Recovery Requires Overcoming our Past Pain …Identifying Underlying Issues and Roots to Your Addiction to Gain Recovery.

Recovery Requires Overcoming our Past Pain …Identifying Underlying Issues and Roots to Your Addiction to Gain Recovery.

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I have recently been introduced to a new recovery friend who I may be helping him with a writing project of his memoirs. His story and testimony, like mine, are filled with many roots, underlying issues and old pain as to why he turned to addiction. 

Actually, what this man had endured and now causes him much haunting pain and nightmares today that had been suppressed in his memory for many years, it amazes me he is still alive to tell his story.

Why? Because the stats are alarming on how many people are sexually assaulted every year in America, and on average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assaults each year.  Every 73 seconds, a sexual assault occurs.

Just boys and men alone, 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, whether in childhood or as adults. This leaves many lives traumatically changed forever, constant pain and haunting memories as I had for years myself and those feelings of the shame, lost innocence, and feeling dirty as though it was my fault this happened to me. 

All those years of asking GOD?

 WHY ME? 


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I won’t lie, even though I now have learned the tools to process what happened to me, talking with my new friend, it has brought up some of those feelings back. As we spoke, I felt his pain. I can hear the anxiety and anger.

I have told him he needs to let go of the anger and resentment I was hearing in his voice as he shared his story and events with me, and privileged he is, it needs to be validated for him instead of others just shutting him down or think he’s just crazy. He is a human being with feelings. I know just how much “words” can hurt and hurt more so than physical pain. Because I too have been ridiculed in the same manner by my own family members, I am estranged from today.

Being molested and experienced trauma of this kind is challenging to find the proper words to describe your loss of innocence and your identity stripped away, leaving you confused, empty, broken, and feeling worthless and ashamed. I carried that into my adulthood. I learned I could use a mask of humor to appear I was just as happy and healthy like everyone else while my pain and rage began building through the years. Many other issues came into play as I was growing up. Feeling significant sensitivity when my parents physically disciplined me, as I got older, the verbal abuse.

Of course, all the while, the anger was building a perfect storm, as it continued brewing into my adult life, and turning to addiction to try and cope, numb out and not feel the haunting pain and nightmares that came back around age 30.  By 33, I was almost into full-blown gambling addiction.  Right before my first suicide attempt and treatment and was not my last, I began to abuse alcohol toward my second suicide attempt as addicted gambling stopped working as my escape and hide from the pain.

I began gaining a few years of recovery time, is when I started writing in a journal.  Those journals helped in releasing my book/memoir. I started my research for my book learning dark secrets that had me looking at my parents much; differently, it is an uncomfortable feeling to see your parents in a whole new light. And not a positive one either.

I share these feelings as it seems, even after fifteen years of estrangement from my father and the rest of my dysfunctional side of the family, they still feel the need to add salt to the old wounds even today by leaving “ugly” comments of my book as reviews anywhere they think they can hurt me. I’m OK today, so I ignore it.

WHY?

Because I set those boundaries long ago and learned the tools not to let any of that as blame to make me relapse nor relapse from any of my roots and underlying issues that used to make me run to escape with a few hours of gambling, and ALL THE TIME.  You can learn the full-back story as I wrote a recent recovery post about this topic here on my recovery blog  https://betfreerecoverynow.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/family-may-not-understand-about-addiction-nor-support-you-as-you-change-maintaining-recovery-the-2nd-chance-syndrome-some-dont-get-it/


See, one of my new years “fear busting resolutions” is to share more
about this side of my life and embrace the fact it happened, and I made it out the other side of my sexual trauma and abuse. Not as a victim any longer, and I know it wasn’t me or anything I did to invite sexual molestation to happen to me.

Again, I want to be clear that I am a recovery warrior and no longer a victim.  NO, I don’t blame my parents either, but we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is.  But I won’t continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be verbally abused by them any longer.  I don’t have to keep and use my moms’ old poor behaviors as they have used for years and enabled my mom.

So, sadly,  I needed to distance myself to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life and did so many year’s ago.

My main point to my ramblings? 

Learning the roots and underlying issues of why we turned addiction, and these were some of the fuel to mine, we have to process them healthily, know it is OK to seek professional help, and no shame in doing so.  This will aide you from relapse.  I learned that the hard way.  When you do, you can begin to forgive, let go and “Let God” and begin to heal, find true peace and happiness, and start a successful long-term recovery road.

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Today, I have the comfort of knowing that GOD and those who have passed on like my mother, my brother-in-law, just a couple of dear friends who are the only ones who know my real truth of what I went through.

This is the only validation I need that keeps me in peace and serenity.

As I know GOD will always love me unconditionally . . .  ✝💞👼🙏🙏

 

Veterans, A Holiday Spotlight on My Guest “Make The Connection” – Gambling Addiction Services and Much More For our Vets.

Veterans, A Holiday Spotlight on My Guest “Make The Connection” – Gambling Addiction Services and Much More For our Vets.

Gambling addiction has no boundaries on who it will touch. It can be men, women, teens, seniors, and even our veterans that have or are serving in the military. I was doing some research for an article I was writing for a paper and came across my guest who I wanted to spotlight as part of my Holiday Blogging series as we are seeing our veterans not just battling homelessness or drug and alcohol problems, but now gambling addiction.

“In between deployments my buddies and I would hit the casino. But we ended up losing our paychecks and so I had to start coming up with creative excuses why I didn’t have any money for my family.”


So if you are a veteran of any military branch of service? Know there is Help, Hope, and now Treatment Options for all types of addictions including gambling and find it here at “Making The Connection . Net”  Here is more of what they do and about addicted gambling among our veterans.

 

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“MakeTheConnection.net is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives.”

There are millions of Veterans and family members who have reached out for support during tough times. Their lives got better. Yours can too. Over 400 Veterans and family members from across the country have shared their stories of strength and recovery. On MakeTheConnection.net, it takes only seconds to find a story that is just for you. Try It: Find the Story for You  In addition to powerful stories, MakeTheConnection.net provides information about life experiences you can relate to. You also can explore information about signs, symptoms, and conditions that are related to mental health and well-being.

MakeTheConnection.net also will help you…

Locate Nearby Resources.

 

When it’s time to reach out, MakeTheConnection.net’s resource locator can help you find resources, programs, and facilities in your area, no matter where you are.

They have many different resources listed as well Crisis Lines and more with now 2,918,331 ONLINE Supporters waiting to help VETS.

 

“Make The Connection has resources available for Veterans having a problem with gambling addiction.”

Gambling is a problem when it negatively affects your finances, job, relationships with family or friends, or your health. Are you sometimes unable to pay the bills because you’ve spent your money on lottery or scratch tickets; card, slot, or dice games; sports betting; horse or dog races; or Internet gambling? When you lose money gambling, do you think that you need to bet more to win it all back? Have you tried to hide your gambling from family or friends? Is gambling the only thing you like doing, or do you spend most of your time thinking about ways to gamble?  A “yes” answer to any of these questions may be a sign of a gambling addiction.

Gambling is betting something of value on the outcome of an event — like a football or baseball game, a card game, or a race — when the likelihood of winning or losing is uncertain. Although many people gamble occasionally, some people gamble even when it causes problems for themselves or others. They may want, need, or have tried to stop gambling but feel like they can’t. They may start gambling more often or taking bigger and bigger betting risks. These are some of the warning signs of a gambling addiction.

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For some Veterans, gambling starts as entertainment, but then can become a major way to relieve stress or boredom or to feel better when going through a tough time. Some Veterans may gamble for its sense of risk and thrill. Gambling can be a distraction, or perhaps a way to avoid coping with some of the difficulties that may arise when transitioning from military to civilian life. One of the symptoms of a serious gambling addiction is continuing to gamble even when you no longer find it enjoyable.

When gambling becomes a habit, it can cause problems with your job, relationships, and your mental or physical health. People who gamble compulsively may have financial issues, go into debt, or keep turning to others for gifts or loans. They may even steal from family, friends, or even their employers so they can keep gambling. The need to gamble, the problems it causes, and the stress of not being able to stop can be related to guiltdepressionanxiety disordersalcohol or drug problemsbipolar, even OCD and PTSD and health other issues.

If I’m experiencing a gambling problem, what can I do about it right away?

  • Acknowledge that gambling has become a problem in your life.
  • Recognize that it is possible to make a change.
  • Make a list of reasons not to gamble that you can refer to when you feel the urge to gamble.
  • Write down a list of things — including people and places — that make you want to gamble, along with ways that you can avoid them.
  • Practice relaxation exercises such as deep breathing to help you manage stress and to manage feelings if you feel the strong urge to gamble.
  • Make a list of activities you enjoy that you can do instead of gambling.
  • Spend time with supportive people in your life who do not gamble.

Trust me, people who are close to you may have noticed you’re having a tough time, even if they are unaware of your gambling. You may want to talk to your family and friends about what you’re experiencing. They may be able to provide support and help you find solutions that are right for you.

Take the next step: Make the connection.

It can be difficult to handle a gambling problem on your own. Every day, Veterans who served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard connect with proven resources and effective treatments for the issues they face and find solutions that improve their lives. You can also consider connecting with:

  • Your doctor. Ask if your doctor has experience treating Veterans or can refer you to someone who does. If you feel comfortable enough with your physician, he or she may be able to help you find tools to manage a gambling problem even without direct experience with Veterans.
  • A mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor
  • Your local VA Medical Center or Vet Center. VA specializes in the care and treatment of Veterans.
  • A spiritual or religious advisor
  • A gambling helplines like Gamblers Anonymous or self-help groups

Explore these resources for more information about gambling problems in Veterans.


Please learn more about what you can do if you are experiencing specific concerns related to gambling, such as
 anxiety disordersdepression, and alcohol or drugs problems.

Problem Gambling Confidential Helpline Network
The National Council on Problem Gambling provides a toll-free, confidential helpline throughout the U.S. for anyone seeking help with gambling issues. Dial 1-800-522-4700.

Gamblers Anonymous
This website can help you find a local support group for people dealing with gambling problems. The nationwide toll-free number for immediate help is 1-888-GA-HELPS.
www.gamblersanonymous.org


Vet Center
If you are a combat Veteran, you can bring your DD214 to your local Vet Center and speak with a counselor or therapist — many of whom are Veterans themselves — for free, without an appointment, and regardless of your enrollment status with VA. In addition, any Veteran who was sexually traumatized while serving in the military is eligible to receive counseling regardless of gender or era of service.
www.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter.asp


VA Medical Center Facility Locator

Gambling may be related to other health conditions that need attention. VA provides world-class health care to eligible Veterans. Most Veterans qualify for cost-free health care services, although some Veterans must pay modest copays for health care or prescriptions. Explore your eligibility for health care using VA’s Health Benefits Explorer tool and find out more about the treatment options available to you.
www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isflash=1

Join the Conversation

Make the Connection is more than a website. It is a nationwide, online movement of millions. Join us and share Make the Connection on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Your words can encourage someone in need to reach out for support and treatment.

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I want to say a warm Thank You, to each and every one of our Veterans and Military personnel for your Sacrifice and Serving our Country. You should never have to deal with homelessness, addictions, or feel alone. YOU have a voice and I am here to make sure your voices are heard and you learn about all the HELP there is for you! And Thank goodness there are helpful sites out there ready to help our VETS like “MAKE THE CONNECTION . NET ” TODAY!

God Bless,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

Flash Backs of My Past With Mental Health, Undiagnosed . . . .

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“Sometimes we have to look back and remember what life was like before being finally diagnosed with a mental and emotional illness.  It is at times still difficult for me to talk about. I was first diagnosed in 2002 while in a behavioral and addictions crisis center via the hospital after my first failed suicide attempt, which included my severe gambling addiction.”

I happen to be reading a recent article I am about to share with you from the fine folks of “Psych Central” that hit home for me. It took me back years growing up before I was diagnosed with several mental health challenges, but looking back I remembered so many times I could pick out during my life that should have been possible warning signs for my parents, and “red flags” for me as I moved into adulthood.

I remember times when I was little, and would throw these awful tantrums from what my mother told me years ago, but I remember the aftermath when my mom would lock me in my bedroom and  I would be lying on my tummy watching the footsteps pass back and forth my bedroom door. Or, when I rode in the car I would rock forward and back, and it would drive my dad nuts, so  he would yell at me to stop! I always seemed to have to be moving and going all the time. Bipolar Anxiety I believe is what I was suffering. All of it had gotten worse after I had been sexually abused as a little girl. Hell, a lot came from PTSD I also was suffering but didn’t know or understand until I was diagnosed and when it came back to haunt me in my 30’s. It is some of why I turned to gambling.

In my teens, I would have times where I would be way up, happy, and chatty constantly and then? I would be very low, quite, and then isolate in my bedroom which now I know was depression, and kept right into adulthood. So, again, most of the article made me think back to those many memories and made them clear as to what was then, going on.
Many of us who were born in the early 60’s, and grew up in this period our parents had no clue about a mental illness. They just thought we were being fussy or just a bad kid. And yes, you can have anxiety and depression together. It is just a matter of which will be prevalent from day to day.

We know more today than ever with research, studies, and even with medications to treat the vast amount disorders. It is why we are seeing the explosion of many people coming out and talking about mental illness.  I hope this article will help others have “self-awareness” and not be afraid to get help if you suffer from any mental and emotional health problems.  .  .  .  .   As I watch the Democratic Convention today, right now, the first issues speakers are talking about? More Funding for Addiction and Treatment, and now Mental Illness. This is what we need. The people in our elected offices and government act and fund these issues.      *Author,Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

BIPOLAR LENSES/By   on
PsychCentral

Explaining utter darkness to someone who has only lived in the sunlight would be a difficult task. They would have to believe you and trust in something they have never experienced. If you haven’t experienced the darkness, perhaps after reading this you can help someone out of it.

Mania

When my eyes open in the morning, my mind goes from slumber to 100 mph. “I don’t know why I haven’t thought that! I need a (brain singing the Three’s Company theme song) new car! If I sold my current car and (dang I need a burger) sold my Xbox and TV I could afford the down payment and if I sell those baseball cards in the attic I can still pay rent! Wow! I am so handsome today! I know that I flunked out of college, but I am smarter than 90 percent of people so does it really matter? I want donuts. What DVDs do I have that I can sell to afford them?”

Hours later:

“Why did I sell that stuff? My wife is going to be so upset and those donuts were not worth it. Maybe I can buy them back. I’ll just need to grab my wife’s card when she is napping. No, I can’t because that will cause (you will do it) problems (you will do it) and (you will do it) I don’t want….

Back at the store:
“Didn’t you sell us these today?” (They noticed! You are so stupid!)

“Yes… I didn’t really mean to (you know they think you are crazy, right?)

Drive home:
“How do I explain this? (Say you got her birthday gift and it was a surprise! Her birthday isn’t for months and you can make that money back to really buy something!)

At home:
“I am so sorry I took your card, sweetie. I know I said I wouldn’t. Well, no, I feel fine. It wasn’t mania. Whatever.”

At night:
“I can’t sleep.” (You need a new guitar.)
“I want to sleep.” (Your kids will never love you when they experience what you are)
“I have to try to sleep.” (Work in seven hours) (Work in six hours) (Work in five hours)

At work:
Exceed in everything and then some due to my insane level of energy.

At home again:
“Can’t sit still … need to go.” (You are a terrible father) I just need to run to the store (stay with your kids, they love you. Are you a bad person?)
Rinse and repeat for a few weeks, then…

The middle

I am me. The Caleb I was when most of my old friends met me. The Caleb that loves to write music and play basketball. The Caleb that knows this can’t last long and soaks up every moment he can. I love the middle.

Depression

As I wake up, I wish I hadn’t. Take a look at my work to-do list and experience a high level of anxiety. That mental voice is not so active, but neither is mine. I feel a cloud of doubt and dread follow me all day, turning into a thunderstorm when faced with human interaction or hard times. The cloud sucks the life and desire for anything out of me.

I feel the weight of all my bad choices compounded with the reality that I am a finite being who will likely be forgotten soon after I am gone. Nothing I have done makes a difference to anyone. Trying to match my manic or normal self while depressed is next to impossible. I do not want to be around anyone due to the anxiety that they realize how messed up I really am. I try not to leave the house for as long as I can and wear the same clothes for as many days as I can.

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I sometimes plan to take my life, but when I see my children and imagine what their future looks like without a dad I change my mind. This time.I am not suggesting that mistakes someone makes while manic or depressed don’t count. But I am hoping you can see how choices made in the extremes haunt the individual.

If a friend ever comments they are contemplating suicide, get them immediate help however you can. 1-800-273-8255 is the suicide prevention hotline and dialing 911 is an acceptable option as well. If your friend was having a heart attack there would be no hesitation. If they mention killing themselves, then I promise they have thought about it seriously.

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Even the best friend in the world is no substitute for therapy. There are medical professionals who dedicate their lives to helping the mentally ill and it will do much more than any amount of “being there” can.

Take off the logical glasses you see life through and put on your empathy lenses. We might try to take advantage of your kindness. We might seem like we don’t care that you care. We might make you think we don’t appreciate you. But we appreciate it more than you can imagine. .  .  .

“HEAR MY VOICE of MENTAL ILLNESS” 

An Article Share From Earlier This Year. Living With Dual Diagnosis In Recovery With Mental Illness.

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MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH ~ Some of My Story . . .

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I heard people talking about me saying, when the police came to my home, there were knives all around me on the couch and floor of my living-room. Then I blacked out again.”

I woke up next in a mental/addiction crisis center with my wrists wrapped, feeling very sick to my stomach, and remained there for the next 14 days”…

I’d been invited by a Behavioral Rehab Center earlier this year to share a little of my story of living with ‘Dual Diagnosis’ of Mental Health challenges while living live in recovery from addiction. Since it is Mental Health Awareness month, I though I would share one of my articles I wrote for them here on my blog. Not only do I have these challenges, I’m also in the middle of a battle, and have been for 5 years with SSI disability for my benefits.

This has added a lot more stress in my life. WHY? Because it is really disappointing when you have worked all your life, paid into your social security disability, and when you do become unable to work? You have to fight like hell for your benefits. I have all the medical, mental, and psychiatry evidence and documentation to show why I am unable to work, but if you get a SSI judge who doesn’t know, or care what you go through daily with these disabilities, and of course he/they find ways for denial of your benefits.

I even have a new lawyer, which makes 3 lawyers now that have helped me, and we just won our federal case, and have been granted a new SSI hearing for next month. Now this whole experience will be for another blog post! LOL.
But my point? If your unable to work because of your Mental Health and medication side effects, you better be armed with excellent evidence, and a good lawyer because you have to fight like hell to get anywhere with the SSI Disability department. And this 5 year experience has added so much more stress in my life that is very unhealthy for me. It is some of what my blog share is about. So here is what I’d like to share with all of you today.
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How Does One Recover From Gambling Addiction When Living With Mental & Behavioral Health Problems?

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I heard people talking about me saying, when the police came to my home, there were knives all around me on the couch and floor of my living-room. Then I blacked out again.”
I woke up next in a mental/addiction crisis center with my wrists wrapped, feeling very sick to my stomach, and remained there for the next 14 days under a black cloud of pressure pushing down on me!”
Here is where my addiction recovery and behavioral health journey began. Trying to recover from gambling addiction, and while there, was diagnosed with many mental and emotional disorders, and many negative behavioral habits I had picked up in my many years of addicted gambling. I was in crisis! See, I had been suffering undiagnosed mental illness for years without ever knowing it. And I turned to addicted gambling and alcohol abuse in my adult life to zone out & cope, not wanting to feel the hurt and pains I had not processed from childhood.

With my first failed suicide attempt, I was supposed to be attending my best friend’s funeral and celebration of life, instead, I had a very bad gambling binge/slip that almost cost me my life. I chose to escape her tragic death by 16 hours of addicted gambling to escape the hurt and loss I felt from losing my best friend. Many asked me, “how can you just waste your money like that?” Today I tell them, “it’s not about the money, it’s about the disease of addicted gambling, and the bad choices and behaviors that comes with it”. It is why I feel it’s just important to share one’s personal experiences, as it is educating others about this addiction, and about living with mental/emotional illness, and childhood trauma and abuse.

So, what is gambling addiction? There are many definitions for problem and gambling addiction. Some claim it’s a mental health disorder, some say it’s a cognitive behavioral issue, and even some say it’s an impulse control problem. From personal experience, it was all three and more. But all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits are a gambling addiction. The major features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. It is why currently gambling addiction has the highest Suicide Rate than any other addiction.

So there I was, in a crisis center due to a suicide attempt, which wouldn’t be my first. However, it made me start the progress (which took a few years) of trying to attain recovery. Still, I wasn’t fully convinced regarding my mental/emotional diagnosis. Partly because I was still in denial about my gambling addiction.

When I was told I would be starting medications for my mental/emotional issues, the first thing I thought was, “oh great, now people are going to think I’m nuts or a fruit loop”! Looking back now, it’s clear that this came from the huge Stigma in this country about those who suffer from any type of mental and or emotional illness. This cunning addiction invades every part of your being, especially your thinking. And even though I was a victim of childhood trauma and sex abuse as a little girl, I had never told anyone until my adulthood.

And my parents did raise us to know right from wrong, even if it was heavy-handed. But when addiction comes along, or you turn to any addiction to cope with what life is throwing at you, all good behaviors and choices fly right out the window, and the negative behaviors of addiction change your thought process in working out life’s problems. It seemed easier for me to go gamble for a few hours than to deal with what life drama was happening around me! That is the ugly side of this addiction. My bumpy journey of recovery began with cognitive behavioral therapy. Last time I wrote about behavioral health. Throw gambling addiction in the mix – this is called having Dual Diagnosis. But on a personal level, I called it a recipe for doom.

 


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Why? Because it was hard to admit to myself that I have mental health issues as I was still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was an addicted gambler, and it got so out of control that I tried to end my life. I wasn’t focused on trying to manage my disorders because I was in denial about my diagnosed mental/emotional illness.  So when I left the crisis center, all I knew was the doctors told me to “take these pills” and all would be OK. However,  I just focused on the recovery from gambling, and didn’t give much thought to managing my mental/emotional health except for browsing through some pamphlets they gave me to read.

What I have learned from this part of my journey is that you have to manage and balance not only your recovery from addiction, but your mental and emotional behavioral health as well. Like any other illness or disease like diabetes or heart disease, you should follow what your doctors suggest, take your medications properly, eat right, and even exercise to have a well-balanced healthy life. But if you only focus on one part of your overall plan, you won’t be successful in managing to stay healthy – physically and mentally.

And that’s the same when we live life in recovery with dual diagnosis.  You have to learn to live an overall well-balanced life in recovery, and mind your mental health. It helps your recovery journey to be a success. There are many ways to recover, but you have to pick one. When is enough really enough with addiction? Are you “sick and tired of being sick and tired” yet? Are you finally done with letting addiction control your life?

Well, If I can recover from both addiction and living with mental and behavioral disorders, then so can anyone!

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author & Recovery Advocate
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

 

LIFE With Mental Health Issues ~ “It’s Not Because I Don’t Want To, It Is Because My Agoraphobia Won’t Let Me”!!!

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Welcome All Visitors,

 

Today I wanted to share a little of my own mental/emotional health challenges thanks to seeing this image on a blog. But not just any blog. It’s a friend and new author, Rhonda Johnson’s blog. And her new book is now out.

 

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So her new book just released titled; Memoirs of an Addict, Fact or Fiction . . . Now available on Amazon Books. . .
http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Addict-Fact-Fiction-Johnson/dp/061577279X

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Now when I saw this chart above, it hit home for me of what I use to be, what I used to do myself due to my undiagnosed mental/emotional health issues besides just my gambling addiction. AND WHY?
Because I happen to be sent an email from one of my book promoting clients about a wonderful WordPress Event for those who are on, or who  use WP as their web or blog hosting site.
As far as I’m concerned, WordPress is the BEST hosting site to have a blog or website on.

So I read this email from my client, and it’s an all day Seminar/Workshop being help by WordPress, and top bloggers on WP currently, who will teaching all you need to know about WP. Everything about their services, dashboard, themes, and more! So I took a look at the email flyer and thought, this sure would be an awesome opportunity to learn all the in’s and outs of my hosting site. Then my bubble burst when I started thinking about how many people would be there, and it’s an all day event of workshops, a mixer one evening, and more.

Just thinking about all the people, I could feel an episode of fear of my disorder start to build, just like when I have an attack come on out of the blue from my Agoraphobia disorder I suffer from, and that I’m still in behavioral therapy for. And NO it’s not that I’m lazy and don’t want to go, but the huge fear and shame I have when an attack comes on while I’m out in public, and around many people I don’t know. It is SO debilitating, and makes me angry all at the same time. Yes, I’m working with a therapist to learn more tools and life skills, counseling , and take meds, but I’m not quite all there yet. Here is what and how Agoraphobia is bit different from  just regular panic disorder.

What Is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is an intense fear and anxiety of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone.

Causes:
The exact cause agoraphobia is unknown. Agoraphobia sometimes occurs when a person has had a panic attack and begins to fear situations that might lead to another panic attack.

Symptoms:
With agoraphobia, you avoid places or situations because you do not feel safe in public places. The fear is worse when the place is crowded.

Symptoms of agoraphobia include:

  • Being afraid of spending time alone
  • Being afraid of places where escape might be hard
  • Being afraid of losing control in a public place
  • Depending on others
  • Feeling detached or separated from others
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling that the body is not real
  • Feeling that the environment is not real
  • Having an unusual temper or agitation
  • Staying in the house for long periods of time

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Choking
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Nausea or other stomach distress
  • Racing heart
  • Short of breath
  • Sweating

Trembling

Treatment:
The goal of treatment is to help you feel and function better. The success of treatment usually depends in part on how severe the agoraphobia is.

Treatment approach combines cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with an antidepressant medication, which may include any of the following:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually the first choice of antidepressant.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another choice. Other antidepressants and some anti-seizure drugs may be used for more severe cases.
  • Other anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed. For example, your health care provider may recommend benzodiazepines when antidepressants do not help or before they take effect.

CBT involves 10 to 20 visits with a mental health professional over a number of weeks. CBT helps you change the thoughts that cause your condition. It may involve:

  • Understanding and controlling distorted feelings or views of stressful events or situations
  • Learning stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Relaxing, than imagining the things that cause the anxiety, working from the least fearful to the most fearful (called systematic desensitization and exposure therapy)

You may also be slowly exposed to the real-life situation that causes the fear to help you overcome it.  A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, enough rest, and good nutrition can also help be helpful.

Some persons with agoraphobia may:

  • Use alcohol or other drugs while trying to self-medicate
  • Be unable to function at work or in social situations
  • Feel isolated, lonely, depressed, or suicidal

Now I have had many,  but not all of the physical symptoms  when my disorder started in 2011. But, I went undiagnosed for years, just as I did the bipolar depression and PTSD. Yes, there are a lot of labels, but I can tell you that having these disorders can really disrupt many area’s of your life.  I remember one attack I had in early 2012 put me in the ER.

I woke up and felt this strange feelings come over me, and the pain and shortness of breath along with the trembling, I thought I was having a heart attack! My neighbor drove me to the ER and was there all day. They told my husband when he finally got to the hospital later that afternoon, that I had so much fear and pain? They had to give me 3 separate shots of morphine to get me calm and pain-free.

And yes, they did all sorts of tests, EKG, blood work and NOTHING. When my husband told the ER doctor some other symptoms and mental health issues, the doctor told him I may have had a severe panic attack. I feel that it could have come from a lot of the work, feelings, and overcoming fears in therapy, since I sought seeing a psychiatrist 6 months before this attack. And it is what my psychiatrist thought as well, so he added 2 more meds to what I was already on. Today, my attacks are not that severe, but I do still have them. So something must be working. And yes, I do not go out of my house sometimes for weeks at a time. But currently working on this very heavy with my new psychiatrist here in Arizona.

So, back to the Seminar by WordPress. I wish I could go, but I’m not quite there yet in treatment to chance it.  But I can tell you that I fight each day like hell to claim my life back from this awful mental health challenge! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. What I just want others to know about mental/emotional health problems, and those of us who suffer? Just because we may look alright, or look normal on the outer appearance? Doesn’t mean we are fully healthy in mind, body and spirit  . . . . “Lets Shatter Stigma Together”

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, Advocate and Book Promoter

“More of my Recovery Ramblings & Mental Health Journey~Is Fear still lingering”?

Hello Recovery Friends & New Visitors!

 

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Don't let the fear of failure stop you from doing what you were called to do! Kick FEAR to the curb and move on!

It has been awhile since my last rambling life session, and there has been a few things bothering me the last couple of days.

I have thought of my mom recently of her passing in 2003, and the legacy of bad behaviors she left behind. Now I’m not ‘mom or dad bashing at all, I’m sharing because I also been thinking of my dad as well. His 80th birthday is coming up at the end of this month, and it’s coming on almost 9 1/2 years since we have had any communication. I have been thinking of the FEAR around not making some form of effort or amends with him before he pass’s away. I have shared a little in the past about this subject, but it’s the FEAR that seems to be driving my thoughts about this.

Been thinking of my own life a lot to, and fear around how short of time I may have myself before I move on to the next realm. Which I hope is Heaven, but not one of us can say for sure if we will. Thanks to one of the Mental/Emotional disorders I battle,  Agoraphobia with Panic, my ‘fears” can be a little extraordinary Some of my fears are, “did I do enough in my lifetime to help others?  or did I even put a dent in, or leave a recovery foot print & some goodness here on this earth”? After all the devastation I caused to a lot of people within my addiction, the dependency on my husband due to my mental health disorders, and the daily challenges that comes with it, have I been working enough on the inside of myself personally, and within my recovery?

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I wonder this sometimes. My main mission in life was God-given, as I try to ‘walk by Faith not by Sight’ …
But even with having a strong faith in a power greater than myself,  my mind can trick me into feeling at times, Less Then”, which can be a litter ‘left overs’ of the disease of addiction. When I feel like I’m entering a danger zone?
I unpack that big box of tools I use in my recovery, and my box of life skills I’m still learning in my therapy. Yes, I’m back in therapy for a bit, as my psychiatrist thinks that damn PTSD from the  trauma I endured from my childhood has been back and bothering me again with the bad dreams.

So I ask myself, “when will this ever end”?  If I was to be able to look in the future, say 20 years ago, and someone said that this is where I’d be at 51? I’d have said there CRAZY! See, we just never know what is prepared for us in gods path.
So I have to believe, and to look at all I have been through, even to current, is a learning experience. It’s up to me to figure out what all this means. But when “FEAR” comes knocking, my mind is off and running again with doubt.
Why is that? I guess that is a question I’ll need to explore. Is it just me or can our life journey be that complicated?

I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that I need to reel this all in a bit. WHY?

Because it robs me of my peace, serenity, and makes me feel at times, unstable. That’s what fear can do. It makes us second guess ourselves. Now, maybe normal people can not think twice about it. But for a person who has mental/emotional distress, it’s challenging to ignore at times.
I do know that a little of those ‘uncomfortable feelings’ remind me of the worst part of my life, the past two suicide attempts I had. I’m sure that’s where some of the fear comes from as well …
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Alice 105.9's photo.
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So it’s why I come and write how I’m feeling. I have so many of you who come support me, and accept for me!
That means so much to me. It makes me know and feel that I’m not alone. I always get good feed back anytime I seem to have a little “bump in the road”! Have I told you all thank you for that lately?  Well, THANK YOU!
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When we use our blogs to share about Mental Health, Addiction Problems and Recovery, or even speak about how Childhood Trauma has affected us in the now,  it is the only way I know of to be able to shed light on these issues that touch millions of us everyday. Back to my dad. See my family don’t understand at all any of these important issues.
They treat me ‘different’. Hard to explain how, but they do. Don’t let others treat you different …
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It’s easier said then done. But if we speak up and speak out, it’s the only way to help SHATTER STIGMA, Raise Awareness, Inform, and help Educate others about these important issues. Yes, my mouth can get me in hot water at times, but when it comes to speaking out, Well, I do because IT’S WORTH IT!

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Much Happiness & Blessings All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

Recovery Is No Dog Walk In The Park~So Keep The Faith In Your HP!

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Friends,

 

I came across this photo the other day from one of my favorite blogs, “Cute Overload” as to get some animal humor when I have a rough, stressed, and long day. This little doggies face looks like the same as the week I had! LOL. (Photo Courtesy Of
http://cuteoverload.com/

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I’ve just had many recovery things on my mind, so I thought I would just empty them out of my head, and let the words fall on my keyboard. Thanks to all of my recovery friends here for being good listeners & readers. Having faith in our HP is the key to a successful! As he gives us a fresh new day to be gamble free, and have a new life in RECOVERY …


So
I went to church last night, because my hubby works today. And interesting enough, our pastor talked about having Hang-ups in life that cause pain in our lives. Why is it that when a topic is talked about, the lord makes you feel that it always pertains to your personal life be it past or present?

That is the spiritual power of awareness in recovery! Even in GA, where we celebrate non religious Unity & Fellowship, our Higher Power that we choose is always around us in those meetings. So our pastor talked also talked about how we need to learn to trust our lord by asking for a new life. Turn all the baggage, drama, hurt, and pains to him, and he will transform us into better human beings, blessed beyond measure when we truly ask for his forgiveness.

I had to do this myself for all that I had done wrong, not only in my life, but within my addiction. The people I hurt, hurting myself to the point of being Spiritually Broken.
At that time, deep in my gambling addiction, I could not do for myself what the lord could, and did in my life! We need to learn to trust him, and to believe that we all deserve a 2nd chance in life after the destruction of gambling addiction. It’s what he died for. He died so I can have awareness of my faults, wrongs, and character defects that gambling addiction shackled me with…

And we have to the work as well. That’s were a Sponsor is so important to us in attaining recovery too. They help guide us with our step work. You need to have a sponsor that is close by, not only available by phone. So you can meet together. A Sponsor can’t help you if you don’t answer your phone? If you’re in crisis, or relapse,… how are they to know why to find you if you hundreds of miles away? So find a good sponsor in your same community you live in.

One other area that for me was lacking in my GA meeting, because I lived at the time in a small community, and that was them conducting a “Pressure Relief group or meeting” by our trusted servants. They were not doing any. And many newbies need this to help with the stress and pressures of financial devastation that comes with addicted gambling. We need some sort of starting point to get our grip on our finances. So I ordered a couple of the packets used for this meeting and started them myself. The packets are a great tool to help get started on some financial relief.


So always remember that Spiritually your never alone as long as your aware of your HP. And we all know we need to turn all the baggage over to that power, and DON’T TAKE IT BACK!  We tend to do that as we start feeling good in early recovery. And just live each day,…. “Just For Today”… Tomorrow will be here soon enough, and yesterday is gone.

Another great tool is to journal. This is very helpful and how you can go back and see your growth from where you were, to where you are going in your recovery. You’ll be able to see and detect area’s you made need extra help or support.

 I still do this today. It’s also part of my mental health program I’m currently in with my psychiatrist. She says I’m still experiencing PTSD from my childhood that I’m not acknowledging which is contributing to my disorder of Agoraphobia. And the trauma of last year having to pack up our life and move here to Arizona so fast, that it too is having lasting effects. Go figure?

Just have faith in your Higher Power, and you won’t go wrong! …

God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485