Life feels good. Yes that is right! It is me saying life feels good for the first time since 2009 and the loss of my career, and my crashing and burning due to drinking, and not understanding how impossible drinking was going to be for me in the aftermath of my gastric bypass surgery, and the subsequent horrific legal consequences, devastating impact on our relationships, financial hardships, two more major surgeries, and all the other blah blah blah that has been recounted here ad nauseam for the last three plus years.
In early December I finally did the psychiatric version of the proverbial descent to the "bottom" and spent three days in the hospital......not just any old hospital and not for surgery....I was in a psychiatric hospital and that experience plus the cumulative impact of insights, changes, and learning from my approximately a year and a half of psychotherapy have finally born fruit.
The real game changer was the first ever in my life psychiatric consult. Serendipity or providence had it that I, by the luck of the draw, wound up in the care of a woman, a psychiatrist, who had experience treating patients who had undergone gastric bypass surgery. She is informed by a small but growing body of science that indicates that some people who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery are experiencing a mysterious deficiency of a chemical which is a subject of fairly esoteric study in neurology: L-methyl folate. For some reason some gastric bypass patients are terrifically deficient in this substance. The thing is, you see, without sufficient L-methyl folate the neurochemicals which control mood are incapable of functioning. Besides a number of more subtle medical changes this can create, it can result most commonly in deep and profound depression.......depression that is intractable.....depression that cannot be effected by typical treatments, even medications, because one is physiologically incapable of the neurochemical transactions which control mood. She started me on a prescription medication that provides the missing substance, and the change I have experienced has been revolutionary and almost immediate.
I now experience my past, whether good times or traumas, in a reality that I describe as being "documentary-like." Whether it is issues from my childhood, or my failed marriage and the resulting virtual loss of my kids, or my surgeries, or my career's ending, or the police and jail, or whatever, I am aware of what happened...but it is not NOW. NOW IS NOW!!!!! My present is what is now. I know this must sound silly, and like I am stating obvious realities, but believe it or not this is an entirely new reality for me.
Her hypothesis seems to be that I likely have struggled with PTSD and depression since childhood, and have never really had support in dealing with it. It lead to my self-medicating with drugs in my youth and eventually with extensive use of alcohol as that became more legally convenient. Then the gastric bypass surgery made my ability to process alcohol virtually impossible and simultaneously lead to the loss of this chemical crucial to mood control, leaving me in a hopeless but fortunately quite readily reversible situation.
I am amazed at the miraculous nature of my transformation, but my life has felt changed profoundly.
The psychiatrist I saw also started me on a low dose (10mg. prozak b.i.d.) of SSRI but that is only beginning to kick in. The change I have experienced was almost immediate with the replacement of the L-methyl folate. She suggested the SSRI kind of almost "in case," suggesting that likely my issue was not serotonin deficiency (due to my aerobic exercise) but rather my body's inability to use the serotonin and other mood control neurochemicals due to this crucial deficiency. This is a new adventure. I've never had psychiatric medication before and I will give it a few months trial to see if it is of any benefit, although it appears at this point, it is the replacement of this missing chemical that is the critical puzzle piece that has put me back together.
The psychiatrist has also been able to give me insight into the effects of alcohol in the aftermath of gastric bypass. She told me of one patient who had literally passed out in the midst of an important professional business meeting after one glass of wine, leading to the loss of her career. To say the least I had been consuming way more than one glass of wine per day (today is now 709 days sober......my two year sobriety date is only just over three weeks away!!!!!:)
I am just beginning to feel my way...we are beginning to feel our ways......to finding out how we use this wonderful holiday gift to rebuild our relationships and strengthen our family, but finally our downward spiral is reversed and we are climbing again. None of us knows where we will soar........I do know I awaken glad to be alive and glad to be me for the first time in over three years.
All the best,
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.