The Bowl of Cranberries

From the kitchen he asks, “Are these cranberries any good?”

I replied that no they are not good and just toss them.

It dawned on me he was in there doing dishes. It’s 9:00 am on Saturday morning and he’s already at it. While I am sipping coffee and writing in my blog. Checking to make sure my emails from new business venture are coming through and prepping my brain for today’s agenda.

One client. Well let me rephrase that. More like one therapy session. Because truthfully I get more in my work then a satisfied eyelash client gets. I get friendships and camaraderie. I get to listen to each person share about a life story on a daily basis and that inspires me. I also get to share stories with each of them. I wouldn’t change my career for the world. My clients/friends have became my family.

What I chose to write about today was a thought I had yesterday about mental health. I have recently learned many new things about the areas involving abuse and trauma.

I look through my timeline with drinking and my timeline without. When I was told that trauma/ptsd is often evident in drunkenness I decided to do more research and compare some experiences.

Come to find out, it’s often triggered when the brain is stimulated by alcohol.

I can admit with brutal honesty the feeling of the fight or flight mode. It’s quite an interesting research project as well. In a moment of a trapped, caged, or captured feeling; A past memory is triggered and your brain tells your body to protect itself and run. Go. Get away so you can be safe.

I do believe in my opinion, law enforcement could possibly need more thorough training on mental health and addiction. Regardless of the person knowing better than to drink or do drugs, they should understand that the drunk is likely just protecting him or her self. An automatic instinct. I could be wrong but I often struggle to believe it took 3 officers and 3 tases to keep me down. Especially having been told how slow the alcohol had made me and that my trying to runaway looked liked a runner in slow motion.

But, it is what it is and I lost all credibility because I was intoxicated.

I understand that makes ones job in law enforcement more difficult, but I believe with all of my heart and soul, that dependent on the arrests, the experience alone can most definitely be a traumatizing one.

I think back to the end of my last relapse and I often think that it was a bit extreme on the officer’s part. I also believe they were just doing the best they could.

My relapse ended with three shots by a taser. Three times in a row because I would not stop and stay on the ground in my driveway. Was I drunk? Yes. Was I blacked out? Yes. Do I remember it? No. I recall the one tase and comparing it to being cremated alive.

I didn’t even know I went to a hospital to get stitches from my head that had landed with dead weight on the cement. Of course jail followed the stitches. I remember part of the shower experience and the smell of lice shampoo that every new inmate has to use.

I remember my head hurting while I laid on a thin mat on a concrete jail floor. No. You don’t get a pillow. I opened my eyes and saw a room full of women in the same color of jail scrubs that I was wearing. I remember the smell of blood and what blonde hair I had looked red.

A woman hopped off her top bunk and asked me who gave me a shiner. Apparently I had a black eye too. I felt my forehead and it was bandaged. I still had no memory of what it was from or why it happened. That’s the scary part of blacking out and waking up in jail. Had you killed someone? Drinking, driving and car accident? Hurt someone in a dark rage? Literally no clue and no one who could or would answer you.

I saw 2 silver toilets. Open to the public. Definitely not allowed to have any pride in a jail pod. I’d say there were 15 girls when I was in there. A couple of us waiting to see a judge. None of them knowing why I was there either. But more than willing to show me the ropes.

I still felt somewhat drunk. I had drank from early morning September 11th until the fall around 10:00 pm that night. ( according to the arrest report and my family) I wreaked of blood and booze.

What will be happening next? I asked another inmate. She explained that I’d eventually go before the judge and it would determine what my charges would be and if I would be allowed bail.

Be allowed bail? What in the hell did I do? Talk about torture for my brain.

I tried to enjoy the morning recreation time. Move from one concrete room to another concrete room that housed one television and one metal picnic table. I sat sick, dizzy and in pain on the floor as I tried to just put pieces together of why the hell I was there.

Does my husband know where I am at? What did my son see? What does he know. Is he okay? Is my husband okay. My coworkers. Oh my God I tried to work. I recall telling a very reputable, highly respected new client that I could not finish her lash session. It was a session for her wedding. God. Please tell me everyone is okay. Please God. I’m begging you to tell me I didn’t ruin everything.

That was a tiny piece of that experience in 2018 and you’ll be able to learn more because it will be in the book, Saké and Pot.

The last drinking binge. The day I woke up in jail smelling of blood and booze. Not to mention missing chunks of skin on my shoulder, and my legs and foot. Why are there burns on my belly and two on my back?

Chapter One. Damn It Man.

Why do you always get so drunk?

Well that’s a million dollar question now isn’t it? If you google it you can find many answers to why or what causes it.

Then why wouldn’t you just set a limit for yourself? You’re a smart person. You mean to tell me you can’t control your drinking?

You’re correct. I am a smart person and no I can not control my drinking. I tried that twice and failed and I believe it’s best I believe in the science and medical research that is proven that some folks just need to remain abstinent. I myself being one of those folks.

Sure I wish I could share cocktails among my peers at happy hour and take the edge off but I have a tape to play through first and it definitely does not show happy hour being very successful for anyone short or long term. You would all eventually quit inviting me because of the mass havoc I’d wreak.

So back to the original question as to why I get so drunk is because once I’m drunk my brain thinks differently than yours. My brain will do whatever it can do in order to stay that was as long as possible. It’s so euphoric and tingly good that no one would ever want to leave that state of mind numbing bliss. No one being this one. I wish I could just have a glass of wine. Hell, even a bottle of wine with impunity would be nice but it has proven on several occasions that’s not the way it works for me. Not wine, not Vodka, Whiskey, or fireball and definitely not Rum. Damn it man.

2020 @allofme592310406 Lynn Rilean Smith

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/related/problem_alcohol_use.asp

See Reference from ptsd.va.gov below.

Buy It

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

He leaned into my left ear and whispered “Buy it.”

When I woke up today I had two choices. Stay in bed and be sad, again. Or get up, throw my hair into a greasy wad on top of my head, wear my best pair of pajamas to the Goodwill store downtown and drop off the last box of his shirts.

It’s been two years that I’ve struggled to part with this damn box. It’s full of his favorite shirts. One of them still smells of his cologne. I chose to keep it and hang it back up since he only wore it briefly.

God I miss him. I miss him so much. I can’t fathom walking into my closet and not seeing that box. What’s left of rational me knows what to do. But the grieving me is trying to pack rational me into a box like his shirts are in.

I agreed to start with the box first. My sister is a grief counselor in New York City. She says there’s no timeline for grieving and that only a basic graph of the grieving process exists. She also says not to be so hard on myself. The graph is based on experiences and research. She’s been comforting and annoying at the same time. I often just want to let the phone ring instead of answering it. I don’t want to talk about him like he’s gone. Why can’t they understand that?

I’ve not been ready to move out of mere existing. I faked my way through a date last week just to appease my concerned friends and family.

Today didn’t feel fake at all. Today I felt him beside me from the moment I woke up and stretched my way to the bathroom. I’ve been arguing with a ghost for 2 years now. I pee and he points his finger at me. I argue and shut him down. “No.” “I’m not ready to let you go.” I say loudly.

Every morning we have this same conversation. Day after day.

Please no. I’m not ready.

I stood in the mirror looking at this woman I’ve become. Barely a shell of what use to be. I usually see him reflecting back at me. “Where are you?” I chant. This isn’t what you promised me. You don’t get to just leave me here. You promised me coffee dates in bed every morning for the rest of my life. I’m here. You’re not. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m afraid of my own shadow now because you were my backbone.

Usually I march to the kitchen and start a cup of coffee. Not today. Today I stood and stared at the laugh lines around my eyes. He added to them with his sense of humor. The black circles under my eyes reminding me he’s gone. He is fading more and more with each day that passes.

I feel like I have forgotten all my basic life skills. I see no point in a toothbrush if he isn’t here to kiss me. Who needs shampoo? Not me. Now that he isn’t here to remind me how sweet my hair smells, whats the point? I might as well donate all this body lotion and perfume with his shirts. Why do I need soft skin if he isn’t here to touch me anymore?

The people in my life keep trying to sell me things I refuse to buy. I understand they genuinely care and want what’s best for me but I’m not ready to buy any of it. I just want him back. He’s the only thing that ever made sense in my entire life.

I feel the water filling up my tear pails. Heavy and painful. I squint to release some of the pressure.

Out of nowhere he shows up and leans into my left ear and whispers, “Buy it.”

“Lou, please buy it.” “Buy it, he begs of me.” Buy everything they are selling you; I can’t stand to watch you hurting.” I feel a gentle pressure on top of my shoulders. As if he has laid his hands on top of them. I close my eyes and watch this scene unfold so I can memorize it.

He reaches his right hand up and strokes my hair out of my face. He leans down to kiss the corner of my forehead. I can’t quit sobbing. I feel like this is goodbye. How do I breathe without you?

I love you Lou. I’ll live forever in the laugh lines by your eyes. Now take the box. I don’t live there anymore.

Buy It

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

Buy It

He leaned into my left ear and whispered “Buy it.” 

When I woke up today I had two choices. Stay in bed and be sad, again. Or get up, throw my hair into a greasy wad on top of my head, wear my best pair of pajamas to the Goodwill store downtown, and drop off the last box of his shirts.

It’s been two years that I’ve struggled to part with this damn box. It’s full of his favorite shirts. One of them still smelled of his cologne. I chose to keep it and hung it back up since he only wore it briefly. 

God I miss him. I miss him so much. I can’t fathom walking into my closet and not seeing that box. What’s left of rational me knows what to do. But the grieving me is trying to pack rational me into a box like his shirts are in. 

I agreed to start with the box first. My sister is a grief counselor in New York City. She says there’s no timeline for grieving and that only a basic graph of the grieving process exists. She also says not to be so hard on myself. The graph is based on experiences and research. She’s been comforting and annoying at the same time. I often just want to let the phone ring instead of answering it. I don’t want to talk about him like he’s gone. Why can’t they understand that? 

I’ve not been ready to move out of mere existing. I faked my way through a date last week just to appease my concerned friends and family. 

Today didn’t feel fake at all. Today I felt him beside me from the moment I woke up and stretched my way to the bathroom. I’ve been arguing with a ghost for 2 years now. I pee and he points his finger at me. I argue and shut him down. “No.” “I’m not ready to let you go.” I say loudly. 

Every morning we have this same conversation. Day after day. 

Please no. I’m not ready.

I stood in the mirror looking at this woman I’ve become. Barely a shell of what use to be. I usually see him reflecting back at me. “Where are you?” I chant. This isn’t what you promised me. You don’t get to just leave me here. You promised me coffee dates in bed every morning for the rest of my life. I’m here. You’re not. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m afraid of my own shadow now because you were my backbone. 

Usually I march to the kitchen and start a cup of coffee. Not today. Today I stood and stared at the laugh lines around my eyes. He added to them with his sense of humor. The black circles under my eyes reminding me he’s gone. He is fading more and more with each day that passes. 

I feel like I have forgotten all my basic life skills. I see no point in a toothbrush if he isn’t here to kiss me. Who needs shampoo? Not me. Now that he isn’t here to remind me how sweet my hair smells, whats the point? I might as well donate all this body lotion and perfume with his shirts. Why do I need soft skin if he isn’t here to touch me anymore? 

The people in my life keep trying to sell me things I refuse to buy. I understand they genuinely care and want what’s best for me but I’m not ready to buy any of it. I just want him back. He’s the only thing that ever made sense in my entire life.

I feel the water filling up my tear pails. Heavy and painful. I squint to release some of the pressure. 

Out of nowhere he shows up and leans into my left ear and whispers, “Buy it.” 

“Lou, please buy it.” “Buy it, he begs of me.” Buy everything they are selling you; I can’t stand to watch you hurting.” I feel a gentle pressure on top of my shoulders. As if he has laid his hands on top of them. I close my eyes and watch this scene unfold so I can memorize it. 

He reaches his right hand up and strokes my hair out of my face. He leans down to kiss the corner of my forehead. I can’t quit sobbing. I feel like this is goodbye. How do I breathe without you? 

I love you Lou. I’ll live forever in the laugh lines by your eyes. Now take the box. I don’t live there anymore.

Buy It

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean