1. Hiya Pals,

    I'm just going to write a fairly short entry tonight (who, me?), because I have severe "Nocturnal Asthma" now, and it has been preventing me from sleeping much at all this week. I cough and wheeze and sneeze and get acid reflux all night long, and I often worry that I will literally drown in my own juices, and die a very ignominious death in my bed all alone. I was also recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism (low thyroid), and I have been on the hormone replacement medication levothyroxine for three weeks, but so far it hasn't kicked in yet to help me much. I gather from my research that it often takes at least six weeks to make any appreciable difference in how the patient feels.

    Getting older is a real bitch, and never believe anyone who tells you that it isn't. Actually, this is one of the biggest issues that is slamming me in the face and the whole body right now, that I will no doubt be talking about in this journal. Do NOT ever tell an older person that "You are only as old as you feel." If that is true, then with my bodily and mental issues, I am about 99 when I finally manage to crawl out of bed in the late morning or early afternoon. Then my age drops to about 75 (I am 68) for much of the day--except for my ruined knee, which feels about 100--and then when the Nocturnal Asthma kicks in around 9 or 10 and I cough all night long, by morning I am about 120 years old. Tell people instead something like, "You are only as old as you act!"

    My addiction situation is finally not bad. The current project is getting off my e-cigarette entirely. I quit smoking regular cigarettes three years ago, but I am clinging to my e-cigarette, with only 1.5 mg. of nicotine in the juice I am using, like I would cling to a life-raft when lost at sea. I seem to still need to act out the holding and inhaling of something, even if there is not much to it anymore. I hold it in my hand all day long...

    Alcohol? Well, I am a former raging alcoholic who quit completely for eight years in my fifties after a serious DUI, but decided to allow myself to slide back into wine at the end of that time. Now, I sip wine spritzers that I make with more than half a glass full of club soda, so I never get drunk anymore or have hangovers or any of that awful old stuff. I think I am always still safe to drive, though I do try to avoid doing so if I have been imbibing. I am not worried about my alcohol consumption--I just have to cut it out for a few days pre-doctor's appointment, because I am on a pain contract and it prohibits alcohol, for god sake. So around the time I might get urine tested, I quit drinking for a bit. This is good for me, actually, and I don't mind it at all.

    Drugs? Taking stock right now? I have been on benzodiazepines for the better part of fifty years, and an issue currently up for grabs is what a new psychiatric nurse practitioner I am to see on the 18th will decide to do with my two benzo prescriptions that were hacked mercilessly recently by my nurse practitioner.I have been in low-level benzo withdrawal for months now since she attacked my lorazepam prescription and cut it in half--from 6 mg. a day (a lot, I know, but I have a very high tolerance by now) to 3 mg. a day. I have been suffering, especially now with these relatively new night-time asthma attacks. I no longer have enough sleeping medication, although I am still also taking 30 mg. of temazepam every night, and 100 mg. of Seroquel (quetiapine). It's been a grim process.

    There is a debatable question in all this benzodiazepine stuff. Is there really much merit in subjecting a fifty-year addict who is 68 to possibly several YEARS of withdrawal symptoms at my age? What about the quality of life issue? I see this new nurse practitioner very soon. She is with a large behavioral health outfit, which is all the psychiatric care that my insurance will cover. I will have a forty-minute live intake with her, and then she is then supposed to take over control of all my brain drugs? I am very anxious and frightened about this upcoming appointment, because it could become a really big deal. Luckily, a fellow professional from the Forum has taken a great interest in my plight, and he is going to try to help me navigate these troubled waters so I don't get screwed.

    The opiates/opioids? I have been FREE for most of three years now! This turned out to be my single absolute worst addiction in my lifetime so far. I must have gone cold turkey at least fifty times in the course of my roughly six years of heavy addiction. Just to pills--I have managed somehow to stay away from heroin, and I am very proud of myself for that. Ditto methamphetamine and crack cocaine. In this past year, I took oxycodone one day, and I found that I didn't even like it anymore. I felt more sick than I felt stimulated, so I think that may have been my swansong with these drugs, unless I have more surgeries and truly need them--like a possible knee replacement coming up fairly soon.

    My favorite fun drug right now is DXM. I only take it once every month or six weeks now, though I was taking it much more often when I first discovered it. I've become one of the queens of DXM around here, kind of inadvertently. I actually enjoy it more than the pretty poor quality LSD that I have been able to get my hands on this year. Pharmaceutical quality, totally pure MDMA was my favorite sacramental drug of all time--but good luck finding that quality now, and I will accept no less than that. So I haven't taken it in years.

    Suicidal ideation and behavior now? Uh-uh. Just not happening anymore. My last passive suicide attempt resulted in me lying alone on a bathroom floor for eight days and nights, with no one knowing where I was except my beloved Ladywolf (90% Alaskan Grey Timberwolf) and Poppers, her Labrador sidekick. I can only imagine the agony that the canines went through too, although at least they did have a whole huge bag of dry food to munch on, and they drank water out of the toilet bowl, which would handily refill itself when it got low. I was found with an estimated fifteen more minutes to live. I weighed eighty pounds by then, and was so dehydrated that the medics had to scrape me up off the floor, leaving strips of my skin behind for me to clean up some weeks later. Gross!

    In total, I was in a coma for ten or eleven days, and woke up in a university hospital Trauma Center with no idea where I was or what had happened. After a month in the hospital and a week in the Suicide Slammer, I reached a new and final life decision for myself. I decided that if I was going to be stuck here--which I obviously am, after about six or seven serious attempts--then I would dedicate the rest of my life to trying to help other people to stay on the planet so I would have fun people to play with.

    So please drop in and play with me if you have the time! I love this Forum more than life itself. It is not just my home-base online--it has become my true home. My real-life friends are dying all around me, but there are always cool people to hang out with here, and some of my friendships here run very deep by now. I can only hope that I am able to offer as much help and support as was offered to me when I came here six years ago in the throes of opiate/opioid addiction...

    That's all for now. I must try to get some sleep, even though I am coughing up a veritable firestorm again tonight. I send love to you all, and thank you for letting me babble on and make this new start in this journal. My goal is just to get healthier and happier as time passes. I think this is still possible for me at my rapidly advancing age. This Forum helps a lot to keep me young, since I am regularly communicating with new posters (and old) who are only 18 or 20 or 30. I love having friends of all ages, especially as my old friends are kicking the bucket at a frightening rate, or developing Altzheimers. I haven't forgotten what it was like to be 18 in 1968--actually, a truly astounding, complicated, thrilling time to be alive. So please drop in and post to this old hippie if you are so inclined...

    By the way, that picture of me with the big hat on and the big smile is about 15 years old. I think it was the last pretty picture that I will ever have taken...

    I love you all! Onwards and upwards!

    About Author

    Many of you already know me well, because I am so blabby in the Forum. I have been a psychotherapist since 1983, a professional writer and editor all of my life, a jeweler, a potter, and a hot-glass artist.

    My biggest challenge has always been my depression. I first attempted suicide at the age of seven, and then again at nine. So you can see that the die was cast at an extremely early age. It's been a struggle, but I find that by trying to help other people, I always end up helping myself too.


  1. ladywolf2012
    Oh Pastor, Thank you so much for writing to me! I'm just about to take my quetiapine and try to go to sleep after raving and crying for a long time tonight. You got the essence of my issue with this immediately. Thank you so very much. I think I will be able to sleep better now.

    I wish you a great night's sleep to. You are yet another treasure in my life! All of you are!
      PastorFuzz likes this.
  2. Mick Mouse
    This was what stuck out to me......" Suppose my last real job on this planet was to try to save Jenny's life"

    What more could one ask for? A totally selfless act, with no thought of reward. Helping someone else, and then getting to stand back and watch while they take the confidence YOU gave them and move ever up-ward. As PF says, you taught her to fly. Now you get to watch her unfurl her wings and take to the air.

    All because of you. Good job, Lady!
      PastorFuzz likes this.
  3. ladywolf2012
    The next morning. I woke up feeling weird. I don't know how else to describe it. I feel as if I humiliated myself in public or on the telephone or something last night, but I didn't. I don't really care that I let my vile feelings out in here--I figure that's part of what this journal is for. And I got wonderful responses from you folks...

    Except...I didn't really do any "job" for Jenny. I helped to keep her afloat, I guess, and when a possible functional solution to her severe depression arose, I introduced her to it and urged her to do it. That's all.

    I don't expect much back. Just maybe a quick phone call? Is that expecting a lot? Too much? I know she is in the midst of processing her own stuff, probably at a highly accelerated rate.

    I guess I'm still afraid that I will no longer fit into Jenny's life. Over the years, I had had several very close and dear friends "leave me" because of my own depression, and I guess I am afraid that this is what is going to happen again. I have no evidence of that, except two days of silence from her, with just a group email coming through.

    And if I reach even deeper down into the muck, I can also recognize that I am jealous. We have been running on a parallel track for years now, me and Jenny, struggling to overcome our depressions, and trying to help each other at both the best and the worst times. Now it seems she has broken through her trap door--and I can't do the same thing she is doing because I have no money for it.

    Okay, that's enough for now. I don't regret her ability to be taking this step for herself at all. I guess I just don't want to be left behind. That's pretty straightforward.

    If I haven't heard from her by later in the day, I will call her and see what happens. I did not promise not to call her today to check in with her.

    Thanks for hearing out all this ugly stuff. I am so glad I had this journal to retreat to last night--and the first few times too. The journal is a friend I can talk to, even if no one else happens to notice my entries. And those of you who did--thank you so very much!
      Delia and PastorFuzz like this.
  4. ladywolf2012
    No, instead I decided to write her a very brief email, telling her just a tiny corner of my fear of losing her now, praising and celebrating with her for doing SO WELL on these treatments, and asking her to just call me to say hi if she feels so moved...

    So the ball's in her court again, and meanwhile, I just wait to see what happens.
  5. ladywolf2012
    Jenny finally called me around 1 today, when she got my email, and assured me that all of my fantasies about her leaving me now, etc., were total balderdash. Not surprising, really. Then we arranged that I would drop by her place at about 3.

    Meanwhile I had a nurse practitioner appointment--just my regular PCP, not the new psychiatric nurse. Good long-term friends that we are, we locked horns today over several issues, and I left her office crying too. I guess I am just sort of a mess this week.

    So I took two lorazepam and a 30-mg temazepam, and called Jenny, declined her invitation with explanation that I didn't want to bring any negativity into her space today, and then I came on home to try to sleep. I am presently sipping a wine cooler at 2:30 p.m. to hopefully help me to take a good long nap. Guess I had better eat something for breakfast today too, huh, before I try to go to sleep? I don't drink all week in preparation for the possible urine testing that never comes at my NP's office...but now I can have a glass of wine.

    Thanks for hanging in with me. I honestly don't know where this journal is heading. It's just another stage of "From Down to Up Again--a New Beginning, " I guess. Maybe it will be of interest to some of you to see what a basket case I really am when it comes to running my own life! I sometimes have great insights when it comes to other peoples' lives, but when it comes to "Physician, heal thineself." (Or, rather, "Therapist, heal thineself), I don't always manage to do a very good job of it. It is always easier and so much clearer when you are on the outside looking in...

    Cheers and ciao!
    1. Delia
      'It is always easier and so much clearer when you are on the outside looking in...'

      It is Ladywolf, It's good to share and write your experiences both the positive and negative. You are on your own journey of healing, may you find comfort in knowing so many people care about you and are here for you.
  6. trdofbeingtrd
    You might be a little to hard on yourself.

    If it helps, I don’t think anyone’s perfect, the only difference between people like you and I and the ones that seem perfect is that we don’t know how they really are. They wear thicker masks that’s all.

    I don’t trust people that supposedly are perfect.....
  7. ladywolf2012
    Nor do I...nor have I ever even to begun to claim that I am perfect.

    Yes, I do have very high standards for myself. I am 68, I have been in the mental health field since I was about 25. I really do think I should know better, I guess. But there is a terrified inner child still inside me like there is inside most of us, and she is still very lost and afraid of abandonment. Having one of my best friends die just a few weeks ago hasn't helped. I am still in deep grief and need to cut myself more slack, I guess.

    And you too! Thanks for responding! All best to you, trdofbeingtrd!
  8. PastorFuzz
    @ladywolf2012, please accept my condolences in regards to the loss of your friend. I know how that feels, dear friend, and I hate that you're suffering. You're welcome to gimme a shout via DM anytime you ever wanna talk or could use a virtual hug. And that's an open invitation. I'll always leave a light on for you
  9. Mick Mouse
    Well, you always have us. Journals are great to let shit out, but they don't offer feed-back. And we will, because we care about you. You have never, in all of the time you have been a member here, turned your back on anyone. Always been there with a word of advise or some wise counsel (I point to a recent chat that I wandered in to), always understanding, always available to listen.

    You are a good friend. So stop beating yourself up! Friends are here to help take some of the weight when the burden gets too heavy. We are here for you.

    And stop taking those drugs while drinking! Or at least don't drink while taking those.
  10. Mick Mouse
    That last bit was strictly humor, but I ran out of time to complete the edit. You are a big girl and can certainly drink once a week if you choose! LOL! Besides, who am I to talk about drinking!
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