Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beyond Blue

I have just recently, as in the past 3 days, discovered Therese J. Borchard. My client received doubles of her book titled Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the most of Bad Genes. I am devouring it. She shares in this book about her own alcoholism, OCD, eating disorder, depression and anxiety and all of the other issues that flit around the edges of our lives when we are consumed by some serious core issues.She talks about the recovery community and the missing element of addressing the mental health issues that so many addicts/alcoholics face. She talks about her Catholic faith.

The thing I am loving about this book.... is her humor. And her honesty. But really, who writes about these topics and uses humor?! This author does and it is so refreshing! While injecting good doses of hilarity she talks about seriously serious issues (if you have lived with them, you know what I am saying) and shares real solutions that have worked for her. She is not cured. She talks about the daily work, the self care, the maintenance she must tend to in order to stay even and healthy and on stable footing, both mentally and physically.

I of course think of my girl through the whole book...

She quotes Daniel Goleman, then a science writer for the New York Times:
"For several years, scientists have suspected that at least some drug addicts suffer imbalances in brain chemistry that made them vulnerable to depression, anxiety, or intense restlessness. For such people, addiction becomes a kind of self medication in which drugs correct the chemical imbalance and bring a sort of relief."

Until they don't.

And then this from Colette Dowling who wrote You Mean I don't Have to Feel This Way Anymore?
"Scientists think that in predisposed humans the production of endorphins and enkaphalins in the brain is abnormally low from birth. Low levels of these mood-regulating chemicals result in anxiety and a feeling of need that is extremely uncomfortable. It is this bad feeling that makes people susceptible to the brief mood-lifts provided by drinking and drug taking. They are not really looking for euphoria. What they long for, what their bodies are trying to achieve, is the state of chemical balance that those of us enjoy whoa re fortunate to have enough neurotransmitters in the first place. "

I can't tell you how many times I have heard my girl say that drugs help her feel normal. Help her get up and exist each day. It is such an impossible balancing act though....a granule (or whatever they call it) too much and you can't keep your eyes open. A granule too little and you are sick. 

I also see glimpses of myself. My own need for perfection, my own bouts of depression, obsessing, worry and fear.

Therese talks about her first born who wouldn't sleep and how this threw her into a tailspin. The "other mothers" told her he didn't sleep because she hadn't trained him to sleep. (can you feel the guilt and the condemnation and self loathing for being so stupid and inept?)  She needed to do the 5, 10, 15 minute method. Let him cry for 5 minutes, go in, pat his back, then give him 10 more minutes, repeat, and at 15 minutes he will be sound asleep. She said her experience was more like 5, 10, 7 hours. She writes of looking back and wondering why she didn't trust her own instincts more. Why she let her baby cry in the crib alone. It ends up he had ear infections, tummy upsets, etc.

It reminded me of when I had our first baby and I was determined, as you have heard, to "do it right." Someone along the way had told me to never let baby sleep in your bed with you, let them cry it out in the crib and they will learn that the crib means sleep time.

Uhhhhh, not always true.

My son, my firstborn little prince, was one of those who screamed for hours. I know. We tried it.... for 2 nights. Those two nights were prepared for ahead of time by us going to the neighbors (we lived in a duplex with an attached wall) to let them know what we were doing..."if you hear him crying, we aren't neglecting him. We are *teaching* him to sleep in his own bed."  I can just imagine them smirking as they closed their door to go back inside.

So we began.....plan firmly in place, our resolve was set. 2 hours later, sheets covered in snot....babies, not mine, sobbing hysterically, we gave up. Night #2 was a replay of night #1 until the dad, bless his heart, came up behind me as I stood crying outside babies bedroom door, and said, "Who says we HAVE to do it this way?" That was one of the few times I conceded to his wisdom in our early years of marriage and did what he was suggesting. I went and got baby, I took him into our bed and nursed him and THAT was the beginning of us sleeping each night, with baby tucked between us, nursing on demand and us NOT feeling wiped out with exhaustion.

We are all such complex beings. It is a good thing that I am a firm believer that all of our complexities and "issues" make us into beautiful, compassionate people as we learn how to love ourselves and others in all of our imperfect glory. If not, I would have given up a long time ago.

I highly recommend this read to those of us who love someone or who are mentally ill ourselves. Oh wait.....I think that might be all of us!
Love to all.....


Anonymous said...

thank you so much.....
I am going to order this right now...

anything I can read to better help understand what my son is going through is a gift.

thank you

Tori said...

B slept in my room till he was 4! Then we shared a room but I got two small beds until he was 6 and finally got his own room. Little brother slept in our bed till he was 2 or 3.

A very good friend of mine who is a recovering alcoholic was one of the people that fought with AA that taking medication for depression/mental illness did not mean you were not sober. That was 20 or so years ago but she told me she was made to feel guilty when she started taking something for her depression. She told me it was either medication or alcohol for her.

B has depression, anxiety and major impulse control. He knows he does and also admits that drugs are self medication because it makes him feel "normal" for a little bit. I hope that he will eventually get the help he needs with the proper medication.

I am going to get this book! Sounds great.

Signe said...

I so agree with the chemical imbalance. I have been researching through the years of experiencing this with my daughter and am leaning toward food as medicine more and more. Amino Acids, vitamins, organics. That is what is going on, here. It may take a while, but I have seen slow progress. Oh, one more thing, prayer...that helps a lot, too. :)

SoberMomWrites said...

I've been praying for a new book. Whenever I feel the need for a booster shot of self-help, I always ask God to send me a book. Usually I'm surfing on Amazon or standing in a book store but this time I think He brought me you.

I'm ordering this as soon as I get home today. Thanks Annette!


Addiction-A Mothers Perspective said...

My son said exactly the same thing as your daughter. He used the drug to feel normal, not even to get high, just feel normal. It's heartbreaking.

Thanks for the book recommendation Sounds like the perfect book for me to read now. Blessings to you.

Syd said...

Thanks for the comments on the book, Annette. I don't remember whether I slept with my parents, but I doubt it. I think that I was one who slept through the night as a baby.

Mary Christine said...

Oh who knows how a parent should act? When I see what my children do as parents, I stand back in amazement. So many things are the exact opposite of what my generation was told to do. I am glad I traveled to the beat of my own drummer.

Hannah@HomeBaked said...

The book does look interesting.

I think a lot of people with underlying issues probably feel that drink/drugs/self destructive behaviours are helping them to feel normal but I have found that it's more about control - they have helped me to feel in control because the results are predictable or because while I'm making those choices I've already failed so there's less pressure, perhaps.

Isn't all of that pressure to parent "right" just silly? Every baby is an individual person with different needs. I'm quite glad that I muddled along with my instincts and for the most part didn't pick up on all of those rule books etc.