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Feelings Of Addiction

Jun 1, 2008
I had not experienced the feelings of uselessness, hopelessness and waking up in the morning not wanting to get out of bed because I felt worthless to anyone in my life especially my family. Many mornings and nights I wished I would die but didn't have the guts to take my own life in twenty years.

I hit bottom from an alcoholic and drug addiction and as I slowly crawled out of a pit filled with pain, guilt, shame and disgust for myself I started to see a light as big as a pin head, something inside of me fought to keep crawling out of that pit. It took time and a lot of help from professionals but I remember so clearly the first morning I woke and I really sincerely wanted to open my eyes and keep fighting for a life for and with my family. I realized I not only was living a life of hell in an addiction but also a life of pure depression. Once I got the alcohol and drugs out of my body the depression lifted and I found myself actually happy.

The first indication was waking up in the morning and without thinking about it I would get right out of bed, open the blinds and the curtains and I had grown to love the sunshine. Once I was up I couldn't wait to start my day. I hadn't felt that in years and one morning I stopped dead in my tracks while I was getting my clothes ready and I just knelt down and cried because I was feeling so good about That was fine I was the only one who needed to understand it.

From then on as I was driving to work I would think about how lucky I was. I had a great family and a job I loved; how much better could life get? We were by no means well off as far as money, in fact, we lived paycheck to paycheck but we had a roof over our heads and food on the table and we were both working. My husband was so happy that he was able to live a dream come true by owing his own restaurant and I just wanted him to be happy. This went on for years and the gratitude I had on a daily basis, I thanked god for giving me life and happiness.

Things began to change since I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I began to change, I could see my personality changing. Things about myself that were who I was; for example, I used humor as a way of dealing with situations and for me it helped. My sense of humor wasn't there like it used to be. I would cry when I was alone and feel like I was losing myself but when I was around my family or people I would pretend like everything was fine and I had it under control.

I started talking to people and doing some reading about people especially woman who had lived with depression. I was really having a hard time admitting I was experiencing some depression because I knew depressions since I lived with it for twenty years. I thought you had to be that low to actually be depressed. I was wrong; it comes to people in all different ways. There is post pardon depression, pre-menopause and post menopause depression. There is depression that just hits a person one day and for me I would look for any physical problems that may be going on first and examining that before I would listen to "you're dealing with a lot right now and you need to reach out to your family they have been there for you always and will be here for you now." I didn't want to burden my family with one more thing. They were just learning to accept the Alzheimer's and all the changes that go along with that. Well once the crying started and I was staying in bed for 2 to 3 days in a row because I felt worthless I know I had to come to terms with it.

I had been seeing several doctors but my doctor in Rochester after listening to me cry and tell her what a burden I had become to everyone and how their lives were affected I was basically telling her that if I died today I wasn't afraid of that. She immediately told my husband and me I was severely depressed and needed treatment for that before we could talk about everything else. So we did the medication thing and when we finally found the right mix things began to look up.

Now it was time to rid myself of the so called "shame" I felt for being depressed. It is an illness just like any illness that needs to be treated and if people like me keep ignoring that it only gets worse to the point of me wanting to live. This is the worst thing we can do for ourselves and our families that I have seen with depression that leads to suicide has devastating effects on everyone. They start looking at themselves and putting blame on them. I should have done more, I should have seen it coming, and this can destroy many lines. We don't want that, we want to treat our illness just as we would if it was cancer, diabetes or any other chronic illness. We need to love ourselves enough to make life better for us and out loved ones because we all deserve it.
About the Author
Eileen DeClemente was 11 years old when she took her first drink. Alive is her courageous story of an addiction so consuming it nearly killed her and destroyed her family. To anyone who has ever battled an addiction, and to the people who have loved them. This story is for you, Eileen is Alive.
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