Triggers

I’m a freshman in college, and I’m living on campus. I’m quickly realizing that that is a huge mistake. I’m surrounded by triggers 24/7.

I get it. It’s your first time living alone. Why not party? Drink, smoke, have the time of your life.

However, I can’t stand being around it. I makes me think of my dad and how sick he is. And how addiction can completely destroy someone.

I’ve always said that when I grow up I’m never going to drink. For as long as I can remember, even in elementary school.

Then high school came around and I was like fuck that. I drank, and had my fun.

But now even being around other people drinking is such a trigger. It makes me anxious, puts me on edge.

So now here I am, living in a college dorm. Surrounded by people partying. And I’m sober, and can’t handle being around any of it.

I’m trying to figure out if moving Home is the right thing. But wherever I go, alcohol will be there. It’s not a trigger I can avoid. I need to learn to live with it.

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Self Harm

I saw this photo on Pinterest today. It made me stop scrolling. It made me freeze.

My stomach is covered in scars. Some from months ago. Some that are fresh, only hours old, that are still red, that would bleed if I touched them.

I’m laying in bed writing this post on my phone and I can feel the pain of these fresh cuts. I can feel where I took a knife and cut myself. But I can also choose to focus on that physical pain rather than the emotional chaos that is going on in my mind.

I don’t cut for attention. Very few people in my day to day life know about it. And the one person that I used to talk openly about it with, went of to college and I don’t talk with her about it anymore.

It makes me so mad when people say that people self harm for attention. Is that why people hide it? Is that why people wear long sleeves year round?

It takes so much for someone to turn to physically harming themselves. It’s not an easy thing to do. Although it may turn into a habit, it is still difficult every time.

Ive been cutting for 6 months now. It’s a habit.

A negative coping skill.

I hate that I’m able to hurt myself. I hate that I turn to self harm when I’m struggling.

This is something that is hard to talk about, and I know this post is kind of a mess. But if you self harm, know that you’re not alone.

Realization

My dad has been a recovering alcoholic the majority of my life. And when he wasn’t a recovering alcoholic he was simply an alcoholic. I wasn’t always able to tell if he was currently drinking, but I know for sure that he is now.

My high school graduation was a few months ago, and he was hospitalized. He tried to go into rehab 3 days prior to the ceremony so he could see my speech and be there for me— sober. However, withdrawals suck. He was moved to intensive care and told if he left the hospital he would die.

Later that week came the news that he would need a new liver. Furthermore, that if he was to get a transplant he would need to be sober for five years, and that he wasn’t going to make it five years. Recently I was informed that that number was brought down to two years.

It hadn’t really hit me. I’ve know for a while how sick he is, but it didn’t really truly hit me until recently. I was watching a movie about some college kids and a girl said her dad was far gone. Then I realized that someday soon that would be me.

I realized that my dad wouldn’t make it to walk me down the isle. To meet his grandchildren. I still haven’t truly processed it yet, but it’s definitely starting to hit me.

Addiction is a horrible disease. Not only has it limited my time with my father, but it’s made it so that a lot of the memories I do have of him are affected. The memories of his drunken attempts of parenting will always stick with me. I love him so much, but it’s hard to separate the man from the disease sometimes.

QPR

Today I attended QPR training at my college. The counseling center was offering training sessions, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn. Overall it was a great experience, but I did notice a few things that I wanted to talk about.

First of all, for those of you who do not know, QPR is short for question, persuade and refer. It is a program designed to train individuals on how to approach the topic of suicide and what to do if you believe someone you know is suicidal. I highly recommend the training, as it was a very informative program.

However, there were some problems with the powerpoints, that my instructor couldn’t change due to their copyrights. I was lucky enough to have an instructor who pointed these things out. However, it is important to be mindful of them.

One of the main problems I had was the term “commit”. On many slides the program stated statistics in which individuals “committed suicide”. I have a problem with this, as I see the word commit as placing blame on the victim. Someone who dies by suicide is not to blame for their death!

Another problem was that in the persuade section, one of the many recommendations was to have the person promise you they will not hurt themselves until they talk to you next. In my opinion this is ineffective and puts shame on the person you are supposed to be helping.

In the past I have had a therapist make me sign a suicidal thinking contract (which listed what I would do incase of an emergency and made me agree not to hurt myself), and it was one of the worst feelings. If he were to have made a plan with me and written out what to do without making me sign anything, it would have been a useful resource. However, by making me sign the paper it was almost like he was making me admit that my thoughts were wrong, and that I was at fault for having them.

Suicidal thoughts are obviously not a positive thing, but they are not anyones fault. Further more, by making someone feel bad for having these thoughts all that you are doing is furthering the stigma and limiting the chances of them speaking up.

Overall the QPR training was a positive experience. We ran scenarios, and I learned local resources and how to contact help if needed. I recommend it for anyone looking to be more informed on how to approach the subject of suicidal thinking. However, I would be mindful of the things that I talked about. Here is the link for the website if anyone is interested: https://www.qprinstitute.com/

Separation

One of the things that I struggle with most is separating my own emotional struggles from my reactions and responses to other people in my life.

My reaction to stressors and my family and surrounding drama completely take over who I am. I become so focused on what is going on in others lives, that my response takes up all of my emotional energy. And in turn, that anxiety, worry and fear take up a majority of my physical energy as well.

It’s easy for someone to say just focus on yourself, or to not worry about things that you can’t change. But in practice that is a lot harder said than done.

For me trying to not worry and focusing on separation can make things worse. It’s like when you try not to think about it, it turns into the only thing you can focus on.

This is something that I’m working on, similar in a way to how mindfulness works. By acknowledging the fact that yes I am worried, or yes I am stressed, but also telling my self that that is ok. By focusing on breathing and acceptance, I am able to refocus on myself, rather than whatever it was that caused the initial panic.

This is a practice, and one that I am far from mastering. But, I’ve reached a critical point where the level of stress is completely taking over my life. So, I’m working hard on being able to focus inward.

Losing Hope

It’s been a few days since I’ve written anything. The truth is I’m not doing so great.

I’m going into my fourth week of college classes, yet I still haven’t found my groove. I still haven’t found a group of friends that I’m 100% comfortable with, and with everything going on in my family I’m still avoiding alcohol like it’s the plague.

I always imagined joining a sorority, and fully experiencing the college life you hear everyone talk about. But between my depression and the affects of being an adult child of an alcoholic, that dream that I always had is such a terrifying prospect.

It’s not just the social aspect of college that’s getting me down. It’s just my overall state of depression and general lack of motivation. I’m currently taking Fetzima, which is around the dozenth medication that I’ve tried. Yet, nothing has worked.

I’m studying psychology, and it doesn’t take an expert to know that this means my depression is treatment resistant. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have options, but typical medications may not help. I could try TMS, but I don’t know anyone who has experienced it and if I remember correctly it’s a commitment of five days a week for six weeks.

As it is now, I have a hard enough time convincing myself to get out of bed and get to class. If it wasn’t for the fact that if I miss more than a certain number of classes than I fail, my attendance would be nonexistent.

Right now there are so many stressors, my depressions sucks, and I feel like there are anxiety triggers everywhere I turn. So right now, I’m feeling rather hopeless.

Socializing?

Socializing is a pretty mandatory aspect of life. You have to do it, it’s what allows you to survive. What gives you the will to keep going.

But sometimes it is the most difficult thing to motivate yourself to do. When my depression starts to get bad, the first thing I want to do is isolate myself. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to go anywhere. Sometimes I don’t even have the energy to watch a show, or listen to music.

It sounds so sad, so pathetic. But it’s the truth. Sometimes my energy is so diminished, and my mood is so low. I lay in bed not wanting to move. But you have to socialize, you have to get involved in life in order for anything to change.

Not to say that by socializing you magically feel better and like the world is all rainbows and puppies. Because that could not be further from the truth. When I get the energy to get out of bed, I usually regret it the instant I am with friends.

Their upbeat energy and mood makes me aggravated. Like I’m missing something. Why do I feel so miserable, and they are enjoying life to it’s fullest. But after the initial aggravation, I usually have a moment where I realize that I’m out of bed. Not only am I out of bed, but I’m feeling something other than exhaustion and hopelessness. Even if it is one of those moments of aggravation rather than enjoyment.

I love my friends, and talking to them, spending time with them, it’s what keeps me going. But I think it’s a topic that isn’t discussed enough. Sometimes it’s hard to be social. Sometimes you can’t help but to lay in bed and accept defeat for the day.