It is a river, isn't it? Floating along or caught in a snare. Metaphors on that one are endless.
I took some time off in March because of my illness. Sometimes blogging has been stressful to me. It proves that I am often times hard to understand. No need to expound on that, save to say that that is hard to carry. So being away was what was best for my health and peace of mind. And it helped. I recovered more quickly than I thought I could. Thank the powers for that, because what was waiting down the line was shattering.
On May 2nd my darling, beautiful, oh-so-smart, daughter made a very serious attempt to take her life. 60 blood pressure pills and at the last few minutes she thought of her good old mom and was able, in those short minutes, to dial 911. (Sidebar here folks, keep it on your speed dial, you just never know.) I have no way to adequately explain to you what it is like to read a 5 page suicide note. To hear suffering of that depth, which is easy to express in what one thinks are their last hours on earth, felt surreal. There is no holding back. It was so deep, so far down that hole, that I knew I was not going to be able to comfort her enough. I knew that no matter how long my arms were, they could not reach her. All that I could do was to show her that they were reaching down, knowing that she would have to do the rest. There was absolute numbness along with piercing sorrow for her.
I spent 6 days and nights with her in ICU watching her every reaction and every machine hooked to her. There was no brain or nerve damage, but they discovered that she has congenital heart disease. There is no way to tell if it was the affect of the pills that damaged her heart or if it has been lingering there all along, which would make it even more miraculous that she survived.
There was a stint in the mental health ward at Kaiser and then straight to Rehab. Three trips to emergency, lock down and a lot of heart crushing screaming. Then another stint in the mental health ward. To say she has been through hell...you would not want to see this kind of hell. What we've both learned over long, hard years is that our country does not have adequate training to really help alcoholics except to say, "will yourself not to drink and say your affirmations". AA just doesn't work for a lot of people, actually for the majority of people. If it did, addiction in all it's guises would not be savaging our country. So saying this was her third go at it can't even get close to how devastating and frustrating it is. Try, try and try again. What that insures is that suffering is going to be a constant road without a map. Some of the people going through this with her have been through it 9/10 times, one even 16. It's mind blowing. She finally got the help she needed from a 10 page letter to Kaiser assessing their program and telling them what she actually needed from them and how to really help her. Things changed immediately (this girl is gifted, she would make a phenomenal lawyer!). They brought in a psychiatrist just out of Boston University who literally saved her life. Kaiser does NOT want to be sued. Success can be possible, IF the knowledge of this young and brilliant man, and others, is respected and shared. He would not give up, just try to imagine how very rare that is.
Addiction is not a disease, it is not the result of weak character or a self indulgent nature. It is brain damage. I could expound on that, but not now.
She has now had 6 months of fairly effortless sobriety. I say effortless, because she isn't going mad with cravings, but it's still there...the desire, only now, controllable. Brain damage can only be treated with medication. We can't will brain damage away. No amount of affirmations is going to heal the brain. Finding the right combination of medication is what her psychiatrist was committed to doing and he got it. There has been a bit of tweeking, but she's doing great and will start back to work in the next couple of weeks. Unaltered. How incredible is that? She is her same sassy, silly and brilliant self and I, well, I am a mom taking a long, relieving breath and getting back to work, too - with eyes wide open, ever vigilant. There are no cures, no miracles but there is hope.