Hi! My name's Rae and I'm an addict!
Well, former addict now. Once upon a time, I was hooked on cocaine, amphetamines, ketamine and alcohol. At one point, I pretty much blew my brain thanks to everything I was taking. I was hooked and I loved it. I didn't care that my skin was yellow, my hair was thinning and I was on the verge of losing my liver.
Addicts can be selfish fuckers. I didn't care who was picking up the tab as long as I was drinking, eating, getting high and had a place to sleep. I didn't care if my hand was in your pocket. Hell, you'd better count your fingers once I was done with you. I didn't care as long as I was as high as a kite and had something to bring me back down. Some people may remember me from those days and, to them, I'm sorry and I thank you for staying beside me and believing in me.
For the most part I was a functioning addict. I held down a job and had a relationship. But one day the lights went out. Something in my brain flicked off and on and I found myself spiralling downwards. Hallucinations, shakes, I had the lot. Whether it was an overdose or just my brain deciding it had had enough I don't know. I was admitted to hospital for brain scans and eventually put onto medication to level everything out. One friend dutifully took me to the hospital whenever I needed to go. We spent a lot of time discussing life, the universe and mental health. To him I will be forever grateful. That was in 2004. A couple of years ago I was finally diagnosed with bipolar, something which may be a result of the “breakdown”. I'm still on medication and may be for the rest of my life. I still hallucinate from time to time. The worst episodes see me locking myself away in the windowless bathroom.
It took me four years to get back on my feet. Four years of not working, not writing, not doing a lot of anything. I hated myself. I felt useless and broken, a waste of space and a drain on resources. Several times I contemplated suicide. Eventually a wonderful person in the north took a chance on me and gave me a job. I was finally able to feel something akin to pride.
I've moved since then and am still in touch with the wonderful people from the north. I work another job now. My first novel has been published, my second will be out in October and I'm currently working on my third. Occasionally my brain still flips out, still breaks down. So I still have to be ultra careful, not pushing myself too hard. Occasionally I forget and everything stops.
Why am I writing this? Why am I airing my dirty laundry? Because, no matter how you're feeling, life's not useless. If you feel like crap remember that the sun will rise tomorrow. If you feel like life has lost its lustre, go and find something which inspires you. Never give up no matter how bad you feel. There will always be bad times but there is hope. There are people who are willing to help you. Tomorrow is just another day, another step closer to the person you want to be, another chance to do what you want to do. No matter where you want to be, keep going.
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!