs, are taking their toll. I fear the slippage back into the maelstrom of illness.

This morning I went to an AA meeting with my friend N. I go sometimes with him, although I am not an alcoholic. I have, however, a very addictive personality, as I have discussed in previous entries, and this week, while waiting for hours in an airport trying to get home, I could feel the pull of oxycodone, my drug of choice. Oh, how I wanted the chemically induced sense of wellbeing, the high that allowed me to stop caring about myself and anything else.

During the meeting, listening to members' stories of their struggles, I realized that every day is a struggle for me too. No, I don't drink, although I came damned close to becoming an alcoholic years ago. And I stopped drinking completely. Big deal. I switched to oxy. Then there was a real problem. One that I somehow managed to overcome without a group because it never occurred to me that I could go to one. Hey, I didn't need the support of a group. So wrong. So very wrong.

What hit me hard this morning was my failure to take care of myself. Yes, I'm taking the meds. No, I'm not getting what I need nor am I making it so. All I can do these days is work myself into a greater danger of becoming ill. And that ends today, thanks to the AA members this morning, and N in particular. When I go off the beaten path, he takes me, shakes me, and tells me to take care of ME. As I do for him, when he sails off into depression.

It's so easy to ignore this disorder that we all share. Yeah, take some pills and you're managing. It doesn't stop there. We have a disease of the brain, one that never can be cured. But it can be managed with smarts. From now on, I will say no to those demands that will cause me to go over the edge. That means that I will insist that my health and wellbeing come before any job requirement.

I missed both my therapy and psychiatrist appointments this past week. Why? Because I put work before my health. A lesson learned. This will never happen again. And if the company doesn't like it, they can kiss my ass. Because they aren't going to help me stay well. I am.

As a reminder, this is Mental Health Month. If you know of someone who needs help, don't be afraid to say that to them. Send them to the links I have in the sidebar. And don't ever let go of them. Love them, listen to them, hug them, and know that they can fight the good fight, with help. And if it's you who has the disorder, please take good care of yourself. Because if nothing else, I care about you, as well as myself. We're all in this together, so let's be good to US.