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What is going to be different this time? (Long Post)



What is going to be different this time? (Long Post)

Old 03-28-2011, 08:06 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Not all better, getting better
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What is going to be different this time? (Long Post)

Hello all. It's been some time since I've been posting regularly around here. In the past this has been a helpful place for me to seek advice and try to help others in need.

A bit of background for those who don't know me. I was a long time, heavy pot smoker (3g/day, at least) for over 20 years. It caused major damage in my life. I lost my wife, custody of my child, home, jobs, hundereds of thousands of dollars, etc. I have been to inpatient rehab, twice. I also have a host of mental problems (major depression, anxiety, posible bi-polar) and have been hospitalized 3 times, the most recent being last week. Obviously the mental health issues and substance abuse are entertwined.

I haven't smoked pot in almost 2 years, but about a year ago I started smoking "spice". It is a substance sprayed with chemicals that effect the same part of the brain as pot does. Until recently it was legal. Of course, just because it is legal, doesn't mean that it's ok to use. Soon I was smoking it just as heavily as I did pot. I stopped smoking it about 4 weeks ago. Using was my primary coping skill when it came to work related anxiety. I work in sales, and though I do quite well, it causes me a great deal of stress and anxiety. After quitting, my anxiety levels continued to grow and grow. I've since read that this can be a side effect of smoking spice. I reached the point where the anxiety turned into desperation and depression. I became suicidal, planning on stepping in front of a fast moving train on tracks near my house.

I had just come home from a long weekend out of town and couldn't bear the thought of returning to work. I completely broke down, becoming a sobbing mess. Through this, I finally did one thing right, one thing I almost never do. I asked for help. Since my suicide attempt almost 5 years ago, I live with my parents. They were getting ready to go out of town for a week. I asked my mother to stay with me. I feel confident that if she hadn't, I would not be here today writing this. I then scheduled an appointment with my theripist, who suggested I speak with my doctor, who took one look at me and suggested I check into the hospital, which I did. It was the right thing to do. They changed up some of my meds and got me stable.

There is a misconseption about mental hospitals that they are there to actually "fix" you. In reality they are kinda like a mental health ER. They patch you up enough to keep you alive and when you get out you really work on your issues that got you there. That said, I did have somewhat of a breakthrough while there. I asked to speak with a psychologist for some one on one therapy. I discussed my depression with him. How I beat myself up for having pi$$ed away the last 20 years, the guilt I felt, how it weighed me down. He said it sounded like I used pot to cope with the stress of life. I agreed. He asked me if I knew how other people coped with stress. I said I didn't. He said that some people drank or used hard drugs like, meth, coke, herion. Others acted out violently or sexually. Now there are certainly more postive ways to deal with stress, but I smoked pot. Not the best method, but in the whole scheme of things, not the worst either. For the first time, I was able to give myself a break, and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I've slept much better since then.

So I've been out of the hospital for a week. I go back to work tomorrow. I am already feeling the anxiety building. I have an appointment with the doctor to review my meds today. I am going to set up an appointment with an new theripist today as well. I don't really feel like I was making any progress with the old one. The question is, what am I going to do differently this time?

One thing I have started doing is service work. I have started working with a group that collects and distributes food to the hungry. One thing being in the hospital showed me is that as bad as things may seem for me, there are many others for whom things are much worse. Helping them helps me. Perhaps a bit of a selfish way to look at it, but whatever gets the job done!! I am working our more regularly, but I need to do more. I know for a fact that it makes me feel better when I do it, but I hate to do it!! It is going to be even more difficult when I go back to work, but I am going to need it even more then. I would dearly like to find a "group therapy" group I could participate in. I have found this to be, by far, the most effective therapy for me. However, the only times I have had access to it was when I have been confined in the mental hospital or in rehab. I hate to think I have to get "locked up" to find a decent group. I am more than willing to pay for it and drive where I need to to find it. I have been trying to work on meditation, but it is very much a work in progress. I would like to try to get in touch with a spiritual side of me that I'm not sure exists.

So that's my situation. Congrats if you made it this far!! Any and all input is welcome. Thanks for listening.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:02 AM
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Tyler, Welcome back! Glad to see you posting again!
I can relate to your DOC, Mine has always been good weed, used to grow wild here on the ranch (well, it may have had a little help!) Loved it! I can’t remember how long it has been-I think somewhere in the early 90s- like 92 or so. It got so legally unpopular I turned to alcohol, WOW was that a dumb move or what? I’ve been sober a little over a year now and feel good about the progress.
Sounds like you are making a good start again, keep posting and reading here. I like the idea of your volunteer work; I get involve in that also- Keeps my feet on the ground. I know you have got it in you to get the victory over the “spice”. You know it’s going to take some determination and work to get there!
You’ve got the tools in your bag, brother, just take them out and start using them again! You can do it. If you need someone to talk to feel free to p/m me any time. Wish you the best!! Ld
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:33 PM
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Welcome back Tyler, glad you are still among us. The service work and the working out both side like awesome tools. I work out 4-5 times a week and when I started I hated it I was lucky if I dragged myself to the gym for 1 glass 1 night a week, but within about 6-8 mths it became my refuge and now if I miss a day I get feeling very anxious and somewhat guilty. I've lived with depression and anxiety my whole life and with regular exercise I've been able to eliminate 99% of the medication I used to need to take to get through life. I would think your therapist or psychiatrist would be able to set you up with group therapy? If not maybe find 1 that can.
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:52 PM
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Wow Tyler...I am so glad you asked for help! That was really brave.

I also use exercise and I'm still in the hating it stage...however I like how I feel when do e. I use a life coach to work on the way I approach life...it has been a huge help. Plus SR.

Glad to see you back!
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:19 PM
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Thanks for the support guys!! I did drag myself to the gym today. Rode the bike for a half hour and did some light weights. I've lost about 20 lbs over the last couple of weeks. (I wouldn't recommend my method though, the anxiety/hospital food diet plan!!) Fortunately I've got the weight to lose. It wouldn't hurt me to lose another 15-20 lbs, but I need to find a more healthy method for that.

I went to my follow up doctors appointment today...and found out that it isn't until next Monday!! Oops!! Oh well, I was running late for it anyway.

Tomorrow is my first day back at work. After I got out of the hospital I called my supervisor to give her some idea what was going on. When I told her that I was anxious to get back to work, I was being very truthful!! I still don't really have a set plan to manage my work stress. I've felt my anxiety level going up as the day wears on. I guess I'm just going to jump back into it and hope everything goes OK. I just need to keep things in perspective and not let small problems roll into big ones. I don't love my job (sales) but I am good at it and work for a good company. I live in a small area with not a lot of options for work. I guess I just need to try to keep things in perspective and take it "one day at a time."

Thanks again for all of the support. Take care.
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