“The Day My World Went Into Blackness”….

I Will Never Forget That Day….
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My day had started like many before. I woke up knowing what I “needed” to do, but my addiction was in full gear, and was pulling at me with fury of urges and triggers to just go gamble my feelings away. To become numb again, so I didn’t have to watch my best friend be buried into the earth. She had died of cancer, a long illness that I had to watch. She wasted away to nothing more than a shell of the woman I came to love.
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I had been called 6 days earlier, after she took her last breath in this world. I had wished it was me who went to a final resting place, as I was so tired of the life I had been living with undiagnosed Bipolar,  and in the middle of a full-blown gambling addiction that had such a hold on me that I was the one who should be in that coffin! My life had been spinning out of control for months, and years worth of addicted gambling with drinking, and all the “destruction” that had come with it. What kind of destruction you wonder?
Well, hell…I have a list that is longer than my arm. Now that I can look back and see what I didn’t know what I know today…..
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The hiding of money, the wasted money spent, the lies I had to tell to cover up what I was doing, NOT only to myself, but dragging my husband down with me. And he had no idea. I hid it so well that it became exhausting and uncontrollable. All the time spent and wasted behind all those slot machines, card tables, and State Lottery stores gambling on those DAMN video poker machines and the casinos. Having to wait to get the mail daily before my husband, so he wouldn’t find out. When did this all get so out of control?
Hell I don’t know, but the destruction and deterioration continued. Towards the end of 2002, just before my 40th birthday, and the day I was to be at my best friends funeral, I just about died myself.
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After selling some of my gold & jewelry, and a few other things at a pawn shop, I headed North that Saturday morning to gamble my troubles away. With the “Urges” so strong running through my veins,  and my husband at work, I took the 42 mile drive to the Indian Casino I truly don’t even remember driving there. I spent most the day wasting my money, and stuffing those machines with the hope of numbing myself of all the feeling of shame, guilt, grief, denial, blame,  and any other feeling you could think of.
I was also dealing with past wounds of child sex abuse on top of all that! I have no idea how much I spent that day….
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Or even how long I was at the casino. You see I don’t even remember driving the 42 miles back home. All I remember was that I screwed up again!! I had a bad relapse and binge, or so that’s what it’s called in my recovery program & at my gamblers anonymous meetings. See, I had just started my first attempt to enter recovery from Addicted Gambling and Alcohol. Funny, I only drank when I gambled. The drinking was easy to recover from. My “Demon” was the gambling!! All I remember is that everything went “BLACK”….Like my brain just went into total darkness. I should never been behind the wheel of a car. I do remember when I got home, going to the phone, but that’s it! After that, all I remember was waking up with this heavy, deep darkness. Laying in a hospital bed, hearing voices but I could not really see or feel much. I don’t know how much time lapsed from there when I woke up again in a little room, I lay in a small bed. I got up to open the door and found it locked. There was a button by the door, so I pressed it.
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A woman’s voice came over a speaker. She asked me what I wanted. WTF? I wanted to know where the HELL I Was, and why was my door locked?!! As I got a little bearings about myself, I noticed that my arms and especially my wrists were all bandaged. I started to feel the blackness return around the edges of my eyes and vision, so I lay back on the bed and started to cry. I was alone, scared, and didn’t understand what was happening to me. A while later, a nurse and psychiatrist came in my room. I just wanted to be left alone.
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The nurse took my blood pressure while this man was asking me all sorts of questions. It was like he was taking, but I could not understand what he was saying. The nurse gave me some pills to take, and told me that my husband would be coming later today to see me.
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Finally, as my head cleared a bit, I began to understand a little of what the man was explaining to me.
That’s when I found I had suffered a “Mental & Emotional” break down due to being in the middle of a “cycle of Bipolar disorder” with both manic depression, and an episode of high mania coupled with the high stress levels from my addicted gambling. It all seemed surreal and was too much for my brain. I was in a Mental & Addiction Crisis Center, via the hospital. My own doctor had been there and had a meeting with the psychiatrist and they diagnosed me with Bipolar disorder, and a few other emotional disorders. I felt SO depressed, tired, confused, and alone. That is also when I started to journal. My councilor said I needed to help make sense of my feelings. I’d been stuffing all this baggage for so long, that it contributed to my stress levels, and from the constant gambling became all too much, and my mind went haywire. That some of my nerves and chemicals in my brain could not support all the emotional stuff going on, so it just shut down!
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After a day or so, I met with an addictions specialist. She gave me some papers on gambling addiction DETOX. That I was going through that now. She then explained a little of what happened. I was so shocked and blown away that all these issues TOGETHER made me try to commit SUICIDE. I had short-term memory loss which would go away she said. They started me on meds to help, but it would take a few weeks before I’d start to level out. She then told me all that happened, and that my husband was SO worried about me. That I gave him a very big scare. I didn’t mean to, and knew I had to come clean with him. After all the years we have been married, I’d never kept secrets from my husband. He was my best friend!
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I also found as a few more days passed, I got the whole story of how my world went BLACK. Apparently when I came home from the casino, I called my addiction councilor to let her know I had relapsed. Then she said I stopped talking to her, and in reality I was blacking in and out. So she called 911. She told me the police came to my home, found me unconscious on my couch in my living room with cuts all over my arms and wrists, bleeding and had kitchen & butcher knives all over the couch. My blood ran to ice when she explained it all. The police took me straight to the hospital. I don’t recall ANY OF IT! Then after the hospital, by ambulance I was admitted into the Mental/Addiction Crisis Center, and was on suicide watch for the first 4 days, which brings me to the meeting with my councilor. I have to say that I was so shocked at how F_ _ ked Up I was.
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I was then told that I had been diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder with mild mania and manic depression, along with OCD and AADD. That I was started on a medication and recovery plan, and would start to feel better in a few weeks. That my Doctor and the Crisis Psychiatrist wanted me to do other therapy for the past childhood traumatic events that took place, and for grief over my best friend. These issues were adding to my over all well-being. I have to tell you, I thought my world was coming to an end. Both doctors said I most likely had the Bipolar problems since I was little, and since parents didn’t understand about this way back when, I went diagnosed for sometime. The gambling addiction is what brought the Bipolar to the surface.
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I felt like I was a damaged person with all this going on. It was all so overwhelming to me. Then when I was alone, I’d think that others, and my husband would think I was a Looney Tune! I thought he might leave me. I felt if I’m having a “hard time” accepting all of this, what was my husband going to think? Will he want to walk away? You know what he said to me?…..”I know the beautiful girl I married all those years ago is still in there inside you, so I’m not going anywhere.”……That was all I needed to know to begin my battle and fight to get my life back from the “Darkness”…..Yes, will never forget that day, the day my world went BLACK…..

Personality Disorders Awareness Network (PDAN)'s photo.
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Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
PSALM 30:5, King David wrote, “Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY will come in the morning”….

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