cancer · death · mental health · self love

* A MOTHER’S LOVE *

Growing up with divorced parents is hard enough. Especially when things seem to get torn apart. Once you get older the relationship changes especially with your mother. You notice that you have a lot of her mannerisms. Whether its you looking like twins or just being one of the same person. That how it was with my mom. Like any other mother and daughter relationship you fight and argue. But at the end of the day you hug it out and say how much you love each other. For the past year and 4 days my mom was battling leukemia. Then she contracted pneumonia.

She got admitted Thanksgiving of this year and I went down to be with her like I always do. She was doing good. She had shortness of breath but it wasn’t as bad as as we thought. My brother, nephew and his fiancé went to my brothers son’s championship game and we call her on Bluetooth just to talk about it. The last thing she said to all of us was “I love you all”. 4:34am 11/28/21 I got the worst phone call of my life

“Me- Hello?
MD- Hi is this Antoinette
Me- Yes it is. Is everything ok?
MD- Hi Antoinette this is Dr. Rivera with Shadyside Surgical ICU. I don’t have good news, Marianne is gone.
Me- Wait.. Wait do you mean???
MD- I’m sorry. But your mother passed away just a few minutes ago”

My silence was met with a scream I could only feel as my heart breaking. What do you mean she’s gone. We just talked to her earlier that night. What am I do to do now? I called my brother, dad, nephew, aunt, husband. Everyone I thought I had to call. I ended up speaking with the nurse that took care of my mom during that time and she said “Antoinette, Everything went so fast. She called out and said she wasn’t feeling too good so they agreed to put her on the bipap mask and when the nurse said “are you ready” She said my mom’s eyes went into the back of head and her heart stopped. My mom was a DNR with limited restrictions. So she did not want to be on a ventilator. The MD’s said she developed a rare lung disease and caught covid pneumonia. In my heart I feel it was something different than the covid but we have to wait until the autopsy results come back. We got to see her at the hospital. We had to gown up but she looked exactly like her self. It was so hard for me to leave her there. I never liked leaving her at all. I was always scared. The week leading up to the funeral was a complete overwhelming blur. But seeing all of the love from everyone that knew her I knew she was looking down saying “Oh we about to praise his name” and we did. The hardest thing to do was my siblings and nephew and aunt closed the casket. If I’m being honest I almost threw up right there.

Its been 2 weeks and my heart still feels shattered. I feel empty. I’ve tried to call her I don’t even know how many times because we talked so much. They say time heals all wounds. But this wound won’t ever be healed. I lost my best friend. We lost our matriarch and when you lose the glue of your family it makes the whole dynamic so off it doesn’t feel right. I ended up joining my mom’s home church. She’s been asking me for years to do it, I just never felt ready. But yesterday I did. I’m ready to see what she has in store for all of us and the teachings that we learned from her. If I have one request. If your mom is still alive and even if you two are fighting. FIX THAT SHIT NOW. Because I thought I would have able to call my mom the next morning but the only thing we could do is say “see you later”

Please pray from my entire family because this pain is so unbearable. But I made her a promise before we left her room and I promised her that I would not relapse. And as god sees fit me for to continue to live. I’m not taking one drink.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Always hug our family and tell them you love them no matter what.

**MUCH LOVE**

Addiction · alcoholism · mental health · self love

**Another New Med???**

One thing no one really talks about while suffering with mental health issues is the constant medication change. I first got diagnosed with depression at the age of 16. Back then (2001) no one was open about depression. It wasn’t so much frowned upon but more of an “embarrassment “. It definitely wasn’t publicized like it is now. People either thought you were crazy or just looking for attention . So as a teenage girl already being hormonal and then on top of that getting put on antidepressants. I honestly felt like an outsider, ashamed that I would be labeled like as a weirdo or something. The 1st antidepressant I was put on at the age of 16 was Paxil. I honestly don’t remember if it made a big difference or not because I also was also put on birth control to try to stop the endometriosis that I had. I was on Paxil until I graduated from college (age 19) because I was no longer on my dad’s health insurance. So I went a good amount of years before I ended up back on antidepressants. I was 26 and just had my daughter and I just felt off. Just down in the dumps and felt like I could cry or snap at any moment. So I went to my MD and he kept trying to tell me that it was all in my head. So needless to say I switched doctors.

My new MD was very thorough with everything. Ran all kinds of blood test and he asked why I went to my other MD because he didn’t do “shit” (which was completely true). So we ended up increasing the dose of the Paxil to see if that would help at all. A few months later it felt like there was no change. The meds weren’t working because I was extremely depressed still and had no motivation for anything. In comes antidepressant #2 Prozac. Now that med did help. But after about a year and a half and two strength increases it stopped helping. It was getting to the point where I just wanted to give up because it felt like I would never find a medication that would work fully. So we ended up trying to switch it again and that was the 3rd medication change in about 3 years. We tried Lexapro next and once again that seemed to help. But around this time was when I started to drink heavily because it seemed like nothing was going right. So I decided to go see a therapist and try to talk through my depression and anxiety.

The MD was ok. Not really my cup of tea but I kept going thinking it would just take time. So here comes antidepressant #4 Zoloft. And lets just say once I was on that med is when the shit show of my life really started. I would throw up about 45 minutes of taking it and it was like that for a couple months. I let therapist know and he just kept saying “it takes time. I don’t want to switch you to something else” That’s when I started to feel helpless. I just wanted to feel happy and it seemed nothing would work, other than alcohol. Zoloft + alcohol= self destructive Antoinette. I really didn’t care about anything at that point. I was so hurt by things that was going on in life at that moment that I felt extremely exhausted with life. After a few months of living in that mind frame I just gave up. I stopped taking the meds correctly and tried every other day thinking that would help. But it didn’t. So the drinking was in full force because that seemed to be the only thing that would help. And all it did was destroy my life. That’s what led up to my breakdown.

At the mental facility I checked myself into the psychiatrist that was there was awesome. He was very patient and kind. So we tried going back to using Paxil. So when I got out of there my primary MD kept me on it because it seemed to help. Whelp that fairytale didn’t last to long and as of this moment right now I am on antidepressant change #6. I have been on trintellex for about 2 years now and it was helping. Then covid hit and my depression and anxiety went through the rough (just like everyone else) So my strength got increased and a “booster med” was added to help. Wellbutrin was added to the mix and so far it seems to be ok. But still having all of this stress and lack of self worth it feels like I might has to change again. But I really don’t want to. Having to go through that whole routine of waiting for a month or so for the meds to work is complete shit and it sucks. So now I am trying to find something to help calm me down that is not a medication. And this blog has definitely helped.

So no matter what your situation is. Whether you are medicated or not. Its still a battle trying to get your mental health to a point where it doesn’t consume your entire life. No matter what you are going through. Just remember that you are going to be ok. It won’t seem like it. Hell it still doesn’t feel like it for me but I’m hoping that connecting with people going through the same thing as me will help break that stigma embarrassment that we feel.

*Much love*

Addiction · alcoholism · music · self love

**BRAND NEW ME**

You know how on New Year’s day you see people posting “NEW YEAR NEW ME”. But within the first couple months of the New Year they go back to the same old routine and their “New Me” disappeared. Well that is me I am “people”. Just like everyone else in the world we set out to improve ourselves and we do good for a little bit but eventually you get comfortable again and just give up. That’s recovery. Finding your “new me” living sober.

It’s so hard trying to find yourself no matter what the age you are at, but trying to find who you are sober is extremely difficult. For the longest time I have always put everyone else’s feelings before mine and the only thing that made me feel like me was vodka. I’m gonna call her “Jackie” because my vodka of choice was Jacquin’s. For years Jackie was my best friend when I felt like no one else was there, she made me happy and helped mask the pain I had within myself. So when I finally cut Jackie off I had to find a new way of making myself happy. I had no clue how to do that. I was going to AA meetings and going to my group counseling and everything was going good until it felt like some of the people closest to me wanted to control my recovery. And you would think that would make me want to just say f**k it and start drinking again. But it didn’t. Because deep down I would be more disappointed in myself if I did that. But the resentment was there ( and honestly still have some resentment I am trying to get through). Going through the motions of learning how to live life sober I felt like a toy soldier and just had to “fall in line” because that’s what I felt like I had to do in order to stay sober and make sure everyone else was happy. At that point being sober seemed more like a chore than anything else because I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was just falling in line of everyone else’s expectations. And I knew something had to change big time.

These last 4 and a half years of my recovery has taught me so many things. And this past year dealing with life as a recovering alcoholic, living in this jacked up world of the covid pandemic and my mom’s cancer treatment. I know that I don’t want to just settle and keeping falling in line. I want more things out of life. I want to go back to school to get into addiction counseling and I want to just be happy for my family. But more importantly I want to be happy for my damn self. The mom in me feels guilty for trying to find my own self love because my kids come first. But if I can’t find my own self love how can I show my kids that no matter what always love yourself and be true to yourself. I have not been true to my self at all. Mainly because I’m afraid of other peoples reactions or feeling guilty trying to love myself. As a mom it feels like its a crime to want time to yourself or be in anything else other than mom / wife mode. When it is ok for me to love myself without feeling like I’m not a good person because other peoples feelings won’t be forefront of my life? When is it ok for me to become the Antoinette that I am striving to be without worrying about everyone else’s feelings? When is it ok for me to love me first?

Now…. Now is my time. I can no longer fall in line to everyone else’s reality of my own life. I may lose people who I love by trying to become my true self but you can only take so much before things explode. The old saying goes “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Its time for me to find my “brand new me” once and for all no matter the outcome. This recovery and healing journey has made me stronger. In my heart I know I am strong, but my own actions have not been reflecting what I feel in my heart. Welp… Its time for a change.

Watch my glow up 😉

**MUCH LOVE**

“It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised if I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’d be known to you too long
If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
And it ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free”

*Brand New me
– Alicia Keys