Emo

So, I was inspired by the voice of my friend in my head, yes I hear voices sometimes, telling me that I sound like an emo. Weird right?  Then I thought about my last blog post.  Homer was right.  It was kind of depressing.  Have I now become that person?  Shit.  Am I the annoying person always crying about something?  When did that happen?  I never considered myself a whiner.  I was a do-er.  Have I been sitting on my ass on just whining and not even trying?  I did.  I really, really, did try.  I’m sitting here trying to remember how far back this goes.  How long have I been depressed?  How long have I been stuck?  I don’t even know.  Now I have the motivation back.  When did that happen? It wasn’t all of the sudden.

Things aren’t as hard as they used to be. I’m not constantly down about my shitty position at the moment.  I’m going to work hard and prove to myself that I am capable of functioning ….that’s it.  I was looking for the rest of that sentence in my head…but there isn’t any. I have to prove I can just function.  Get out of bed and work every day.  I guess I was that bad at one point.  If I wasn’t depressed and didn’t have my kids I was mostly likely drinking somewhere.

I am really trying to stay positive people. But I am in the first 90 days of sobriety and it’s no picnic.  It is unbelievably hard.  I just got invited to happy hour by my friend Amber and sat staring at the phone trying to decide my answer.  Habit was to send an ok.  Then I stopped and didn’t hit send.  Should I say yes?  I’m not supposed to be drinking.  I want to say yes.  I really fuckin want to say yes.  I want to drink and walk around town square laughing at other people like an asshole and have fun.  But then I feel like shit when I’m sober.  Because I don’t to want be that asshole anymore.  I guess I kind of did turn into that annoying emo person of the group but it’s better than the previous versions of me.  The next one is coming on.  I’m soon to be the super annoying always think positive one that quotes those damn affirmations all the time.  I’m totally becoming that person too.  But I’m ok with that.  This version will be followed by one even better and then a better one I hope.

This must be what growing up must be like. Will I finally be strong enough to pull it together and stay focused and sober for a month in LA?  I’m growing insane imagining scenarios of me with my family members in LA.  Which one is going to either piss me off or annoy me first by some off handed comment or dig?  Why am I even assuming that it’s going to be a negative encounter? Because it’s the Miranda women.  Sidenote:  The “Miranda” women are women from my mom’s side – my grandmother and her 7 daughters including my mom of course and their daughters.  There’s always someone not getting along with someone else for who-knows-what.  It was habit to get edgy and on the defensive around them.  Or is that just me?  No – it’s not.  The Miranda women are notorious for being difficult and stubborn.

I don’t want to assume the worst, though. I’m fuckin nervous about my first encounter with each one of them.  I hate the open ended “So what have you been up to?” or “How have you been?”  No simple one-word- answer questions.  No open with a difficult one.  Shit….um I can’t say, “Being a drunk because I feel like a total failure.”  What a buzzkill, right?  Gotta go with the vague, “You know, same old thing.”

I can’t stand the questions that grandma hits me with, “So are you working?” “Do you have a boyfriend?”  I’ll avoid her as much as possible.  I don’t want her asking if I have been going to church.  Ha!  I haven’t gone to church in like 20 years.  I kinda figured everyone just quit doing that.  But she’s old fashioned.  Good for her.  Gotta keep up them old fashioned values.  Her judge-y catholic guilt crap is the best.  No thank you.  I have enough guilt without your help.  Bi-polar here – depressed enough.  Thank you for the help though.  Much appreciated but I have enough from my parents leaving to Paris when I started chemo.  They have it covered.  We all know that makes a child feel important . “Take a trip while I suffer from a life-threatening illness and start the only thing that might keep me from dying. I got this.  Go have fun.  Bring me a souvenir.  It’s ok.  No, no.  I’m over it now.  It’s only taken 15 years, hundreds of hours of therapy and a lot of whiskey to do that but I think I’m finally ready to stop being a whiner.”

It wasn’t only that one incident that caused me to be such an emotional wreck though.  What was I supposed to do?  “I’m just going put all the fucked up shit in an little box and put it next to that fucked up shit and save that for later in life.”  Just when you think you’re about to succeed at something – bam that’s when the new fucked up shit comes.  All dressed up in a pretty little box.  You think is a present.  Don’t open the box.  That’s how it happens.  You never see it coming.  Or you somehow block it out.  All those signs that you going the wrong direction. Were they always there?  Well fuck I sure missed them.  Or maybe I was just drunk. One of the two.  I’m going to be positively annoying and assume that the first encounter with my family is going to great and we’ll toast to mental health awareness.  

Where there’s a will there’s a way

The impossible can never be achieved or it would be possible. It is an oxymoron to achieve the impossible.  I prefer the saying – Where there’s a will there’s a way.  My dad used to say things like that all the time.  I called them Bobisms.  My Dad (Bob) is the head of the family.  Most holidays are hosted by my parents where my aunts and uncle in Socal usually attend.  I used to schlep my kids from Vegas for some holidays.  My mom hates hosting but she loves it at the same time.  I always got stuck in the kitchen helping her.  I used to complain about it because I remember that my sister rarely helped.  But I rarely complained out loud.  Mostly in my head.  I wonder how long I’ve been having conversations with myself.  Is this normal? Is it really just high anxiety?  I was afraid to even admit to the psychiatrist that I was hearing things.  When I admitted it the first time I was told it was due to high anxiety and given Paxil and Abilify.  I think I quit taking the pills after a short while because they weren’t working.  I didn’t even admit that I heard things to the next two doctors.  I tried a bunch of different anti-depressants.  I tried increasing dosages of anxiety meds and then different anxiety meds.  I went to at least another couple of shrinks over the years until finally one of them said I was showing signs of being bi-polar and prescribed Serequel.  I don’t even remember which psychiatrist – that’s how many I’ve been to. Where there’s a will there’s a way. I truly wanted to be better than I was.  I knew even then that something was wrong with me.  I went to Doctor after Doctor. I tried pill after pill.  Then Serequel worked.  It hits you like a fuckin truck at night but it worked on me.  It stabilized my mood swings and I wasn’t hearing things anymore.  Later, my medication was changed to Latuda which I have to take in conjunction with a mood stabilizer called Depacote.

Bi-polar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain that can only be treated with medication and therapy. The medication itself is not enough.  I must learn better coping skills and apply them when I am triggered or in emotional distress.  I also had to learn radical acceptance.  It is what it is.  Another Bobism.  He used that one often.  Anyone that has not been to therapy – I strongly recommend it.  I knew I was fucked up but I had no idea how deep my scars were until I was in this outpatient therapy program.  There is an actual curriculum.  They educate you on your illness, teach coping skills, help you see how your core beliefs about yourself can be completely wrong.  There is evidence against our negative view of ourselves – we just have to retrain the brain. Where there’s a will there’s a way. We have to learn to counter each negative with a positive.  First, I had to admit that I was fucked up in some way.  Most people can’t do this.  I know it’s hard.  It’s much easier to do what I have done for my entire adulthood.  Throw myself into work or booze and drugs to not face my issues.  I can’t just get over it as my bitchy little sister so eloquently told me.  Bi-polar disorder is a flaw in chemistry in the brain.  There are studies that show that bi-polar disorder is genetic.  This wouldn’t surprise me.  Not one bit.  You guys haven’t met my mother and my aunts.

Staying on meds was the only way to keep things under control. In earlier years, after a while, I’d just get lazy and forget or feel better and think I’m cured. No, it doesn’t work that way Tash So I fucked up by not listening to doctors earlier on.  Apparently, recreational drugs and alcohol prevent your meds from working properly.  Who knew? I also apparently have selective hearing.  What an asshole right?  Accept responsibility Tasha.  Well I do.  I accept full responsibility for not doing what I was prescribed to do.  Partying felt better.  I’d done it for a long time. It started with my aunts and my mom.  Picture that…. Here’s the straw auntie its your turn. Isn’t that a great learned behavior? No.  I now take my meds daily as prescribed and I am 17 days sober.  Which isn’t long but where there’s a will there’s a way.

So here I am. Current situation: Over $3000 in warrants, suspended driver’s license, no car and I live in a weekly hotel. My roommates are a married lesbian couple and their 18-year-old gay son Tre D.  Yes.  I live in a house of homosexuals.  Both of my roommates’ sons are gay; however, one lives in Cali with his dad.  (Tee jokingly claims to have a tainted womb that produces only homosexuals.)  Tre’s room is literally our living room.  He sleeps on the couch and goes to bed at like 630 like a grandpa.  Turns off all the lights too! No bullshit. I spend most of my time in my room.  Which is another reason I figured writing was a good outlet for me.  This house is comical and provides a lot of inspiration.  Tee is my best friend.  I met her in the mental hospital.  She suffers from Bi-polar disorder, Borderline personality disorder, anxiety and anger issues.  She has the greatest stories of the many ass whippings she’s handed out.  She literally had her wife take the stroller of this woman that she proceeded to pound into the pavement.  That’s my bestie.  In her defense, she has gotten into zero fights since we started outpatient therapy and is staying on her meds and doing fabulous.  I have bi-polar disorder, social anxiety at times and PTSD.  Her wife Dee is my other roommate.  Dee is intelligent and chill and is also bi-polar.  Thank goodness she is chill because she has a house with two other bi-polar women.

How did I get here? Shit I ask myself the same damn question. That’s a blog for another day.  You can only dwell on the past so much.  The better question is how do I change it?  You have to change the situation if you are unhappy.  You can sit and mope about how shitty it is or make a plan and change it.  I’m great at the planning portion.  Even the doing part…..for a while.  My follow through is not the greatest.  I’m not sure if that’s a self-esteem issue or not.  I am working on it though.  My goals are to pay off my warrants for traffic citations, then get my driver’s license reinstated and save for a car.  That will make it easier to see my kids.  Everything is for those girls.  That is all I focus on now.  I didn’t like rock bottom and I don’t want to ever be there again.  I want to be the kind of person my daughters can look up to.  Have I stopped being that person?  Because I spent 3 years falling to rock bottom?  Can I really achieve my goals?  I have to.  There is no other option. Where there’s a will there’s a way. How about that for a learned behavior?

Why do I do this to myself?

(names of the men have been changed or omitted)

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I look for love in all the wrong places? Strike that-I know why.  My feeling of inadequacy stems from a cold and distant relationship with my teenage mother that left me starving for affection and intimacy of any sort, no matter how fleeting.  That’s how I saw it anyway.  Through my journey of self- realization, I know and understand that love comes from within.  You must love yourself in order for others to love you; however, it is not as easy as it sounds.  You must first like yourself.  Which I did not…..

My ex husband

I spent years feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage where my husband cheated on me repeatedly while suffering through my verbal abuse where I never held back my hatred for him. How we managed to have some great family moments in there is beyond me.  For the sake of our gorgeous daughters we somehow toughed through almost a decade – managing to hide as much of the fighting as possible.  In retrospect, my ex-husband was a champ.  I was a beast of a bitch when I wanted to be and didn’t make it easy.  Good financial standing with a two-income household helped.  We wanted for nothing and each had our ways of coping with our misery.  In the middle of it all I didn’t even know how miserable I really was.  I just thought this was life…some parts were shitty other parts were better.

Then I snapped. I snapped and came after my ex-husband with a knife.  Apparently, this is called a psychotic break.  I remember nothing of the event.  Just the knife marks in my bedroom door.  We’re talking Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  What-the-fuck?  Who does that? Me evidently.  Life has never been the same.  I think we stayed together a short while longer where I spent any time he was at home with my nose in a book, ignoring him and tending to our youngest daughter who was an infant at that point.  Then, one day, I called my in-laws to take the baby and just walked into the ER and confessed that I wanted to die.  I was immediately placed on a 72 hour hold and admitted.  This was the first of my few inpatient hospitalizations.

Fast forward.  (For those that are over 30 you understand what that means) I eventually went back to work and seemed stable when the divorce got finalized. I was on and off meds for depression and anxiety, never taking them as prescribed or staying on them.  I either felt like I was better or that they weren’t helping at all.  I was later on  diagnosed with bi-polar disorder – which explained why the meds I was on weren’t working.  I started new meds that hit me like a truck at night.  You could run me over with a car and I wouldn’t move.

Then I got laid off and things got worse. I got evicted from the 3-bedroom house that I lived in with my kids and had to let go of 80% of my material possessions.  There is no feeling shittier than standing on the curb in front of your home as the sheriff locks you out.  I’ll never forget feeling like a failure.  I moved into my friend’s house with my daughters.  That took a turn for the worst when her drunk son was caught trying to climb into my bed while I was passed out on my meds.  I was completely non-responsive.  I guess her daughter in law even pulled me by the hair out of bed.  I remember very little of this night.  I just know I had to move.  And I had these 2 little girls to think of.  Shortly after I gave primary physical custody to their father.

John

This was the beginning of my spiral down to rock bottom. My kids kept me focused and grounded.  I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Idle hands and such.  I moved in with a (so-called) friend and paid $400 a month in cash for my room plus loaded the fridge with $500 month in groceries, cooked and cleaned.  Things were fine for a while.  I was like a cat…lounging and working from my laptop at home; in pajamas till 3pm.  I had recently completed a fast-track Event Management Certification and was working some pretty cool events.  I even got floor seats for my older daughter and parents to the Iheart Music Festival here in Vegas.

Of course, I slept with my roommate. Cuz that’s what I do.  Take intimacy (which I know is not love) anywhere it comes from just to fill that void.  That constant need for someone to love me or feel loved turned into promiscuity.  My little girls weren’t there to hug and kiss me every day.  I craved closeness with anyone.  I used sex as a substitute.  As temporary as it was, it was, for a few moments, intimacy.  Well after receiving a birthday gift of custom made earrings from my roommate, he kicked me out – literally the very next weekend.  To this day, I wonder why it was so abrupt.  Like “Get out today.”  I had to call a police escort to get my meds, clothes and laptop till I could move the rest.

So, there I was stuck. FUCK! What do I do? I combed craigslist ads for people looking for a roommate in hopes that I got lucky.  My friend Anna was kind enough to let me crash in an extra bedroom temporarily.  Within 6 days I found a “Real World” style house. Six rooms and six strangers that all just pay the owner of the house $600 a month including utilities and a maid for the common areas.  Included were a bunch of cool games – shuffle board, air hockey, ski ball, indoor basketball game, 2 big screens, pool, outdoor fire pit and BBQ.  Perfect.  They accepted me and I moved in.  Yay.  Now I’m good to go.  No worrying about roommates kicking me out.  I pay directly to the owner of the house.

Then I decided to get a tattoo….

Chris

Talk about the wrong turn of all wrong turns in life. Again, why do I do this to myself? So here I am with this great setup, cool roommates, and I decide that it’s time to get my shoulder tattoo covered up. I got it at the age of 16 and it was horribly faded.  I go get it outlined and think nothing of this dirt-bag with some shitty tattoos of his own.  He tells me I have to come back for the color which I do.  I don’t know if I was in a good mood that day or he was just a good conversationalist but we seemed to hit it off.  We text all day and night.  Then some friends of mine wanted some blow. (Remember people – this is Vegas.  People aren’t shy about asking for drugs or talking about them.)  Chris just so happens to have the hook up and I’m on the road with a friend back to his place to buy it.

Let me back up and tell you that he lived in the scummiest weekly hotel in Vegas. At the time, I was unaware that people actually live long term in these places as their actual homes.  Not temporarily.  They can only afford week to week and can’t get approved for actual apartments or houses.  Growing up the way I did I never had to experience this so I was naïve to it all.  I was slightly put off going there to get my tattoo work done but I had already had the outline done at his friend’s house and decided to let him finish.

I can’t explain why, after 2 months of knowing this loser of all losers, who fed me a crapload of BS that I ate up with an extra-large spoon, I moved into his crappy weekly apartment. With all of my furniture and clothing. Why do I do this to myself? My lame need for love no matter where its coming from.  This is what not loving yourself can do.  I clearly hadn’t realized my own value as a person and looked to others for validation.  Not a good move.  The next few months were a blur of drugs, sex, psychosis, hearing voices, not being able to distinguish reality from my mind, clearly not on my meds and with very little contact with my kids.  This was one of the darkest times in my life that I only recently have forgiven myself for.  Chris was very abusive – but that’s a story for another time.  I ended up homeless with a bag of clothes on a bus to Los Angeles.  A dear friend from high school picked me up at 4am at the bus stop.  They had an empty room for a month that I could crash in while I tried to get it together.  I reached out to my parents who would not take me in.

Mike

So, after bouncing around family members houses in LA for a month…I went back to Vegas – and moved in with a guy. A 26 year old guy.  I’m 36 at the time.  Why do I do this to myself?  That one is easy.  I was homeless.  I was scared.  I was desperate. There is no other explanation.  We both knew that from the jump.  I managed to stay with him for 3 months before walking out.  With only 3 things – cell phone, ID and social security card.  I walked and walked for hours pointed towards a hilltop.  I had no idea what I was going to do. I called an old friend. He picked me up.

Brian

My friend brought me to a bar where he and his friend were drinking when I called. That night I ended up moving in with his friend as a roommate and continued with my therapy.  I told his friend that I DID NOT want to have sex with him and that it ALWAYS ruins things.  I tried my best not to be attracted to Brian.  But in the end, what did I do? I slept with him anyways. Why do I do this to myself? Well that answer is evident by now.  I got sucked into a whirlwind romance with that man and actually thought he was my happy ending.  Everything became about him. About keeping his house, his business and bills up and I lost myself in the process.  I didn’t even realize that everything I had worked so hard for in my latest, more structured outpatient therapy program, was lost on this man.  His needs being met became my focus.  I wasn’t getting paid to work for him or clean his Air BB.  I was promised 30% of the Air BB earnings which he never made good on.

Five months later, he wants out and I am miserable trying to do anything to make him want me as much as I want him. One day Tami, my dear friend, shot herself in the head.  The very next day he broke up with me (again) and I lost it.  I was sitting with a glock loaded and cocked debating whether or not to shoot myself.  Instead I checked myself into the hospital.  I received medication and got released from the hospital with nowhere to live except with three men, 2 of whom use drugs.  This kind soul, Tee, who I consider my family now, took me in.  Weeks into therapy, I have learned to forgive myself and love myself and not need the validation of others, for I am a beautiful soul that has lived and learned.

My Hippy

I met this hippy guy who within 5 days wanted a relationship. I agreed. Why do I do this to myself? I don’t anymore.  We ended it a couple days later.  I am learning to stand alone and be comfortable in my own skin.  All that I need is to love myself, my daughters and my family.  All else will fall into place. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

This time around I have learned to value myself and my inner peace.  I have learned to love myself.  Being mentally ill is harder than you can imagine.  Our self-esteem and core belief system about ourselves is a direct result of our formative years and experiences in our lives.  You’ve all heard this phycho babble right?  How about this?  Dialectical thinking?  Some else’s truth can be different from yours and also be true.  Have more compassion for those things you do not understand.  Someone may have not learned to love themselves yet….