I started drinking when I was in tenth grade in High School because of peer pressure and I was very cool, of course. Yeah right. I was kind of in the so-called popular group in High School because I was a cheerleader, if that makes me popular. My friends were popular anyway. My “popular” and “cool” friends drank, so I did.

I was never good at drinking because I usually drank too much, got stupidly drunk, usually threw up and had horrible hangovers in the morning. That is not any fun and is very gross and disgusting.

I was a lush.

The next day I was embarrassed and regretted my behavior from drinking the night before. How is that any fun? Drinking actually wasn’t fun, but I still drank anyway because everyone else did and it was the thing to do.

Then came college and I was even more of a lush…

Even though I was beautiful when I was in college, I have seen pictures of myself, I never had any self esteem and never thought I was pretty. I was too shy and had too much painful anxiety to talk to guys when I was sober, but I could talk to guys when I was drunk and that usually lead to one night stands. For some reason, unknown to me at the time, I had many one nights stands and was promiscuous.

When I drank, I always got drunk, made a fool of myself, behaved stupidly, threw up and had the most horrific hangovers the next morning. I also had a lot of regret for my behavior the next day and for a few days after.

There were cement stairs leading into some of the college parties I went to and the cement stairs were always very wet from spilled beer all over them. I was so drunk that I fell down the wet cement stairs on two different occasions. Both times, when I fell down the cement stairs I broke my coccyx, my tail bone. I was in excruciating pain for days. I never went to the doctor as I was afraid of what my parents would say and do. I did not want them to know.

I drank all the way through college and until I was about 29 years old when I had my first baby. I still drank and got drunk, continued to have more one night stands, casual sex, usually always threw up and had horrible hangovers. I was not a good drinker, but I did it anyway.

I really didn’t like drinking most of the time, but I drank because of peer pressure. I had no self esteem and basically was like a chameleon and had no mind of my own I guess, so I followed others.

I was not a good drinker. I was a lush.

I did not know back then that I had bipolar disorder. After my diagnosis, I still drank during my dark days and bad mania days and even started smoking pot. Luckily I never ever tried anything else. However after my diagnosis drinking and smoking pot increased my promiscuity and the need for sexual encounters.

One thing about smoking marijuana however was that it really did temporarily reduce my extreme mania and anxiety I was experiencing at the time and helped me relax, but it sometimes made me feel strange and paranoid and I did not like that feeling. Overall, I was not good at smoking pot either. Thank God.

Luckily I never became addicted to either substance. I am one of the very lucky ones in that regard because many people with bipolar disorder become addicted to alcohol and/or other substances and then have what is called a dual diagnosis. Having a dual diagnosis with bipolar disorder and substance abuse makes the illness much more severe and much more difficult to treat.

Later on during my severe bipolar struggles, I took many more prescription medications than I was prescribed. I would eat my Clonazepam, which is a Benzodiazepine, like it was candy.

I was having such severe bipolar symptoms and severe mania, mixed episodes and severe anxiety that taking large overdoses of Clonazepam did not usually even slow my brain down or hardly relieve my severe mental and internal pain I was feeling.

If I still felt the severe pain, I would take more and more Clonazepam until a few times my overdose was too much and I needed to be hospitalized and put into ICU. I felt I needed to keep taking so many Clonazepam to help me live and survive the severe pain from my mania, mixed episodes and extreme anxiety. I couldn’t stop taking those pills. I was out of control and I was addicted to my prescription medication Clonazepam. I was definitely and obviously very ill.

I don’t know how I could have always taken so many but it didn’t seem to do much to me back then as my brain was flying higher than the moon and my anxiety was sending electrical currents from the top of head to the bottom of my toes. If I took as many Conazepam now like I used to, it would knock me out because my brain has slowed down and my anxiety has reduced significantly right now. Yay! God saved my life like always.

I am presently trying to reduce the amount of my high prescription of 4 Clonazepam daily that I was prescribed because I desperately and definitely needed it back then. Everyone tells me that is the highest does that is given. I have reduced the dose to 3 daily now instead of four and I am even trying to reduce it down to 2 Clonazepam daily, but that is a very daunting and difficult task and experience. I will write about my experience with that in my next post.

I used to smoke cigarettes too, but I quit that horrific habit as well. I never smoke pot or cigarettes anymore. I do not take extra Clonazepam or any other extra prescription medications. Like I said before, I am trying to reduce the amount of my Clonazepam I have been prescribed as my anxiety and bipolar is doing very well right now. I always monitor my mental illness very closely though.

I do not drink at all anymore. I do not like it as I was never a good drinker. Also, I know I am not supposed to mix alcohol with my prescription medications, so I am kind of afraid to mix alcohol with my medications.

I am definitely no longer a lush.

Thank you God for never allowing me to have an actual dual diagnosis and a severe substance abuse problem. Praise God.

Addiction or Substance Abuse

  • Many people with bipolar disorder also have alcohol, tobacco or drug problems. Drugs or alcohol may seem to ease symptoms, but they can actually trigger, prolong or worsen depression or mania.
  • About 56 percent of individuals with bipolar who participated in a national study had experienced drug or alcohol addiction during their lifetime.
  • Approximately 46 percent of that group had abused alcohol or were addicted to alcohol.
  • About 41 percent had abused drugs or were addicted to drugs.
  • Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among bipolar individuals.

There is no easy explanation for the high rate of substance abuse and chemical dependence among bipolar individuals. One reason for this phenomenon is that a large percentage of individuals attempt to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol in an effort to numb the painful symptoms of their bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder such as anxiety, pain, depression and sleeplessness are so painful, that many individuals will turn to drugs and alcohol as a means for relieving the discomfort, even for a little while. Drinking and using drugs may trigger depressed or manic moods in someone with bipolar disorder.

Clinical researchers believe that brain chemistry may influence both bipolar disorder and substance abuse. People with bipolar disorder often have abnormal levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, according to WebMD. These chemicals affect vital functions like appetite, metabolism, sleep and your body’s response to stress. They also affect mood and emotions.

Heavy use of drugs or alcohol can interfere with the way your brain processes these chemicals, causing emotional instability, erratic energy levels and depression. People with bipolar disorder may turn to drugs or alcohol out of an unconscious need to stabilize their moods. Unfortunately, substance abuse has the opposite effect, making the symptoms of bipolar disorder worse.

If you want to live well with bipolar disorder, do not drink alcohol or use any type of non-prescription medications or drugs at all. They will never ever help you.

Live well and be happy. God bless you all.

Symptoms of a manic episode may include:

  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Impulsive sexual encounters
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Feelings of euphoria, abnormal excitement, or elevated mood
  • Talking very rapidly or excessively
  • Needing less sleep than normal, yet still having plenty of energy
  • Feeling agitated, irritable, hyper, or easily distracted

Symptoms of a depressive episode (bipolar depression) may include:

  • No interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping—either sleeping too much or not at all
  • Changes in appetite—eating too much or too little
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

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My brain was in a rush

and I became a lush.

Now I have quit

every little bit.

God has helped me

live, love and be happy.