My name is Kathy and I’m an ex drunk. Up until October of 2020, I would drink at least four days a week. The app Drizly became a close friend and I was swigging tequila like water until I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Due to the medication I take daily, I can’t drink anymore. Well I could but I would be putting my life at risk and it’s not that serious. But during the past 14 months since the last time I’ve taken a drink, I had the time to self reflect and learned how dependent I was on alcohol.
I started drinking at the age of 15 and my first drink was some rot gut wine called Night Train and looking back, that shit was nasty as hell. But I liked the affects of alcohol. It made me lively and witty. Brave and bold. I was too naive to realize that I was all those things without liquor but life is a continuous learning experience.
Over the years, I drank many liquors but my favorite became tequila. My homey, my boo. Mixed with any type of juice, it was a toss up between Patron, Don Julio, or Hornitos and I drank tequila for six years running. After work and the weekends. Holidays. Especially last year when my brother died which is so ironic because he was an alcoholic. And I was on the road to alcoholism too until I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Or cursed depending on I how I feel.
My mind has been so clear since I’ve stopped drinking. So clear that I can see that I was a straight alcoholic. A highly functioning alcoholic but a drunk all the same. I’m just blessed that I didn’t have to go into rehab.
I can admit that I miss tequila. The taste, the feeling, the euphoria of being high and giggling but I love life more. And that’s my confession for the day. I used to be a drunken sot but not anymore.
December 16, 2019 was a perfectly ordinary day for me. I got up, washed my ass, painted my face and went to work. When I got off, I went to Target to pick up the set of Lincoln Logs I had ordered for my grandson for Christmas and purchased some other stuff because women are gatherers by nature and I couldn’t resist. Then I went home, cooked chicken tacos, talked shit with my children, and went to bed. But little did I know that in less than 30 minutes, my life as I knew it would change forever.
I had a seizure during those 30 minutes and when I came to after the seizure, my house was in chaos. My babies were crying, ambulance attendants everywhere, & Diddy (my cat) was hiding under the bed. I barely knew my name and didn’t have a clue about anything. I was rushed immediately to the hospital where I spent two days receiving a battery of tests on my brain. All the CT and MRI scans came back normal so I was released and told to rest. I went back to work after a few days and continued to live my perfectly ordinary existence.
I thought everything was fine until October 17, 2020. Once again it was a perfectly ordinary day. It was a Saturday and I decided to make some beef stew for dinner. I was missing several key ingredients so I went to the Walmart down the street from my house. I purchased my items and remember standing outside waiting for an Uber and then nothing until waking up in an ambulance on my way to the University of Chicago Hospital. I had another seizure and if it wasn’t for the kindness of strangers, lord knows what would have happened to me. I still had my purse, wallet and cell phone although I believe if it happened now, I would have woken up with nothing because people are extra grimy these days but I’m digressing so let me chill.
When I awakened from this seizure, I was scared as hell and started wilding out, trying to fight the ambulance attendants and one of these dudes referred to me as “combative.” Wouldn’t you be combative if you woke up clueless and didn’t even know what year it was because you had a grand mal seizure? Sorry motherfucker.
But when I got to the hospital, everyone else were empathetic. I was eventually admitted and diagnosed with epilepsy a month before my 50th birthday. I’m a special individual: first seizure a month after my 49th birthday and then diagnosed with epilepsy a month before the big 50☠️.
Since then, I have had two seizures, the next one on November 14, 2020 and the last one March 1, 2021. I’m currently taking 3000mg of levetiracetam which is the highest dosage recommended for this medication and it’s working because I haven’t had a seizure in almost a year but the side effects are something else.
Constantly tired, broken down and worn out. If I go to the grocery store, I feel like I’ve worked a full day of work. I’ve left two jobs this year because of the side effects of this necessary evil I need for my body and is currently trying to wrap my mind around the possibility that working a regular, on-site job might not be an option for me anymore. But I refuse to believe that. I’m only 51 years old and I know some younger folks believe that I have one foot in the graveyard but 51 isn’t old by a long shot.
I still have plenty of time left on this planet. I’m going to work on getting this fat off my ass, become more mobile and live my life. Epilepsy is not going to ruin my possibilities of which there are many. I’m going to keep striving and living because I have so much to live for. My children. My grandson and my new grand baby who’s due in the spring. My friends and other family members. My funky ass cat who works my nerves but I love to pieces. And myself because I want to be an old lady with snow white locs with a hand carved cane in the shape of a cat at the top. Telling people to get the fuck off lawn and still giggling madly at silly shit. The last two years of my life have been filled with so much turmoil, grief and anxiety but I’m still here to tell my story. And I’m grateful.
Depression is a terrible thing because it creeps up when you least expect it. You could be having a perfectly good day and memories from the past will swarm your brain and you will feel like crawling up in a corner and hiding. Hiding from the pain, the confusion, the chaos of your feelings.
My feelings are in turmoil these days because I have lost so many people in the last few years to death. My brother, the last of my original family. My boos Trena, Genial, and Mikki, my around the way girls from around the way. So many people I loved and cherished that I loved with all my fiery soul and now they are gone and its nothing I can do about it. Because you can fight many things in life, certain illnesses, job losses, relationships that should ended eons ago but death? You can’t fight that bitch. You just learn to cope and move on with your life the best you can but depression will always plague you.
And even if death hasn’t plagued your life, depression can slap you in the face and fuck up your life. American culture is a perfect example of the ills of depression.
I know that we live in America, the place of Horatio Alger tales where people come from humble backgrounds and somehow, someway through hard work and perseverance, manage to ride off into the sunset and that’s a beautiful tale. Unfortunately, for most people, their lives will be filled with obstacles on the path to greatness, and for some that greatness will never come. So they find themselves falling into the depths of hell which is called depression.
Americans are supposed to constantly happy and blowing sunshine out of their asses or they aren’t considered real “patriots.” So they walk around with fake smiles and harass complete strangers at grocery stores, parks, gas stations and various other public places. Looking like complete maniacs but hey its America though.
Please don’t think I am making fun of people suffering from depression because I am not but I am tired of people taking out their issues on complete strangers. I have been through the bowels of hell in the past few years of my life but it never occurred to me to go outside of my home and show my entire ass to the world. I just coped and got some therapy.
Did it help? Yes it did. Did the depression go away? Not yet but I am hopeful because walking up sad and mad daily is not a good thing. And all I want is to be happy at least 98% of the time and that is I want for other folks. Just be happy, eat good every day and live their lives. Life is too short and precious to dwell in misery. Be happy my people.
It was a year in October that I was diagnosed with epilepsy and since then, I’ve worked two jobs. Both jobs I’ve walked away from because the medication I take to control the seizures makes me so tired and discombobulated that I’m useless. The medication I’m taking is levetiracetam and the side effects are loss of strength and energy, sleepiness amongst several others.
I’m always sleepy now and have taken more naps now than the three times I was pregnant. I’m clumsy as hell and feel generally lethargic most of the time. Which is not good in the field that I’m in which is clerical/administrative. To be in that line of work, one must be detailed oriented, attentive, and on point at all times because one little mistake can be costly. But it’s hard to be attentive when you are taking medication that makes you nod out like a dope friend.
There are some who will say that I should try another medication but when it comes to seizure medications, it’s not that simple. My neurologist would have to wean me off the levi shit and then put me on another medication that will also come with several side effects and that is too much. What few brain cells I have left will not be experimented on.
So today I finally came to the realization that working a traditional job will not be an option for me anymore and that realization makes me feel so sad and useless. I fought the welfare system to obtain a bachelors degree that would make me more desirable in the job field and now 15 years later at the age of 51, a medication has rendered me useless.
I know I can work from home but I like getting out and about, going to lunch, watching people, meeting new people, having social interactions with people. I’m only 51 and this is supposed to be my life now? This is some straight bullshit.
Some little girls wanted to grow up and be a housewife. I wanted to grow up and work in a fancy office and earn my own money. To not be dependent on anyone. I’ve applied for disability and was turned down but eventually I will get it but damn. All I wanted was my own economic autonomy but my body is not cooperating. And I’m pissed, sad, and numb.