Blogging and Mental Health

I have been considering and reconsidering and considering again how I want to go about this and whether or not I want to go about it at all. But the reality is that I I need it. My mental health requires that I blog. That is to say that my mental and emotional health, which I know is a bit tenuous, would benefit from making public the musings and such that I am wont to do privately. And I don’t know how to justify or explain this. What I do know is that somewhere in my distant past, maybe 15 years ago, I did have a blog, now deleted, where I did process some of my personal experiences, and it did do me some good.

The reality is that I am now in a position where, for reasons I may discuss at another time, I have been cut off from my mental health support, my professional providers, that is, and I need another outlet. I am foundering (not floundering–I dislike when people misuse or mix up those terms). But my mental health and advocating for my mental health is my responsibility. And since I am in the position that my therapist will no longer see me, thanks to my trifling sister-in-law, I am setting up structures to care for my own mental and emotional health in the ways that I know how as best as I am able. This blog, then, is part of that scaffolding that I am putting in place to provide mental health support for myself. I don’t know how to explain to you exactly HOW this works, only that it has been my experience that it does work.

Here’s the rub: blogging is, of course, public and it requires the naming of names, the telling of my own story. In short, you can expect that I will, among other things, be using this as a space to “speak my own truth,” as some might call it. Others may term it “naming and shaming” others. The stark reality is that I have spent a shit ton of energy in my 46 years covering for others and not telling my own story. I think that this has merely served to compound my trauma. I’d like to be able to “speak my truth” to a therapist, but she recently abandoned me. Because of my various issues, Complex/ Complicated-PTSD being one of them, I admittedly have difficulty with opening up to others. But writing is one way that I am comfortable with being open and vulnerable, and it certainly is a useful tool for processing. And making it public is honestly very, very liberating.

I do realize that there is something potentially problematic about making my issues public and putting it all on the internet. Maybe I am violating boundaries by naming names, although I’ll point out that I’ve not done so. Yet. But I have the right to tell my own story and to seek healing for my emotional and even physical trauma. And believe me, the emotional trauma does manifest physically. I live with the physical pain every day. But the writer Anne Lamott has famously said that we all own our lives and the events of our lives, we are entitled to tell our own stories: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your own stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”

So starting today, right now, I am standing up and taking responsibility for my own mental health and wellbeing by telling my own story. And this means that to everyone who has abused me and walked all over me, I may be putting you on blast. Live with it. But it’s a new day for me. Also, my identity is in Christ now. There’s nothing worse you can say about me than the reality that I am a sinner, but there’s nothing more beautiful about me than the reality that I am saved by grace.

The Time I Overdosed on Ambien

That title sounds a bit dramatic, I know, so let me begin by defining “overdose.” An overdose may be defined as simply taking too much of a controlled substance or taking a dangerous amount of a drug. And I did. Inadvertently. Shall I begin the narrative at the beginning?

Just over nine years ago, I briefly dated an ER doctor who I quickly became very much attached to emotionally. He was a real jerk. We shall call him Doc Comis. I have suffered from chronic insomnia all my life, and he convinced me that Ambien would solve my problems, insomnia and other problems. So he prescribed Ambien for me. In retrospect, it seems ethically iffy to prescribe a controlled substance for someone with whom you are having a relationship. What I find to be way worse, however, is that he, as a doctor, prescribed this dangerous drug, knowing full well the risks, and offered no oversight at all, as you shall see, dear reader.

Doc Comis was, to put it politely, a real piece of work. I can now say definitively that he was emotionally abusive. And that is something that needs unpacking another time. But after prescribing me a full month’s worth of Ambien plus refills, Doc Comis just ghosted me. And that sent me into an emotional tailspin, as you might well imagine. My insomnia worsened as I fell off the emotional cliff edge. And one night I accidentally overdosed. I have little memory of the actual event. Here’s what I know.

I got my prescription from good ol’ Doc Comis refilled, so I had a full bottle. And here’s a pertinent piece of information: I live alone. I could feel insomnia chasing me, so I took a single pill before bed. I was unable to sleep, so I took a second, per the instructions on the bottle. When I got up the next morning, having slept much later the usual and especially groggy, I found that the bottle of Ambien which should have been nearly full, as I’d just picked up a new refill, was almost empty. Sitting next to it was a half drunk bottle of vodka.

I was terrified and shocked. I had only a vague, dream-like memory of getting up at night to take more pills and drink vodka. And I wasn’t trying to harm myself in any way. I had this sensation of being unable to relax and rest, so I was just trying to medicate and get to sleep. Although I readily admit that I have suffered from so-called chronic suicidality for years, I truly was just trying to get rest. And my memories of those events are so very vague. I’m certain I was sleepwalking or something akin thereto.

I got rid of both the Ambien and the vodka immediately, and I haven’t taken Ambien since. I should have dropped Doc Comis immediately as well. It took a bit longer to completely get rid of that jackhole. He messed me up way worse than an Ambien overdose ever could.

I Will Not Be Silenced

I don’t know where I want to begin all this. This particular blog has exited for years in various forms. And has been deleted and reformed. And so we begin again. Only this time I think I need to say all the things that have remained unsaid for years and decades. I feel as though so many have silenced me through various means throughout my life, and I will not remain silent for any longer. I just cannot do it. I will not do it.

I have thoughts about books and pop culture. I have opinions about politics. I do actually hold to theological positions, which even taking a stand on such things is offensive to some, given my sex. And for as long as I can remember, I have been silenced, usually implicitly but definitely effectively. But my trauma is the big thing that I’ve just not spoken.

I am unwilling to simply yield my voice any longer. And I know that there are some who will not like this. Partly because they don’t want their day of reckoning to come. I don’t need to name names for you to know who you are, you who have abused me and taken advantage of me, then forced me not to speak of it. And some of you would rather I didn’t talk simply because it makes you uncomfortable, so consider this your trigger warning.

If you know me “in real life” (and honestly, what does that designation even mean anymore?) I recommend that you don’t read any further. It likely won’t do any of us any good.

DISCLAIMER: This blog represents the thoughts, memories, and impressions of just one person. I do not claim to be representing absolute truth but rather my own thoughts about my memories as I recall them. I am certain that other parties would have other and very different memories. This is my place to process. If you don’t like what I have to say, you are welcome to exit now.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. In other words, don’t let the Muggles get you down!