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Mental Illness and AA

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:47 am
by Lavender
Im doing this very personal share for those in the rooms who still feel that they don’t fit in because of depression or some other mental illness.

I’m not going to bore you with my past as same was covered under my initial share under the heading “My Story”. I am going to jump right in to mental illness.

Now ive heard many shares about depression. Bill himself suffered severely from crippling depression so discussing this issue is not only apt but have become necessary as more than 50% of alcoholics / addicts in the rooms today have been diagnosed with dual diagnosis.

The sad part is that ive never heard anyone share about more than depression. Ive never heard a share about a clinically diagnosed mental illness such as bipolar, psychotism or schizophrenia and THAT is what I am sharing on today because there are so many people who suffers from a mental disorder yet do not wish to even mention it thereby still placing distance between themselves and their homegroup.

We hear the words read in Chapter 5 at every meeting and I quote :”There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest”. The capacity to be honest.

I did not understand the words “grave emotional and mental disorders” when I came into the rooms on 1 September 2015 although I was diagnosed with bi-polar in 2002. It took us 3 years to find the right combination of medication so my family and I went through hell for that period. This I am telling you so that you can understand that a mental disorder is continuous suffering without the right medication.

Finally, being on the right medication I was feeling human again. Yet the drinking continued. Pills and booze don’t do too well together and from being the life at the party I became the laugh at the party. Without realizing it, alcohol turned on me.

At the same time, in January 2015 the bipolar medication made me feel ill so I stopped taking it cold turkey.

But when I walked through the doors of AA on 1 September 2015 everything changed. I started looking and feeling good again. I had loads of energy so I would work late. Business was booming and things were almost perfect.

I thought the promises were finally starting to come true for us.

By September 2016 however, life started to become difficult in general again and I realised I needed an antidepressant which I got from my doctor and I was back to being normal.

In March 2017 everything changed. Numbers started appearing on my cell phone – im not talking one or two, im talking around 15 or 20 at a time. I did not realize at that time that my phone was hacked. Thinking I was doing God’s work I simply included these people in my morning inspirational message. At the same time I was on an internet group and it appeared some of the members were sending each other encrypted messages on the group. This I noticed because I would wake up at 5 to meditate and before my meditation I would go onto the group to see if I could be of help to any suffering alcoholic and read the messages posted during the night and after my meditation I would do the same. The changes in the messages was very slight so unless you were pretty sharp – due to my meditation - it would be unnoticed.

I alerted a few of the members whom I trusted, nothing was done and I finally left the internet group.

Since my behaviour did not change, I was still happy, normal, healthy and hard-working, I do not believe that I was getting ill at that time. Bipolar has pointers or triggers and if you know your body, your pointers and your triggers bipolar episodes can be avoided. But things were somehow not going well with me.

Very slowly I started losing time. Especially in the bathroom where I would have what I believed was visions and which felt very real. Unknowingly this disease seemed to have crept back into my life and the downhill progression started.

At times it would feel as if someone is literally trying to claw its way into my scalp. I started not sleeping well. For a very long time it felt as if there was spiders in my stomach and after a meeting the one night I nearly drank a mixture of bleach, sunlight liquid, vinegar and handy andy to get these spiders out of me. Thank God my son stopped me otherwise I probably would not have been here sharing with you today.

Most times it felt as if something cold was crawling up my legs and ive had a few times where it felt as if I was literally raped by someone or something unknown and unseen.

Then I started hearing voices. Not very nice ones as they continuously – 24 hours a day threatened to kill not only my son but me and as the disease progressed the threat of killing by these voices turned into almost every person I knew including my animals whom I love dearly.

Like every alcoholic music got me through many a rough time but then I started hearing voices sing along with the songs so I immediately stopped listening to music.

I isolated myself. The AA meetings seemed strange to me so I did not even attend a meeting anymore.

Without going into further detail I’ll just say that I voluntary admitted myself for evaluation to a well known clinic where I gave 100%. I WANTED to get better so I attended each and every meeting, saw each and every doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist and whoever else. However, 2 episodes happened that made me feel exceptionally unsafe so one afternoon I jumped the wall. I didn’t get anywhere as I landed in the parking area and the only way out was past some security guards.

What this got me was admittance to Rand Clinic where they are more interested in over medicating you than helping you.

Because I already went through both syndol and paracetamol withdrawals on my own at home I refused their treatment and was threatened with four male security guards pushing me down to take an injection. I hired an attorney to get me out.

After my next psychotic episode where my family found me shivering and shaking on the tiled floor of the kitchen completely broken I was admitted to a third clinic. This time I was familiar with the clinic and admitted myself voluntary again.

However, my first night here was absolutely horrendous. I saw visions of my son, my ex husband and my sister being killed and heard them sitting on the opposite side of my chair – I was too afraid to lie in the bed – so I was sitting hugging my legs on a chair, when I heard them discussing my illness. There were more things I saw that night about people whom I really cared about so it was an absolute nightmare evening.

The next day the sister told me I was going to get an injection that might make me sleep for 3 days. Needless to say, I wasn’t taking that injection unless I spoke to my child to make sure he was safe. My request was refused and I was threatened with isolation where you don’t come out or see sunlight for two weeks. I still insisted my request was reasonable and my psychiatrist was called. I got my phone call and obediently took the injection.

Whatever tablets they had me on did not work with me. I would get rashes, horrendous nightmares which resulted me having to sleep in my sons room with him just so I could get am hour or two’s rest.

The last time I had a psychotic episode was the worst and that will be disclosed in my next share.

Thank you for reading and if you suffer from a mental illness know that you belong and that there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Love and light

Re: Mental Illness and AA

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:17 pm
by MyNameIsBetsy
Lavendar, I'm glad you are here, and very glad you are sober. You have a perspective on getting sober which will be helpful to others with significant mental illnesses. They will benefit from your experience. We all will.

Am sending you hugs,
Betsy, an alcoholic

Re: Mental Illness and AA

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:07 pm
by Layne
Lavender wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:47 am
Thank you for reading and if you suffer from a mental illness know that you belong and that there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Couldn't agree more. This many times over. Lavender, thank you so much for your strength and courage in sharing this post with us.