Monday, July 30, 2012

No such thing as 'rock bottom'

Editor's note: Last Monday, my husband celebrated his sixth sober birthday. In the time it has taken him to adjust to life as a sober man dealing with bipolar disorder, I've slowly adjusted to being the wife of a recovering alcoholic who has bipolar mania. This is the third in a series of posts about how I came to find peace in the chaotic roller coaster of life. The first and second can be found here and here.

                                                                      * * *
I'm an opinionated girl, not afraid to tell things like I see them.

That's exactly what happened the day the doctor called me at work and said, "I'm really worried about your husband."

Truth be told, I was worried, too. Not so much about him. I was worried about the mental health care he was getting from a general practitioner. In the four times he had visited her office, she had made drastic adjustments to his medications and then didn't insist on a follow-up appointment. (*Note: You wouldn't go to a proctologist for a sinus infection, and you shouldn't let a general practitioner prescribe Prozac. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with a mental health care issue, it is imperative that you/they receive care from a knowledgeable licensed mental health professional. )

And I told her how I felt about the care he was receiving.

She needlessly responded by removing my husband and I from control of the situation, an action that left us completely helpless for a total of 22 hours and 13 minutes. That's when the psychiatrist took a long look at my husband's chart and said he didn't understand why my husband was there.


Despite what I said in last Thursday's post, I'm quite comfortable in admitting I blame her mistakes for the extra expense and anguish my family endured.

The experience gave me my first real glimpse at what being a victim was all about. 

And, boy, did it suck.

My husband is OK. (He was then, too, but she wouldn't believe him.) We look back at the incident now, and sometimes we laugh at how ridiculous the whole story sounds.

But it took a long time for me to become comfortable enough to laugh about it. For months afterward, I felt nothing but rage when I thought about it.

I absolutely hated that doctor. My hate for her turned into a distrust of all doctors. My distrust for doctors disrupted the views I had for my extended family because they were all part of the medical profession that had failed my family.

My hate absorbed me, caused a domino effect in my life. The anger cluttered my brain. I couldn't couldn't concentrate, and I couldn't find the luxury of a complete thought.

Worst of all...I couldn't write.

All I could do was stare at a blank page.  And curse.

Before long, I started doubting my ability to live up "my" expectations.

I thought I'd hit absolute bottom when I spent a full day crying several months earlier. This experience taught me that there is no such thing as "rock bottom." Life's challenges can -- and often do -- get harder as we get older.

But how we deal with those challenges makes the difference in whether or not we will become survivors.

Coming up on Thursday: Who we see in the mirror is a matter of perception.

In the meantime, talk to me. Leave a comment below. Tweet at me. Find me on Facebook. Or send me an email and tell me: Do you have anger that you've held onto for a long time? In what ways do you think it's affecting your life?

No comments: