The Demons

Goodness, I am such a slacker.  I say I am going to write once a week, and then I don’t.  Schedules aren’t really my thing.  Life has been busy, which isn’t a bad thing.  I went to my medicine man for my anxiety earlier in January; it had been a bit of time since I had been there and he asked me about my plans for 2014.  I didn’t even think about my answer.  My mouth just responded that in 2014 I was going to learn how to just be.  Just be.  Such a simple, but life changing factor.  I am always anxious, my brain moves about 80 miles a minute, and I don’t know how to just be.  I am learning.  This post is not about that though.

The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman really hit me.  What also hit me was the divided response one reads after the death of someone famous from an overdose.  Half are compassionate, half are in the they made their choices and therefore reaped what they sowed.  Here is what I think:

We all make bad choices, therefore we should not judge.  It isn’t for a religious reason for me to feel this way, but rather a human reason.

In my youth, I think I had a beacon for addicts.  I dated a plethora of them and I could never figure out how it happened.  I remember one particular boyfriend I had was a heroin addict.  He would disappear for a while, and I wouldn’t see him, but this one night, I had gotten a late night phone call.  It was someone I didn’t know, telling me that my boyfriend at the time was having a really bad reaction and he wanted me to come get him.  Funny this was, I didn’t know how to drive.  So, while my roommate (who was the only one with a car) was sleeping, K, myself, and a 15 year old who knew how to drive, took her car and we headed out really late to go pick him up.  I remember sitting in the backseat with him, making sure he kept talking to me (and also really hoping my roommate didn’t wake up and notice her car gone) and being so worried.  I had no idea what to do.  I got him back to my place and called my father, who was a nurse.  I was scared to bring him to a hospital; he had already been in jail so many times (I know, I know), and he walked me through what I needed to do.  I bathed him, I sat with him as he vomited over and over again, and I stayed awake the entire night to watch him breathe.  Before he fell asleep, he thanked me for getting him; he said if he was going to die, he wanted to die with someone who loved him.  

He didn’t die, and our relationship didn’t last, but I did see him a couple of years later.  I was pregnant with the Boy, and he thanked me again, telling me I saved his life.  I have never seen him again, and I hope he is still doing well.

I think I also understand now why I was an addict magnet.  It was because I understood because I was also an addict.  Mine wasn’t drugs, or booze, but rather eating disorders.  I understand the loneliness, the pain, the humiliation.  It’s possible that I thought that maybe if I could help them I could help myself.  I couldn’t though.  I couldn’t heal myself through other people.  I had to heal me, it just took me a long time to learn.

Addiction is a living thing.  It sits inside you, waiting for the perfect moment to come out.  It could be that moment when you feel scared, or lost, or your self-esteem takes a hit.  It could be looking in the mirror and not seeing what everyone else sees.  It could come from someone who tells you that you are too fat, or when you totally think you can diet like a normal person and then become obsessed with seeing the numbers drop.  I can’t speak what it is like for a drug addict, or an alcoholic, but I think it would be similar.  Addiction is addiction, and it just waits.  

PSH was clean for 23 years, and I don’t know what caused him to go back.  It doesn’t matter at this point, because he made his bad choice and paid the ultimate price for it.  I feel it in my heart though, as a person who struggles with their own demons.  I thought about myself and how I could have paid the same price for my demons.  We lost a wonderful actor, someone lost their partner, and children lost their father.  We need more compassion in the world.  We need more understanding that everyone has a story, and I also bet everyone has a demon.  It may not be the same demons, but we all have stories, and some end too soon.

While my addiction is currently inactive, I know it lives.  I know it will speak to me again, and I will tell myself not to listen; to be stronger than the need.  This week, I did something I don’t normally do.  I bought clothes that fit me.  I embraced my imperfect body and told myself it was actually perfect, because it is mine.  I haven’t going to work once this week, hiding underneath my hoodie, or a blanket, or my sense of humor about said items.  I will show my children it is okay to not be a size 0, and to do that, I have to love myself.  

It’s been a long road, that hasn’t come to an end, because as PSH taught us, it just doesn’t.  It’s a battle, a long battle, and one that has to be fought with compassion and kindness.  Do less judging and more loving.  Just be.  

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “The Demons

  1. I’ve been lucky when it comes to addictions. The only thing I’ve ever been addicted to was caffeine, though that has had a horrible impact on me. Although, I think I really took it to extremes. Insomnia, anxiety, and bursts of anger just aren’t your friends. I’ve seen people struggle with debilitating addictions and it’s never a fun thing to observe. Whenever I see a celebrity die from an overdose, I always hope that their example was a wake-up call for someone or that it helps someone decide never to make the choice to try an addictive substance.

    • Coffee addiction is no joke. The headaches I get if I don’t have coffee is sad.

      • It was HORRIBLE for me.

        I used to drink 5-9 cans of Mountain Dew a day, in addition to energy drinks and the occasional cup of caffeinated Earl Gray. As a result, I started having panic attacks, and later had insomnia so bad that it led to me having to take Ambien in order to sleep. At one point, before I started taking the Ambien, I’d been awake for about three days. I’d gotten 20 minutes of sleep here or there, but it wasn’t restful. I was at work, and had to leave because it had me so jittery and freaked out that I couldn’t function.

        On the way home, Murphy’s Law hit. A lady was on her cell phone in the car. She was in the right lane, as was I, and had put her car in park. When the light turned green, she didn’t go anywhere. She wasn’t paying attention because of the phone call. I didn’t realize she wasn’t moving until I saw her reverse lights flash, and by then it was too late to stop on the slick rain-soaked street. I rear-ended her and totaled my PT Cruiser (I LOVED that car.). Her Chevy Suburban wasn’t even scratched. She wasn’t hurt. The entire front end of my car was crushed. The seat belt left a purple stripe across my chest and shoulder from the impact.

        I’d never realized how much it impacted my temper. I’ve always had to fight my anger, but the caffeine makes it a hundred times worse. I used to growl at people I really care about all the time. Part of why people tease me for being a badger. I was grouchy and had no patience. Between quitting caffeine and going to a therapist, it’s under control for the first time in my life and it’s like being freed from some sort of prison. I get along better with people now.

        This last weekend, the impact of caffeine really hit home for me. I broke down and bought a Dew. I drank about half of it, thinking I was just satisfying the craving for the flavor. Next thing I knew I was angry at the world, jittery and way too grouchy. Never again. It just isn’t worth it.

      • You are beautiful. Thank you for getting it.

      • LOL. I’m clueless. I just make it look good.

    • And I fully agree, though I personally can’t limit addiction to just drugs , or alcohol ( even if those usually have the most press). They came in many forms and are horrible things.

  2. Mom^2, I am extremely happy I found your blog. It comforts me to know that there are people close to me that knows the things I go through. I have anxiety and eating problems and depression and whole jumble of problems. It is a very rare experience to have.

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