First of all, I feel compelled to say, I do not like labels. Bipolar, Alcoholic, Drug Addict, Anorexic, etc. I say this because I am at a point in my life where I do not want my illness to define me. On the other hand, I have always felt my life-long illness needs to be recognized and dealt with. Enough with this, my brain cannot go any further with this topic right now.
However, tonight, I am wondering why I continue to see patterns of addictive behaviors in my life. First of all, what defines addictive behaviors?
Any activity, substance, object, or behavior that has become the major focus of a person’s life to the exclusion of other activities, or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially is considered an addictive behavior. A person can become addicted, dependent, or compulsively obsessed with anything.
Twenty years ago, after my rape, it was alcohol. I drank until after the last call, begging the bartender for just one more. I was that girl. and that led to sex with nameless, faceless men. Those ‘addictions’ went on for several years. At one point I found myself attending AA meetings. I got nothing from them. I could not relate to anyone in the room. I quit after 6 months and guess what- I did not turn to the bottle. Nope. Exercise. excessive exercise. and then I got bored with that. Onto something new and a bit odd. In a bad, depressed state living with my parents in their furnished basement…my new addiction? Television. A highlighter and the TV Guide became my new best friends. I would highlight in that sweet little TV Guide every show I planned to watch that day. and the next day. and the next. Soon I moved onto cross-stitching. That lasted about 9 months. Then it was the internet. mid 90s i think. online chat rooms. staying up all night. sleeping all day.
When my sister got sick with an incurable disease, I researched it like a mad person. I spent hours, days and weeks reading stories and articles, trying to figure it all out and I could never quite put the pieces of the puzzle together.
In 1998 I began my career in the film industry. Work became my addiction. I secretly loved (and still do) the 12-19 hour days. the drama. the magic and everything else that one finds in my line of work. However, when I’m not working, for example, the film shoots for 2 months and I might be off for a month or so. I have to find something to fill the time. Let’s see, there was eBay, buying and selling constantly. Online social networks. Friendster then Myspace and now Facebook. For the past three years, on and off, blogging. books. dvds. and organizing them in alphabetical order. Oh, and I cannot leave out shopping. If the money is there- I spend it. And then I usually end up selling whatever I bought to pay bills. recently, my addiction has been word games: Scramble, Scrabble, Pathwords, all found at Facebook and highly addictive but now I’m tired of them and looking for something new.
And now my addiction is fire. no, please do not call 911. i am not an arsonist. i’m talking about this kind of fire:
I believe in healthy addictions but I also know they are escapes and that is my problem tonight. How do I stop escaping and just be, find peace, my center. and, is this part of my mental illness?
I’m open to suggestions or comments but let me tell you this first. I am flat broke, hence the donation button on my page. That cancels out yoga, acupuncture, therapy and anything involving money. I should also note my swain is/was a practicing Buddhist. He has tried to teach me breathing exercises and meditating, however, I cannot focus for more than a minute or two. racing thoughts maybe? avoiding something painful? i simply do not know.