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to Family Member Letter about Rages
Bipolar Disorder and Recovering Alcoholic
I am bipolar disorder and a recovering
alcoholic (2-1/2 years Nov. 10). My husband and also stopped
smoking Feb. 2001 with no problems at all, just a few cravings
for about 2 days. I just can't kick this crap and feel
helpless. I don't know if I have borderline personality
disorder, probably but no one tells you much.
I am more manic than depressed. I thought I finally found the
right "cocktail" (wellbutrin, zoloft, depakote,
neurontin and ambien) after almost a year of trying. Then I
gained weight up to 168 and we stopped the depakote last Feb.
I got back down to between 135 and 145 depending on what day
it is and what scales I get weighed on. (I weighed 139 at home
last Thurs., then 141 the same day at the psychiatrist, 144 at
my husband's Dr. Tuesday, and 139-1/2 at my family Dr. today,
go figure.) I'm 5'7" and a size 10-12. That is about what I
have been since high school and college.
Anyway, I was doing well until May. Then I blacked out and
flipped my car end-over-end at 50 mph. My little, 5 pound
poodle was on my lap and survived with no broken bones. I only
got really bruised up, cut my knee and hit my head. I had on
my seat belt and the air bag went off and I still hit the
I went to UTMB and had all kinds of tests done. I couldn't get
to my psychiatrist (Galveston County Mental Health/Mental
Retardation). They are heck to get an unscheduled appointment
Three weeks later I was feeling better then blacked out again.
I fell 4 steps off a ladder and broke 3 bones on the arch of
my foot really bad, so swollen I had to take anti-inflammatory
drugs for 2 weeks before they could even put a cast on. I had
the cast until September.
Again, UTMB told me to see my psychiatrist and get my meds
changed. I got in and he didn't think it was the meds, to get
more neuro tests. I did. Then couldn't get another apt. at
MHMR until last week.
In the meantime I stopped taking my meds, I was afraid and my
husband was terrified for me. He husband copes really well
(about that in a minute). Then I started feeling really bad.
Up one day, crying the next so I went back on them for 2
About 3 weeks ago it happened again and it happened again. I
fell in our home. The old "I got a black eye by running
into a door handle" really happened. I fell and hit my
eye on the bedroom door. I was out for 10 min. and my husband
called 911. I had no idea what happened or what was going on
for over an hour. We have a volunteer fire dept. for EMS and I
know and have known all of them for years (only 1,000 folks in
our little beach town) and didn't even recognize any of them.
So, I quit meds again. I went to the Dr. last Thurs. and saw a
different Dr. that I don't like. But he did change my meds.
Now I am taking 1 depakote in the a.m. and 2 p.m. (I used to
take 2 a.m. and 4 p.m.) 1 paxil a.m. and 1 trazadone p.m. No
more neurontin, wellbutrin or zoloft. I feel so much better
but I know I am on the verge of mania. I didn't sleep Tues.
night. Last night I ended up taking 4 trazadone to get to
finally sleep. I know, I know you shouldn't mess with your
drugs. I go back next Thurs. to have my blood checked but not
for a real apt. until Jan. 2. I'll probably end up in ER by
This is the most miserable stuff. I self medicated with
alcohol for years. I worked for a large
engineering/construction firm in Houston as the office mgr. I
wasn't diagnosed until I was at 32. I didn't like the meds so
I threw them out. Drinking and working 16 hours a day just
felt better at the time. I got laid off and moved to a small
beach town and things got out of control about 2-1/2 years
I had "the breakdown" as we say. Went to the psych
ward for 10 days and agreed to go to rehab and start taking
meds. Best thing I ever did. At least I'm just
"crazy" now and not drunk and "crazy."
OK, I'm sorry that was long but I thought you needed some
background. I didn't go into the horror stories of my ex
husband (unemployed, then after I married him I found out he
had been married 6 times before, yes 6, alcoholic, a cocaine
addict and up on federal charges for counterfeiting -- he had
been a printer, that is the real reason he could not get work,
he was abusive and went to Federal Prison for 18 months). Boy
was I shocked. There are many horror stories for the 5 years I
put up with him. I even stayed with the idiot when he was in
prison, I felt sorry for him -- real con man.
My current husband is 72 and looks like 50 and in better shape
than most 40 yr. olds. He owned a shrimping business and still
works outside at our home all day, when I am not feeling well
he cooks, cleans the house and does laundry. I have the best
yard (8 lots) in town. He was married for 32 years and his
wife died of cancer. He sold the business and took care of her
at home for 4 years. I met him a year after she passed away. I
was 38 and he was 67 and we fell in love at first sight, I
lived with him for a year and we got married (4 years on the
25th of this month).
He is my savior. I don't know how he put up with me and then
asked me to marry him the way I was. He just says he fell in
love with his first wife all that time ago as soon as he saw
her. We met at the VFD Charity Oyster Fry and he told his
buddy that I was the woman he was going to marry and came over
and asked me out!! From the first date I felt the same way. He
just always says he saw something in me that was hidden and
knew if I got help and with his love I would be O.K.
The other blessing is that when I went to rehab they told me
to apply for Social Security but I probably would not get it
at least the first time but to appeal and appeal, I would
probably not get it because it is difficult for mental
disorders but try anyway.
At the time I was working at TXDOT doing payroll for the ferry
(you have to take a 20 min. ferry ride to get where we live)
when the big "breakdown" happened and had to leave
my job. I was getting unemployment until August. I went into
rehab on May 10, 2000. I don't know how it happened but I
applied in June and got my first check ($1,200/month) in Sept.
Never missed a pay check. I got my Medicare card last Feb.
God has really blessed me and I try to remember that when I
get down. I haven't been to AA in 6 mo. because of all of the
injury and mental stuff but we are going back Sat. There are
only 3 mtgs. a week here and it is really small, only about
10-12 regulars. My husband goes to all of the meetings with me
sometimes I think he likes it better than I do. There are 3
couples that go, we don't have an Al-Anon.
Church is the same. We have our meetings there and the
minister is really supportive and so is the congregation. Nine
of our regulars are in the church and 1 of them is the head
lay person, one is the church treasurer!!!!
I don't have rages, I mainly just either don't sleep for days
or refuse to leave the house (I always shower daily no matter
how bad I feel but sometimes I just put on clean P.J.'s) and
am really moody, crying all the time at nothing, not wanting
to do house work and sleeping way to much.
Like I said my husband is very proud of me for stopping
drinking, loosing weight and we both stopped smoking. He takes
excellent care of me and I try to warn him when things start
getting bad. Like now, for instance. In the last couple of
weeks I ordered a whole bunch of stuff on the Internet for our
anniversary, my niece and my nephew's wife are both having
baby showers -- one Nov. 24th and one is Dec. 8, my birthday
is Dec. 5th, and then it is Christmas. I spent over $800.00.
He knew I was getting stuff UPS and in the mail but hadn't
noticed how much. I told him today and asked him to take my
credit card so I have to ask first until I get over this
typical BP shopping syndrome. I can't write checks without him
being with me because I don't drive and we physically shop
He bought me this computer 2 years ago for our anniversary so
I could keep up my skills, do our financials (I also do my AA
group's monthly report -- my sponsor or the Treasurer have
been bringing it to me since I haven't been going), research
things and play.
We also wrote living wills and I wrote a notarized affidavit
that he and/or my Mother have the right to have me committed
even if I don't think I need to be or am unconscious.
I also read all the info on the web and books (The Bible, The
Big Book, The Recovery Book, The Courage to Change, Overcoming
Depression, Happiness is an Inside Job, Celebrating Small
Victories, Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, The Dance of
Anger, Battlefield of the Mind, Healing Damaged Emotions, Each
Day a New Beginning, Daily Reflections, A New Pair of Glasses,
The Twelve Steps, Fit for Life, The Wisdom of Menopause, Self
Matters, by Dr. Phil, and am currently starting on Charles
Barkley's I May Be Wrong, But I Don't Think So." I read O
Magazine and what her on TV.
We plant a huge garden (102 tomato plants and other
vegetables) every March and cabbage, broccoli and greens now,
have an orange and lemon tree (3 bushels so far and still that
many more on the tree), have roses and I plant flowers in the
I have what I call "my little therapy dog," 5 lb.
black Raven. I have sewn and framed about 10 cross-stitch (18
count) and just made my nephew's 2 year old step daughter he
just adopted a Christmas stocking.
My family is all in PA and I got AT&T's unlimited long
distance plan. It is only $19.99 a month if you call other
AT&T customers any time. I talk to my Mom every day and
she is also proud of me. Now that she knows all of this stuff
(I moved to Houston when I was 21 and hid most of it) but she
knew something was really wrong, just now what it was she is
very proud of me. She says that now when she looks back I
probably would have been a child that would be put on Ritalin
(sp)? today. She says she just thought I was ornery and
hyperactive. Both my parents are so relived that I found my
husband and am doing better, they love him. All my Dad said is
that he wished he were 20 years younger or that he lives to
100 so I won't be alone!
I'm sorry I am rambling, you can probably tell I am sort of
This is so frustrating. What else can I, we, do? Why won't
this awful thing go away and how did I get it? I have one
cousin that killed himself when I was about 3 (I think he was
about 22 and hung himself) and another older cousin (about 65)
that is clinically depressed.
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Copyright © Patty Fleener, M.S.W. All