Unfavorable

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The last shred of hope I had left just dissipated with that one word — unfavorable. The SSA might as well have handed me a death sentence. A death sentence is more humane. This poorly timed letter is nothing more than a slap in the face in an already stressful situation. I have 60 days to appeal again; but what’s the point? I’m tired of fighting for something that’s probably going to be taken away from each and every person receiving Social Security Disability Income in the United States anyway. I’m tired of fighting for something that wouldn’t allow me to fully financially support myself regardless of whether or not I received it. I’m tired of being ran through the mill to prove my illness, only to be told, “You’re not sick enough,” regardless of the fact that I “feel” worse than I did when I was actually receiving SSDI.

Every part of me is tired. I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.

Right now, I can see 4 choices, none of which are “good” options, each carrying great risk. At this moment, I don’t feel like I “deserve” any better. I feel like I don’t even deserve to live. It’s like I said before. No one believes me. And why should they? My mistake in leaving treatment in 2008 costed me my credibility, not that those of us with mental illnesses have a lot of that anyway; but now, I’m simply out of options. Stability isn’t something I can foresee in my future — financially or emotionally.

Heartbroken

On Tuesday night KR confirmed my suspicions that he has been having “flings” (his word, not mine) on the side.

After dinner, we stepped outside for a cigarette. KR asked, “Can I tell you something without it starting an argument?” Thinking to myself, “Yeah, that would be great,” since we really haven’t talked much lately, I simply said, “I’m tired of arguing with you, so yes.” He then proceeded to tell me that he had a fling about 4 years ago; and she recently contacted him to tell him she contracted an STD, trichomoniasis. (Red flag — 4 years ago?!)

At first, KR tried playing it off as something that if he has this STD, he (and “she”) probably got from me, another remnant from the rapes in ’98 or the promiscuous years that followed. The problem with that theory is when I was diagnosed with HPV (Human papillomavirus), a direct result of the second rape, the doctor tested me for everything. HPV was the only positive. Also, shortly after I moved in with KR, I had my GYN doctor test me again because I was worried that my ex-boyfriend might have given me something since he had been having an affair. Those tests were also negative, though I can’t be certain for which ones that doctor tested me.

All of this rapidly went through my mind Tuesday night as I tried to comprehend, then, process what he was telling me. I made these same points to him; yet he seemed unfazed, telling me that this STD is extremely hard to test for, going so far as saying it is really hard to diagnose trich in men and he would only get treated if I came up positive. When I called yesterday afternoon, the local health department told me that these were lies. It’s an easy test; yet unless there is an active infection, the test could be a false negative. The nurse I spoke with told me to urge KR to come in to be tested and treated as well.

At first, KR refused to tell me with whom he had this fling. He finally told me a name, whether or not it’s the truth, I can’t know for sure. Obviously, I can no longer trust him. I also asked him how many of these flings he’s had since we’ve been together. He wouldn’t give an exact number, only admitting to more than one.

I managed to remain calm during this entire discussion — never once raised my voice. After we came back inside, he asked, “So you’re not mad?,” I guess because I was so calm about it; but in reality, I think I was simply shut down mentally and emotionally. I replied, “I’m more hurt than mad; but yes, I am a little angry.”

NO. There’s no “little” about it. I feel positively livid deep inside — enraged by his lack of commitment — this infidelity that shows no loyalty to me whatsoever. I feel infuriated by his disrespect and fiercely bitter of his deceitfulness. I’m utterly disgusted to think of what all he has exposed me to — all while guilt-ing me into feeling like I was at fault for trying to cope with my past to the best of my ability. Yet, I am also hurt, humiliated, and disappointed in him for the very same reasons.

And I’m scared.

I’m scared because ALL of this is triggering the same insanity and fears that I struggled through with both rapes and the break-ups of both my marriage and my last relationship. I’m scared because it takes me back to that dark place….

My counselor was correct in stating this is a toxic relationship. It’s felt “toxic” for a while, now. I had no idea just how toxic until Tuesday night. KR endangered my life by exposing me to STD’s, an act of betrayal like no other. This is precisely the type of behavior typical of addicts. I recognize it as such because it’s that same careless attitude of indifference I experienced during the most dangerous phase of my own addiction, while working at the beer bar and dating PI. No excuses. I was as selfish back then as KR has been these past 4 years! He can’t love me because he’s too caught up in his sex addiction, let alone the drugs and alcohol he’s been using to numb his guilt.

Maybe, it’s Karma.

I suspected KR’s infidelity for most of the last 2 years. I “chalked it up” to irrational paranoia, caused by PTSD induced flashbacks, nightmares, and anxieties. Maybe, it was the other way around. Maybe, my gut instinct was telling me “something’s not right,” and the PTSD symptoms were triggered as a result rather than the cause. That compulsion to shower immediately following every time we had sex and my aversion to sex, in general, makes me wonder, now, just how powerful the subconscious really is.


 

My appointment at the local health department to be tested for STD’s was this morning which meant I had to face yet another fear — my fear of doctors.

I tossed and turned in bed from 10 pm until 6 am, barely drifting in and out of a restless sleep. I got up an hour earlier than planned exhausted. By the time I arrived for my appointment and the nurse checked my blood pressure, I was in such a panicked frenzy that my BP was 166/95! I was also on the verge of having a severe panic attack, gasping for every breath. The nurse was so sweet and kind. She tried to calm me prior to checking my BP again by saying, “Go to your happy place. Take a few deep breaths.” It lowered a little, 152/?, but still much higher than normal.

I am so glad the nurse practitioner I saw is female. I told her everything from why I was there today to everything about rehab and my mental healthcare to my past experiences including the rapes, HPV, and Lupus. I just kind of blurted everything out, unable to stop myself after I began. I apologized. TMI. She said, “No, no. It’s helpful to know.” Or something along those lines. I really liked her and felt comfortable in her presence. I’m so thankful for that.

She didn’t actually test for trich. She said that since I was exposed to it from a known infection, it was best to simply treat it with a megadose of the antibiotic metronidazole just to be on the safe side. After we talked for a while, the NP ordered blood work and a urine sample to test for Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia, as well as the thyroid panel to check on that issue. She postponed the Pap Smear for 2 weeks in order to give me a little more time to get used to the idea and hopefully less stressed out about it. That was very kind and understanding of her. That will also give the tests time to come back so she can discuss them with me.


For so, so long, I felt like I deserved all the bad stuff that happened to me, so worthless, like sex was all I was good for. Last night at IOP after telling the group about all of this, my counselor told me I deserve better. Do I? Do I really? I don’t know how to believe that, but I would like to. He spoke at great lengths about self-worth, asking each of us how we determine our self-worth. Honestly, I don’t know how to answer that right now. I just know that before I can figure it out I need to feel safe, and I no longer feel safe with KR.

And that breaks my heart.

Temptation

KR came home from work last Friday night (yeah, I’m a whole week behind here) after his usual run into town to the liquor store with a huge bottle of Jack Daniels, 1.75 liters, $48.50 later — my drink of choice. I told him, “You suck!,” half-joking, half-serious. He said, “What? It’s what I wanted.” He went on about how just because I went through rehab doesn’t mean I couldn’t have a couple of drinks if I wanted to, asking again, “So, what? Have you sworn off alcohol altogether?” I told him the weekend prior that I wanted to remain sober for as long as I possibly could, if not for the rest of my life. I meant it. I recognize that I do, indeed, have a problem with substance abuse even if he cannot.

From the time I began drinking alcohol at around the age of 19, each time span of total sobriety grew shorter and shorter as each period of time I binged on either drugs or alcohol grew longer and longer. The last year prior to rehab was one of the longest, most regular and routine bouts of substance abuse I’ve had. I know from experience my life was far more manageable during those sober periods.

I told KR he just doesn’t get it. If I have one drink, I want more and more to keep that high going. One drink easily turns into 6 to 8 or more! That is NOT how I want to live my life. I don’t want to feel sick and hung over or waste my time and energy or money on something that can have such a detrimental affect on both my physical and mental health, something to which KR seems oblivious.

But still a part of me desperately wanted all of it, just for that high, to be out of my mind, to forget for just one night. Prior to going to bed last Friday night, KR asked, “Are you sure you don’t want a shot to help you sleep?” <sigh> I resisted despite that craving to have just one shot, an urge so strong it made my mouth water. INSANE! Reading the note KR left me the following morning increased that urge 10-fold:

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So yeah, there’s that, too. Sex is such a huge issue between us that it has me questioning my sexuality, something I’ve questioned from time to time since like 5th grade; but that’s a post for another day (I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I am asexual or demisexual). I’m left feeling crazy, like I did prior to going into rehab. I understand, now, why they told us in rehab to change everything because I just waltzed right back into the same insanity I was trying to save myself from.

When KR finally woke up Sunday afternoon (a week ago), we went to Lowe’s. I happened to notice the odor of Jack Daniels on him while we walked around the store. Whiskey has a distinct odor. I even asked him if he had taken a shot before we left the house because it was so strong. He said he hadn’t. Thankfully, I drove us around to run our errands that day. We grabbed a bite to eat right after Lowe’s, prior to doing the grocery shopping. About an hour or so after we got back home, he told me he was going to go hang out with a couple of friends at a bar. KR still wasn’t home by the time I finally went to bed at 2:30 am. I have no idea what time it was when he finally came home. I just know when he came to bed, I woke up briefly due to him stumbling around, talking loudly to our cats, telling one to get out of his spot because he was too drunk to stand up.

He drove home in this state. 

He jeopardized the lives of others on the road by driving while intoxicated as well as his own, risking a DUI or worse, not to mention the fact that he went into work on Monday with a hangover! This past Friday night, he came home with two bottles of Tequila. Tonight, he’s back out at a bar with friends. His behavior is out of control. There’s no way for KR to see how insane all of this is until there are consequences that actually affect his life, his attitude, or his health. I’m scared for him. I’m scared for me, too.

The denial is strong in this one.

Regardless of the fact that KR grew up with an alcoholic father and step-mother, he just can’t see it. And I think that is the most baffling part of all to me. I’m lost in the irony of it all. A few months ago during an argument, KR said to me, “I’m just going to become a drunk.” As if that was his solution to all the relationship problems we are going through (not just he or me, WE). He obviously meant it. Before I went into rehab, KR asked me, “You don’t expect me to quit drinking do you?” I had to answer “no” because unless he quits drinking alcohol of his own volition he would only grow to resent me for telling him to quit.

Today marks 60 days sober for me. I’ve had no urges or cravings to drink this weekend despite alcohol being present. IOP group has been cancelled for next week due to the counselor being out-of-town, so I kind of feel like I’m in limbo right now. I have plenty of things I could be doing, just nothing that holds my interest for very long. One day at a time, right?

Back Up, Re-group

The AA group had already ran over time, past that one hour mark that usually concludes such meetings. Maybe I should have simply declined the invitation to share given that fact. I’m not exactly comfortable speaking in front of people I know well, let alone those I’ve only met for the first time. Yet, I felt compelled to share a bit of the how and why I ended up at this AA meeting since asked. Abruptly, in mid-sentence, I was cut off, asked, “But why are you here today?” Feeling rejected and a little confused, I don’t even remember how I responded, just that the meeting ended shortly thereafter with the Lord’s Prayer, polite goodbyes, and a foggy sense that I really needed to get out of there. My next moment of clarity came with the realization that I was already about half-way home and every part of me was pissed-the-fuck-off. It’s rare we’re all in agreement. Back-tracking a bit, I filled in the gaps, nothing dramatic, just the usual BS.

Today, I made a decision. No more Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I’m done with it. After 50 days of internal conflict over this program, I’m saying, “No more. I’m done.” It’s neither where I need to be, nor does it reflect my beliefs. Recovery is as much an individual process as finding one’s spiritual path, one that does not require combining the two or subjecting myself to biases that are irrelevant to my life. I also have a problem with anyone sowing a seed of doubt in my already frail sense of self (something I’ve worked very hard to begin rebuilding after years of what feels like a shattered existence). That small amount of faith in myself is precisely what has allowed me to survive as long as I have. I’m ultimately rejecting AA for a great many reasons, the ones listed above and in my previous post being the most fundamental reasons. No amount of social support is worth betraying who I am as a person or the self-acceptance to choose what is best for me. And AA just isn’t it.

Update: I realized after I posted this, there is something else I need to say about my experience at today’s AA meeting. My solution to the mental health issues and addiction problems that I face is to talk openly and freely about my past with whomever will compassionately listen. I hung my head in shame for 17 years due to self-blame and religious persecution from “well meaning” Christians who judged me and criticized my life and my choices. For 17 years I kept everything bottled up inside of me without a voice to express my deepest pain. No one believed I was raped. No one believed that the baby I carried for 9 months was a product of that second rape 4 months later. I learned to shut up after the first rape. I learned never to trust again after the second. I’m only now starting to release that pain, and I truly believe that the only freedom I will ever have from it will be in finding my voice again and talking about my past as often as necessary until I purge it from my system. So forgive me if my solution is not suitable for your little club. I was searching for a place to fit in when I found AA, and I will continue searching until I find a place that accepts me for me!