How will it end? This journey I’m on. So many variables. So many influences. So many people in my life. Close and distant. What is this journey? Why is it? Where is it going? What’s the what? How’s the how? Such a mystery. Does the journey mean life? Does it mean what’s going on now? Is it related to my career? My mental health? My addiction? The current happening I refuse to share? One, two, and three. No ones business. I want no record. Not yet. Someday I will talk about two, no, probably one. In fact I know I will, but in veiled, cloaked manner. I do not want my children to ache.

The kids may ache from some of my posts to date. I only hope it will explain to them what I went through. Why I was in hospital so much that year when they were 11, 9, and 5. Last year has impacted them hugely. Mostly in a negative way. Maybe my posts will heal them a little. When they are much older. Old enough to understand easier. Maybe they will never understand. They will know what happened. At the moment it is a secret. A burden no child should have to bear. No child of mine will bare. Not now. When they are older, teenagers no doubt, my husband and I will sit her/him down and explain what happened mommy that year. Why she wasn’t there, and why she wasn’t there when she was there. My five year old, now six, will likely not remember that year, but there is a mark on her, a hollow that she many never understand. Maybe worse for her because she won’t remember. She may feel a sense of abandonment for years to come. She seems to be doing well.

The last few weeks have been great for me and the kids. Their dad has been working a lot of overtime, and out in general. He’s going to Canada for work next week. I have been with the children a lot. Just the four of us. We have been doing a lot of bonding. Often in the form of yelling, tears, teenage eye-rolling. We are getting back to normal. For months whenever I was in the room with them, they still went to daddy to ask for anything. I was not a parent. I was an empty shell in the room. Even as my mental health improved, I was not a parent. Dad was. That is no more. This morning when I woke my six year old, her bed full of stuffed toys – no really – stuffed, she snuggled up to me and was delighted to have me by her side. A few months ago she would have told me she loved daddy more. Crying at the same time, but saying that. She doesn’t do that any more. She loves me again. Not that she stopped, but she was wary of showing it. Unsure of herself around me. It is a joy to have her back. The older two were quicker to warm up. In fact my son, now 10, never cooled to me. He’s always been a momma’s boy. Always been my boy. I love all my children, equally. In our house however, daddy’s girls and mommy’s boy, are very true. Both of us parents love them all, but I click easiest with my boy. He and I have a physical bond like no other. He always wants to hug and kiss me. I love it. I’m sure it will stop soon. He’ll be too cool. While for some of his friends of his age, that has already happened. He is not embarrassed of being with me. When I pick him up from camp or school, he is right by me instantly. The girls are likely to stand back “What’s for dinner?” “Can we watch tv when we get home?” “When’s daddy home?”

Back to where I started with the kids… Apart from explaining what happened. What I went through. And in turn, what they went through. They need to know that I have\had a serious mental illness. That I was crippled by it for a year – more – less. From my first hospitalization to my last was fifteen months. For that last 3 – 6 months I think it was more acting out. Not knowing how to handle my thoughts, my urges, my ‘nearly better’ life. They also need to know that I am an addict. An addict like any other addict. My substance of abuse is alcohol, maybe sex, maybe shopping. Mine are all legal addictions. I am an addict. I am an addict. I am an addict. I can say that out loud. I don’t feel shame about it. Just because my substance is alcohol, it does not make me any better that anyone else. I have met sex addicts, gamblers, obese food addicts, porn addicts, weed, coke, crack, heroin addicts. You name it – I’ve seen it. And you know what? Most of them were just like me. Not in every aspect. Some were a lot more wealthy. Some poor. Some from the north shore, some from the projects, eighteen year olds, an eighty-six year old. He came to every meeting impeccably dressed in a suit. He was a proud man, spoke in a very distinguished accent, and truly felt like everyone else. He often went to the young people’s meeting on Saturday night. I usually felt old there. He was welcomed with open arms. As are all the felons, people with lesser records, and people who had been sheltered all their lives. Addiction is not the addict’s fault. Not seeking treatment is. Relapsing may or may not be the addicts fault. Most addicts relapse over and over. I have met people who were clean for over thirty years, and then went ‘back out’ as they say in A.A. My kids need to know I have these problems. Both mental illness and addiction are genetic. Not every child of parents with those issues will also develop mental illness or become addicted to something. But there is a large genetic component. Studies have been done examining siblings who have been

I would like to address food addiction, and other non-substance addictions. People who are not non-substance addicts usually poo-poo those addictions. I guess I would have until this time last year. We all laughed at Tiger Woods when he was caught cheating. “Ha ha – he says he’s a sex addict.” And for over-eaters. “She’s huge. All she needs to do is stop eating.” Etc. Etc. Etc. I was in residential care last year, for mental illness treatment. A month living with maybe twenty other patients. The center treated mental illness and over-eating. The split was 50-50 between the two groups. I was a little uncomfortable initially. I wasn’t sure how to react. We sat at different tables. Us wackos were much more free in choosing what we what we ate. The binge-eaters were not. Very quickly we all bonded. We became ridiculously close. Mentally ill and Obese people all together. I am still in touch with many of the people there, from both groups. I saw the struggles they went through. I saw that where I became suicidal, self-harmed, drank, took pills when I couldn’t handle my emotions, they eat. It’s as simple as that. I learned something new in group today (I’m not in an outpatient treatment center for substance abuse). Addiction is in the current DSM V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition). Now I knew this. I knew addiction is recognized as a mental illness. What I didn’t know what the criteria that make an action an addiction.

There are three:

  • It interferes with social relationships.
  • It interferes with familial relationships.
  • It interferes with work or school.
    Suppose I regular come to work and am still drunk or hungover and unable to perform my job as I can without the substance or action.
    How about if I regularly get drunk to the extent that my friends dread being around me when I’m drunk.
    Or my family are always worried at family gatherings that I’ll get out of hand.
  • A lot of people have bad nights now and again. That doesn’t make it okay, but there is a huge difference between this and a person who meets the criteria above.
  • I have wandered off track again. So unlike me. Ha. On a much less important note, let’s tackle how my job search might end. Yes. Of course it’s less important than recovering from and learning to live with my mental illness. Same goes for my addiction(s). I have been reminded over the last year, and especially now as I start the job search, that I did not like what I did. I haven’t since very early on. I enjoy it for the first year or two of my career. That’s eight years I haven’t enjoyed. That is a long time to not like something you spend forty hours a week doing. So I decided I would do something else. I would find something that primarily involved working with people. I have always been a people person. A career in Software Development had me in a cube. Most people hate meetings, as I did with the boring ones, which I know is normal. I did and do not like being spoken to in a hour long meeting. I do however love being in a discussion with others for an hour. Understanding their perspective and them understanding mine. I was the one person on the I.T. team that was always called on when we needed to speak to ‘normal’ people. I was the worst (least good probably sounds better) programmer, but excelled when given the chance with people. My boss recognized this, and I received promotions accordingly. I suppose from the outside it must have looked odd to other programmers, but not the business side. The last year in my job I finally got to do more of what I liked. I got to do some project management. I worked with a very difficult person who rubbed people that wrong way. I learned to be precise and write everything down. I was good at my job for the first time ever. I enjoyed being under time crunches, under pressure. And then I got sick, and it’s now been twenty-one months since I worked. So here I stand (actually I’m sitting in Starbucks – poetic license) starting to look for work. I’ve talked to IT recruiters, and some sales and marketing people. If I go back to IT I will be miserable. Also I’m pretty sure it will be near impossible to get a job. “Hi. I’m Ingrid. I have no clue about programming anymore. Oh and I hate it. Please hire me because I want money.” If I move to Sales and Marketing I will have to take an almost 50% pay cut. I have bills – a lot of them. Healthcare costs a lot of money. I probably spend more than $100 just on drugs every month. Forget about kids with braces etc. So that’s the decision as I see it at the moment. I hope there is some option unseen to me yet, that will offer me a job I love, with a not too drastic salary drop. I’m more than happy to take somewhat of a pay cut if I find a job I like and am good at. However I cannot be miserable in a job I hate for the remainder of my working life.
  • As I reread the opening paragraph of this piece, I can’t but think of the current fucked-up political state. I know that has nothing to do with my life. In fact it has to do with all American’s lives, maybe all the World’s citizens’ lives. It does not fit in this post. It came straight to mind however when I read “Where will it all end?” It is impossible not to think of the despicable human being that sadly is our President. It makes me livid and brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Is it still real? Have we not woken up from the nightmare yet? We are awake. This journey has not ended yet. I honestly worry that this will end up in a dictatorship. People think I’m ridiculous. There are so many checks and balances. Well you know what? Most Republicans (the politicians – I’m not sure about voters) still are kissing his ass. I think that is more surprising and worrying than him being in power. What the fuck is wrong with them? It looks like, and I am convinced is truth, that they do not love America. They love power. They love their political careers. Well darling Reps, you’re backing the wrong horse. History will not look kindly on you. When this mess is finally over (if we are all still alive, and have not been blown into oblivion because of Trump’s boarish, insensitive, combative behavior towards other nations), how will those who colluded in the downfall of this country fare? I think it likely they will care, but only in a self-aggrandizing way of how their amazing country has been destroyed. They will not care about the Americans suffering because of it. I hope it ends soon, and I hope we all somehow come out not unscathed, that’s impossible, but in a state we can rebuild, and live.
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