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Monday, 22 February 2016

The Darkness of Depression and Dysfunction

My son and I are both going through very difficult times and as it often happens when two people who are very close and are both struggling, they become the worst company for each other. Last week each conversation ended in hurtful words being thrown around and it was as if we wanted to cause each other more pain and suffering because we were hurting! One thing I said to my son, which hurt him profoundly and created such abusive anger in him was the following txt message:  "I have many of my own problems which you seem to disregard. You need to stop making me accountable for everything. I am not responsible for delivering your medication. Your main problem is your addiction which you keep failing to address." There were many txts before and after this particular one, but this one really hit a core with my son.

How dare I call him "an addict" (not my words, but his interpretation)? Not only an addict, but he added "just" as well, "you think I am just an addict", "all my problems are because I am just an addict", etc. Oh the abusive I got for that txt! I hit a nerve, that is for sure. However, I should quietly listen to being called lazy, stupid, crazy, bitch, whore, cunt, pathetic without a reaction. Such is the nature of mother/child relationships? No, definitely not the normal parent/child relationship here! Is it the normal conversation of addict and non addict? Possibly. Once again I think I can say that it IS the way dysfunctional relationships work.

Years of dysfunction and lack of control and lack of support has finally taken it's toll on me. I have almost always been able to cling on to a bit of hope, see something positive and hold on to the belief that the world is essentially a good place. Watching my life slip through my fingers and years stolen from me with nothing to show for it but grief and sadness is not a recipe for positivity. I have said it before that it is difficult for my children to be positive about their lives and their future when they see my life has been a struggle riddled with disappointments, heartache and obstacles.

Ironically however, amidst all the mutual depression wrecking havoc with our lives, that txt message sent in the middle of a txt message war did seem to provide something positive, even if it was fleeting.

A few days later we engaged in a long conversation via e-mail and these are some of my son's insights, which I can not help but wonder if it was a result of the "addiction" comment I made.

         " ... it gave me a new perspective, made me realize what I am doing is just stupid, that I am wasting my life and will be dead if I keep it up, and made me consider what I could do to change it, and reinforced the Ideas I already had (because I had one weak and one strong trip) from earlier  when I just took half, and the issues I had started to work through from the MDMA. "

        " stupid I have been/being and how I need to change ASAP or I won't have any sort of live whether I 
die or just continue like this."

        "What makes me really sad and ashamed is that, after reading the hospitals leaflet on I.M. (inter muscular injection) Lorazepam (a not so strong  benzo)  that they use to knock people out/sedate them, well, I wouldn't even feel it, and when I I.M. them (I.M.'ing Etizolam is the only thing that helps my back, does fuck all if I don't I.M. It) 
Anyway I am ashamed that what I IM, or just take daily, would have almost anyone knocked out for the duration of its effects. but me, I just get up after shooting 10-15mg (on top of my oral doses) Etizolam, as if I hadn't done anything, apart from a minute or two I feel pretty good (only if I am already real buzzed off just drinking them) or just have it relax my muscles and so help my back a lot.
Other people, what I take in a day, or more accurately, what I CAN take in a day, would have most people dead. Poppy Tea + Promethazine (v. sedating antihistamine that potentiates the opiates and stops me feeling sick on them) + alcohol + benzos + pregabs or Kava Kava, which is a pretty standard day for me, not always with the pregabs/kava, and I don't do the Poppies everyday, I'm trying real hard not to become physically dependant (I bought WAAAY too much)
anyway I bet that would kill 90% of non-tolerant people or just recreational users, and I don't even get much off it and am fine and am never falling asleep or having any signs that I might've had too much, I wake up the next day feeling absolutely fine (after a great nights sleep though!) and do it all over again, just probably with a slightly different combo/

It's disgusting and makes me ashamed of myself (so I take more to forget about that :| )
Thats why, now, I want to go to rehab."

That would be wonderful if my son could hold on to those thoughts, no matter how he eventually got to thinking about them. We continued to talk about the possibility of rehab and also how he would like me to help him find one. It was wonderful, though I knew not to get too excited and put my hopes up too high, it was a very good conversation indeed. My son actually found a ray of light in his darkness. He say the damage he was doing to himself and desired change.  

That conversation and moment of clarity and motivation for positive change took place on Saturday evening; however, by Sunday evening everything had change and my son just wanted to take a lot of drugs and drink vodka until he passed out. All because "friends" on Facebook were "taking the piss" out of him, though he did not want to elaborate. It beat him down and made him feel as he usually does; defeated, deflated, rejected, unliked, unloved, unsuccessful, lonely, pathetic, depressed, worthless and so on. In regard to "fixing" things and moving forward with rehab, well "there are no rehabs that would be accustomed to dealing his type of drug use". Also rehabs would require work, he does not want to do work. The doctors at rehab would take away the useful prescriptions he is on if he would be 100% honest about how he takes his medications as well as other drugs. He thought the only options for him was overdosing or making himself go crazy and going back into the mental hospital. When I tried to say that the mental hospital wont help because when he gets out he will have to adjust to a normal life all over again, he was very quick and very honest in his response, "I do not have a normal life now, I do not know how to live a normal life". Sadly that is very true.

My son is an addict. He is not the proverbial street junkie, but he is an addict. He is not and has never been a "functioning addict". My son does not and never did hold down a job or go to school or maintain friendships while taking drugs. He has never learned the life skills to live in our society. He has, I am ashamed to say, lived a very abnormal life since probably the age of  14 or 15. So at the age of 21 now, after living without friendships or social interactions since he was 16, being homeless twice, having a criminal record, three mental health hospital admissions and a serious drug problem, no he does not live a "normal" life and more importantly, has lived a very unhappy life. A person can live a life that is not considered "normal" or conventional and be very happy, my son has not been happy since he was a very young child. What a very sad realisation for the both of us.

So life goes one, day to day without change, without the knowledge of how to cope daily let along look at long term plans or change. Every now and then I see a flicker of hope in my thoughts, and maybe, just maybe he and I will get more and more flickers of hope until the flicker grows into a bright light fuelling us towards a brighter and indeed happier future because have both been beaten down too many times and we need, no we DESERVE happiness. My daughters need that happiness in their mother's and brother's lives because the cycle continues too much and they also become trapped in the darkness.    

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Drugs Brought Us Together

I have had the realisation that I began this blog a few years ago, and though there have been slight changes in our lives, fundamentally our lives are not that much improved.

The last few months have been a very introspective time and it has resulted in me being more severely depressed than ever. Some rather significant events have happened. My son was evicted, made homeless, had another psychotic breakdown and was in the mental health hospital for several weeks, he was released whilst homeless, I worked hard to get him accommodation while he spent every bit of savings on shitty B&B's, spent every bit of my savings to create a "normal" Christmas, arguments, drugs, broken family relationships and poverty. I was becoming more isolated and depressed only to have my hopes lifted and than shattered when the man I love reconnected with me and came to be with me and my children on New Year's Eve.

The man who entered my life as a drug worker, became a friend, then a lover and we fell in love with each other has a very troubled past. Not only was he a heroin addict who managed to recover and build himself an impressive and respected career in the field of addiction and recovery, he was also a victim of sexual abuse for an extensive part of his early childhood. No father, and emotionally abusive mother as well, it is not surprising he turned to drugs. He is intelligent and a survivor and though he continues to battle with self worth and mental health issues he managed to pull his life around, but was still suffering emotionally in a loveless marriage, the inner conflict of wanting to leave his wife but not wanting to "abandon" his children, therefore opting to live at home "for the children" which eventually created more damage, as is always the case in such decisions. He plays the tough but sensitive guy very well, he spreads himself thin trying to do for others in order to feel good about himself. He is a tortured soul, with an intelligent mind, a good heart yet has been damaged too many times in life. In a way he reminds me of my son, and actually he has even commented before that my son is a lot like he "was".

My son looked at this guy as someone who "gets" him and someone he liked, which is saying a lot because he rarely likes people connected to services and he has had very few friends and even fewer male role models in his life. Even after their professional relationship fizzled out and my friendship grew with this man, my son knew we were friends but did not know how often we saw each other and I never told my son when the relationship grew into more because things were "complicated". I did not want to get my son's hopes up, as he said to me a few times how he would like it is we got together because he really likes him and it would be nice. My son has been disappointed too many times to let him be disappointed again, so until things were more stabilised I did not tell him. In fact the way things worked out, I never told my son, because my friend struggled too much with his feeling, his own baggage and what is the right thing to do. Even once my friend admitted his love for me, left his wife, he could not embrace our love because he still struggled with his feelings of self worth, not being able to accept that he was entitled to happiness and that it was wrong for him to involve me in his messed up life. Through all our ups and downs, he always came back, but the struggle remained. I managed to keep a lot of our interludes secret from my daughters and but they were privy to my feelings for him and they knew we were involved, but they were not involved, if that makes sense. However, it was very clear to my kids, I think even to my son, that I loved him very much.

New Year's Eve was the happiest time I have had in a long time. My friend did come, nothing had changed between us even though we has not spoken since August and had not seen each other for nearly a year. We hugged, we talked, we drank, we laughed, we acted really silly. We stayed up till 4 am talking and went to bed only to fall asleep when the sun same up. He was grateful and thankful and told me how things are different now because he has accepted that I am the one who has always been there for him and he is no longer scared of his feelings.

My youngest daughter was thrilled to bits and could hardly contain her excitement that I was going to get a kiss at midnight. I even thought, that maybe this was a good omen and it will be the beginning of a new year, a new life, new happiness. My youngest daughter adores him and thinks he is so crazy and cool, I was delighted to finally have life in our home again and see her joy.

New Year's Day came around and we decided it would be nice for my son to come over, as he was in a dingy B&B, across the street from the prison, all alone. It would be difficult with my middle daughter, as she still refuses to have any contact with her brother. But with or without my friend here, she had to accept that over the holidays I need to include my son as well. She retreated to her room, where she decided she would stay until he left. We went to go pick him up and I made a cooked breakfast. Well what a day we had. My son stayed until 9 pm and if my daughter would not have been excluded (her own decision) it would have been perfect. We played games, we laughed, my son and my friend played guitar and made up their own song. I cooked, we ate, listened to music. My friend spoke of wonderful plans for the future, especially once he gets his compensation from the abuse he suffered which would potentially be quite a lot of money. He said he would take me on holiday, we would get married, then send for the kids to join us. He talked to my son about helping him get his own flat so he wouldn't have to live the way he is any longer. He talked about how much he loved me. When my son and him went out to buy tobacco he asked my son for his blessing and my son told him of course he gives his blessing,  because we seem really happy and good for each other. At the end of the day what would be the best motivation for my children to keep striving is to see that I have finally found happiness and that you should never give up because you can get what you want one day. I think parents want to see their children happy, but even more so, children want to see their parents happy, really happy.

There was lots of "stuff" going on in this man's life and even though we spent 4 days together, I never really delved too much because I didn't want to spoil things.  He was now unemployed, he had no place to live, he was back on drugs, he is in trouble with people, bad people, "after him" and though he seemed to be more focused in some respect, it was clear his life was falling apart. Things were getting so desperate for him that he recently attempted suicide, twice. I wanted to hold him and never let go, though there was a voice inside saying, "oh shit".

He spent the day with my son on January second, for what I though was going to be some good old fashioned male bonding going to the pub and having a beer. It turns out that after spending the entire day and evening together, it was a day that they stayed in the B&B and did a variety of drugs, as my friend was eager to score as soon as he arrived, as well as try out some of my son's more unusual drugs. While they spent the day together he was on the phone a lot trying to "sort out" something because these "bad people" were threatening his children. I spoke to him at 8 pm and all seemed fine, though I knew nothing of what was going on until a few weeks later when my son confessed all. Then at 10 pm I get a call from my son saying that my friend has had too much (I thought that meant alcohol) and can't drive home, so I needed to pick him up. He was quite out of it and babbling all sorts of things.

The next couple of days was my friend staying mostly in bed sleeping but every time he was awake he always told me how much he loved him. He also talked about dying and that he is not afraid to die. I knew that something was not right, but I was so happy he was in my home and we were all together.

That day when he went to see my son, he asked if he could stay a few more days, and I said yes, so he went to get a few things. He came back upset and said he had a run in with his father in law. A few days later he was going to get a few more things, very early in the morning. It was Monday, after the Christmas holidays and one of my daughters were going back to school that day, the other would go back on Tues. I thought that once both were at school and their lives go back to the normal routine, giving us the day alone with each other, then we can sit down and have a serious conversation about what is really going on. We rolled out of bed, he threw on some clothes and I offered him tea and toast but he said no, we would eat together when he gets back. He told me I should go back to bed because it was cold and dark and too early. I gave him a set of house keys in case I was out when he got back. I gave him a little kiss and off he went....never to return.

What followed was agony. I tried contacting people, no one knew anything, no one had seen him. I started getting emails from a stranger looking for him. He no longer had his phone and was borrowing a phone, I had never thought to ask for the number. I gave him my phone number but he left it in the pocket of his other trousers. He had lost his wallet on the day he was with my son so he didn't even have ID on him. I tried to find people who would know, but no one knew where he was or what happened just that there were people looking for him. I managed to locate the aunt he had stayed with before coming to me and luckily she was sympathetic and asked me to phone her. My heart sank because I feared she had bad news but she knew nothing of him since he had left, they are all in the same small village and no one knew. I had a friend drive by his mother's house, to see if his car was there, I asked her to call his dad. Nothing. He wasn't at the family home either. I called hospitals, the police, nothing. Weeks have gone by with no news and yet I feel it is not my place to get the police involved, in retrospect maybe I should have.

I have not cried like the way I cried since my father died. I could not stop, no matter how I tried. As soon as my mouth opened, the words were chocked on and tears flowed instead. While driving in the car, hearing songs that all seemed to touch me, shopping in the grocery store, talking to random people....EVERYTHING made me cry and I could not stop thinking about him. I still can't. I feared the worse, that I will never see him again because he is dead, I still fear that. I wanted to know what had happened, had is happening. Of course I missed him but my worry for him was greater. I cried, morning noon and night. I dreamt of him. I started to question his motives and became insecure and suspicious. Was it all a lie? Was he only using me to have a place to hide for a few days? Did he have any feelings for me at all? Was he just playing me? But then I would always return to the thoughts of his safety, that I really didn't care so much of his motives or anything else, I just wanted him to be alive and ok!

About a week or so after he left I received a phone call from his aunt that he had made contact with her. She told him of my worry, she told him she felt sorry for me (probably because I could not not stop crying while on the phone to her the first time). She said she had no idea where he was calling from, her phone only showed "private number" calling, that he said he had to go father away until things settle down. He told her tell me he is really sorry but he will be back. Nothing since then and I have checked every so often and no one knows a thing.

I was hurt and worried and pissed off. I was hurt that he has not found a way to contact me. I am worried for his safety. I am pissed off for the universe tempting me with promises of happiness and then pulling it away from me with such viciousness.

I had always hoped that one day my son will also give up the drugs, go back to studying, and create a good career and perhaps a happy life for himself, like my friend did to a certain extent. My friend also used to compare my son to him and assured me that one day he will get bored of the drugs, as he did, and clean himself up. After New Year's however, the similarities between the two no longer gave me hope for my son's future, it made me see how fragile these damaged souls are and how strong the seduction the wonderful feeling only drugs can provide in their damaged and dysfunctional lives is too great.

What hit me very hard as well was the fact that I will never ever be completely free from worry about my son's future. No matter how much he may one day get his life in order, perhaps even live a drug free life for many years, we will never be certain that he has escaped his demons forever. No matter what he has, how may obstacles he has hurdled, will he always be tempted to get back into drugs when life gets to a point in which he thinks he can't do it any more, he needs the warm fuzzy blanket of opiate and benzos to mask away his pains and problems?

Even a greater upset in this sea of upset and complex emotions my friend's presence and disappearance brought, was the fact that he let me children down and particularly my son, who I feel is quite vulnerable to getting hurt. My son admitted to me that he told my friend that he better not hurt me, nice to hear that my son was being protective. Also he told me how much he enjoyed having someone to hang out with and play guitar with and was hoping that it would become a regular thing. When remembering  how we all played games (well unfortunately except my daughter, but maybe if things had turned out differently she may have been tempted to join in eventually), my son said, "we were like a family". Those are very painful words indeed. It makes it all very real how much all my children desire a happy family, no matter how old they get. My children were told by this man that he loves me and wants to help us. We were all gobbling up these promises and images of happiness because we are all starving emotionally for some happiness. What a shame that these dreams were more than likely destroyed because of the power drugs have over an addict. I am not doubting that he ran away from some trouble he is in, this once respected professional, but I do not know that the trouble was not drug related as it could have been, but I am nearly 100% sure that he is (assuming he is still alive) existing on drugs to escape all the problems. Drugs seems to have brought us together and perhaps torn us apart forever.

Friends and family think I should not be involved with him if he has regressed back into addiction, especially with such baggage and issues and troubles. I completely understand and appreciate that. However, that also makes me think of my son. Is that what people will tell his friends and lovers if he ever gets any, that he is not worth it because he has too many issues and problems, he is an addict? Is that the future for him, people not wanting to give him a second chance, or third chance or how many chances it takes?  In my support group we occasionally have guest speakers talking to us on their addiction and how it took years of struggling and burning bridges and rebuilding those bridging, not once, but many times for them to live a better life. We applaud these people and admire them for going through the years of chaos and having one or two people who stood by their side no matter what. Yet when it comes to "real life" is that how most people really think? People are not glad that I am not willing to give up on my friend. If a miracle happened and he appeared at my doorstep what would I do? Would I turn him away because he is "just a man" and I should put my family first and tell him he is too destructive for our well being as a family? Or would I support him and show him that he is worthy of a life with people who will not give up on him or emotionally abuse him and continue to love him? People tell me to be angry, not to ever have anything to do with him again if he should resurface. Well it is not because he is a man. It is not about sex or having to feel I am not complete without a man. It is about humanity and friendship and love. If he comes back to me, isn't that what all these addiction success stories have in common? Someone in the addicts life that is not willing to give up on them? And in fact, if that would ever happen, though I honestly think that is very unlikely, wouldn't that be a great example for my son to see that I will never give up on the people I love (including him), and if this man can do it, not once, but twice despite the severe damage done in his life, than he can too?

My depression began a long time ago but has become severe since these unfortunate series of events took place at the start of the year. Showering, cleaning, going out are all very challenging chores that I hide from. I hide my depression well on the rare occasions I need to go out. I do not think people can tell I have not showered for over a week or have worn the same clothes for over a week. I have not cleaned my house since just after Christmas and even that was not a real cleaning job. I have clothes in the laundry pile (a pile that has over taken the entire utility room) that were last worn in September. I have unopened mail, unpaid bills etc. It is really bad, but I am hoping that purging my feelings here, and perhaps getting back to the cathartic and healing process of writing, I may start to tackle my depression, because it will have to be done, one small painful step at a time. I have to face this depression of my own misfortunes but also depression from watching those I love be destroyed by drugs.