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Bipolar and Addiction.

  • Thread starter bipolarandaddicted
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bipolarandaddicted

New member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
2
Location
London
Hi all, new to all of this but i thought i would share my story in the hope that anybody could offer any kind of advice or relate.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to send this during mental health awareness week because I was in rehab. Despite this, I didn’t miss out because for me and many others, mental health awareness week is every week and one out of 52 doesn’t quite cut the extremity of this crisis. I understand that my story may be shocking and upsetting to some but I refuse to spend even one more minute being silenced and shamed for a problem that we as a society simply do not know how to address.

I have been struggling with a very public and humiliating battle against addiction for the past 10 years and naturally, as the years went on, so did the transition from being a functioning to non-functioning alcoholic. My functioning days saw times of university degrees, great relationships and hope. My non-functioning days saw periods of hospitalisation due to suicide attempts, shockingly high-risk behaviour in all areas, and complete and utter self-destruction. The majority of my using at this time was done alone because my behaviour was too dysfunctional for company. For perspective, an example of my substance intake for the past 6 months would be 30 units of alcohol and a gram of cocaine (£600 a week) a day on top of the antipsychotics and antidepressants I take daily for bipolar (type 1). I became physically and mentally addicted to all of these drugs.

The day that saved my life came along when I woke up recently after a couple of months of sleeping on a friends sofa bed and realised I had lost everything. This included my friends, family, job, savings, health, sanity etc. For me, this was rock bottom. The moment I realised it was all over.

During one of my hospitalisations, a doctor essentially told me my organs were about to start shutting if something didn’t change drastically. This was 2 years before I stopped drinking. Nothing would stop the burning hunger that my brain constantly craved for alcohol. Not even death was enough to scare me into stopping. As I left he handed me a leaflet for a local rehabilitation centre. It was 2 years later, after hitting rock bottom, that this leaflet resurfaced when I finally excepted the opportunity to begin the journey of recovery.

For the past few years, addiction has not only ruined my life but it has ruined the lives of those who love and care about me. Fortunately, I have been able to rebuild relationships and pay off debts however this illness has caused some more permanent damage that is beyond repair. An example of this includes the grim reality that alcohol has potentially corroded the lining of my bladder. It has also potentially caused me minor brain damage located in the part of my brain which controls memory (due to excessive drinking without eating) but despite this, given the state of my condition, I am just happy to have gotten out alive. It is still INCREDIBLY early days for me but for the first time in my life I can confidently say that I will never touch a drink again. Everyday is a struggle and I am by NO means under any kind of illusion that my journey will be easy. I have had to accept that I will spend of the rest of my life in recovery.

I have decided to share my story /journey because (in my opinion) addiction has a ridiculous stigma attached to it and people must start realising that it DOES NOT fit a certain stereotype and has NO face. I feel incredibly lucky to be living in a time where I can confidently discuss my anxiety, depression or even my bipolar but I am still so ashamed to talk about addiction because I know first hand that it makes people VERY uncomfortable. This only encourages us to suffer in silence, become secretive and often dishonest. We are ALL suffering and battling with our minds so why is this still different.

This is not a life anybody would choose for themselves, trust me. I’ve made some unspeakably awful choices in my life but I did not choose to be an addict. People are not (generally) addicts because they got carried away with the session, people are addicts because something has gone horribly wrong in their lives or minds, enabling an overwhelming feeling of self-hatred and worthlessness. Addiction is a slow and painful suicide.
 
LadyDomino

LadyDomino

Well-known member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
142
Location
Dorset
Hi @bipolarandaddicted - my own story is very similar to yours - times of being a functioning alcoholic (working as a lawyer), then times on non-functioning (litre or vodka and 3 litres of strong cider a day, together with daytime tv). The only relationships I had left was a marriage that was breaking down and good relationship with my cat.

My liver was one stage off cirrhosis, and I had one choice - marriage and rehab or death. I picked a rehab centre randomly from the internet and spent 5 weeks there. It was not long after release that the real problems began to emerge and I tried to commit suicide. I was very fortunate with my GP who quickly got me referred to an excellent psychologist and was diagnosed with bipolar. She prescribed a course of ECT (7 sessions) and that really restarted my brain allowing the bipolar drugs to make a difference. It was her opinion that the drinking may well have been a sub-cocious way of trying to self medicate the undiagnosed bipolar.

I do have gaps in my memory about that time - possibly because of the ECT - but its probably not a bad thing I can't remember that time.

I do have health conditions, though its questionable whether they are related to the alcohol.

My marriage is now on track, and I have rebuilt the relationships with family. Unfortunately I couldn't rebuild relationships with some friends.

AA can help some with addiction. But I am too anti-social to deal with them. But I don't dismiss their value.

Its now 9 years since I've had a drink. There are still days when I fancy one, but as once dry-alcoholic friend told me "is there any situation that would be made better by me having a drink" - it stays with me and helps me.

@bipolarandaddicted - my best wishes in your recovery. Feel free to pm me anytime if you want to talk.
 
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