Friday, 21 June 2013

This 'Sober' Life: A little bit of honesty.

Firstly, I just want to warn you dear blog reader that this is quite a long post! So if you are skiving at work you may want to lie to your colleagues that you have a super important email that is going to take up your time for the next five minutes and you must not be disturbed. Similarly, if you are on a break reading this on your phone you may wish to ensure you have a freshly brewed cuppa and some choccie biccies to hand (maybe a phone charger too).


Ready? Here we go...
 
OK so why am I writing this? Well firstly and mainly as a way of sort of therapy I guess. Any writer  / blogger will tell you the relief that comes with getting ones thoughts or emotions written down and this for me lifts a big weight off of my shoulders even if nobody ever reads it. It is here for me to look back at if I wish and it is my thoughts written down in black and white for me to make sense of.  Secondly, I am writing this so that people close to me can read it, know what's going on with me without me having to explain things over and over again or face to face 'cause I can't deal with that! and as I see it, it is my close friends and family are who matter and they read my blog so therefore will read what I want to say, in my own words with no interruptions. Thirdly, if my post is read by somebody who feels the same and it makes them do something about it or helps them in some way then I will be extremely happy - even if it is just one person.

 
So, what am I building up to? Why the dramatic preface I hear you ask yourselves?

 
Well, I am not quite sure where to start if I am honest, I think or actually I know this started when I was a teenager but it was at 22 that I was first really affected by depression, when it came to a 'head' I guess. I spent months so unhappy, alienating friends, not eating and drinking (a lot of) alcohol to forget, waking up in the morning and wishing I hadn't done (even if I hadn't drunk the night before). I would sleep in until silly o 'clock and some days wouldn't get up out of bed apart from to visit the loo. I would go days without washing or making an effort with my appearance; I didn't feel it was worth it or there was a need to. Life seemed pointless and if I was asleep I wasn't 'alive' and time was flying passed me quicker. But then I would wake up again and it would all still be the same, for that split second upon waking up I could have been anybody, in any situation but then after that initial second of opening my eyes, I would feel my stomach fill up with dread and the realisation that nothing had changed and I was still the same person. Horrible huh? I won't dwell on such deep thoughts too much because it isn't nice to read but I have to write it down because it is true and it happened and I need people to have some understanding as to how it feels. 
 
 
It is hell.
 
 
With depression comes the 'I don't give a shit' persona too which mainly rears it's ugly head after booze consumption. Depression is a selfish illness and so when you feel low or that you are stuck in a hole you can't get out of, you really don't care if you offend. You almost feel like 'I'm suffering so why aren't you?'  Happy people tended to be the main brunt of my unhappiness. People moving into their own places, people happy in love, people progressing in work, anything like that would make me feel even more lousy when I should have felt happiness for them, good friend or what? I would sit with friends in the pub or in their fabulous new home that they had bought with their other half, drinking wine and listening to them gush about how amazing everything was for them right now and I just wanted the ground to swallow me up. I wasn't happy so why should they be? Wine was always the easiest answer though of course. Just stay schtum and drink the wine in front of you. It made me numb and made my brain fuzzy. A drunken coma was always the answer when I wanted to escape.
 
 
 
 
''Depression is a selfish illness and so when you feel low or that you are stuck in a hole you can't get out of, you really don't care who you offend.''
 
 
 
 
The reason I say this all started in my teens though was because I know for a fact my depression started in my teens. We have all been through the tough teenage years haven't we? I didn't go through a terribly awful time in school either in fact I really liked it. I had great friends, anyone I spoke to in my year in fact I got on with. I made some great memories which still make me laugh today and apart from the odd comments here and there or odd fall out I never suffered bullying or anything devastating like that. Depression though is an illness, it affects anyone whatever your situation. That's why you read about the rich and famous who seem to 'have it all' suffering from it. It doesn't matter what you have got or what you can afford, you can't buy it off and it doesn't have any preference on who it affects. I hated myself in my teens, I really had no confidence in my ability or my looks. I thought I was fat, ugly and the person next to me no matter who it was was much better than I ever could be. I never had any confidence in my tastes in things whether it was music or fashion and could have the same outfit as everyone else and still feel I was the one who didn't look nice or wasn't cool enough. I have no idea where those thoughts and feelings came from and I never wanted to be an attention seeker so hated feeling like that and always hid my anxieties. I was the bubbly, talkative one who didn't know when to shut up! I remember a girl I went to school with and still talk to every now and then on social media sites telling me that in all the years we had been at school she had never known me to not be happy. That is the thing with depression or anxiety; you don't want anyone to know your unhappy or want anyone to think there is anything wrong with you because they might stop talking to you or not believe you. If you share those crazy thoughts in your head people will think you're wierd - especially when you're a teenager - so it is easier to be the happy bubbly person in the room and keep those thoughts locked away.



I guess that because of that it all slowly festered away in the years that followed; I went from school to college, college to work. Went out a lot, had good friends, a good boyfriend and made good memories but still something ebbed away. There were a few private bad times I went through in my teens but doesn't everyone? Then we get to 22.



At 22 my relationship had finished after nearly four years, I was in a job I didn't like and no clue what I wanted to do with my life, I also really wanted to be able to move out into my own place but had no way of doing so. All normal situations and scenarios most 22 year old's find themselves in. I had been seeing someone for a couple of months who I really fell for but the toxic relationship ended as quickly as it started and I think that was the tipping point. It had been so full on so quickly, then it was over. I found myself in a devastating limbo. All of a sudden I really felt like I had nothing good going for me. I am in no way saying the relationship would have been a good thing  - far from it  - but at that moment in time it was and then it was gone. The realisation I have now was that sadly, I had had a secret problem that I had let slowly and surely unravel behind the scenes without doing anything about it because I was too ashamed.



What I did do though, was drink. Drink when I was happy, drink when I was sad, drink to celebrate, drink to commiserate. You name it; any occasion was an occasion to drink.



It all started as a teenager which is typical. Booze is so easy to get hold of and when your bored with nowhere to go with your friends and you want to act like a grown up what is more fun and sophisticated than getting shit faced over the park on a cheap bottle of cider? I remember even then drinking with a need to feel the taste of alcohol, feel that high. It was that knowledge that it made me feel better about myself, made me giggle more, made me feel more confident. It was magic juice!



I didn't drink every day - I have never drunk every day - but slowly and surely it integrated into part of my life. I never wanted to go to a party or the pub and be the designated driver and I found myself looking forward to having a drink rather than where I was going or who I was seeing. I wouldn't know when to stop either! I have been known to drink until I pass out (a lot), get emotional, get angry, you name it I have done it all and all because I couldn't wait to get the next drink down my neck rather than enjoying it and drinking it moderately. I didn't always show myself up but if drink was available I more than likely had one of two more than I should have. I have argued countless times with people I love and woken up so many times not remembering the night before and full of dread wondering what I did or how I got to bed. While other girly mates could nurse and enjoy their drinks in a civilised manor I would be glugging mine back like the world was going to end the next day, looking for that high of feeling relaxed and self confident only to spectacularly drink passed that point and end up being paraletic whether the ocassion called for it or not.




Since meeting my now husband my life is obviously a lot better. I have an extremely happy home life and social life and he is the best husband I could wish for. The last couple of years once again have been a struggle though, coming to a head this year in particular. Anxiety and down days where you feel the whole world is against you and you want to just be alone in a dark room and cry into a pillow have crept back into my life and they are hellish quite frankly. Booze once again of course was my friend whenever the opportunity arose or I felt that way. In the space of six weeks I went on a night out where I passed out in a chair, fell down some stairs and can't remember the last six hours of the night and have no clue how I got home nor where I was. Shocking huh? (seriously as in I remember feeling tipsy at around 16.30 in the afternoon and that's it).




''In the space of six weeks I went on a night out where I passed out in a chair, fell down some stairs and can't remember the last six hours of the night...''




This time though, or the last time should I say, something clicked inside me. Rather than before where I didn't care and would just sleep off the hangover and have forgotten about it by the next weekend and want to drink all over again, I had something and someone to be better for. I should say myself and obviously that is true but I mean my husband and the wonderful life we have together. That's where the 'myself' part comes in too but only because he has made me realise I am truly worth something! Suddenly I realised I wanted to be the best wife I can be and played back in my head how much he has had to put up with because of how drunk I can get and I felt like such a failure. My heart truly sank. All he has ever done is try to look after me and love me and I had been such a let down of a wife. He could see the best in me so why couldn't I? I felt so upset about it all for about a good week and then I realised I could actually do something about this. When I was first diagnosed with depression I was told alcohol was a no go because it does nothing to help the illness in fact it is a depressant and makes it worse (of course I ignored it then but I wasn't going to this time). NO MORE BOOZE. I wasn't going to wake up anymore with a sore head or sickly tummy and no memory of the night before or even worse, MEMORY of the night before. I was going to wake up every morning and feel better, be happy in my own skin. I was going to exercise to boost my happy hormones and get my endorphin's going as well as getting healthy. I also figured rather than having no confidence I may as well get myself in better shape and get some! The answer to self confidence really ISN'T in the bottom of a glass it is a pair of trainers. I would be slimmer, fitter, richer, healthier, have more energy and best of all BE HAPPIER. Also, getting into shape is a BIG task for me as I am so unfit and have never liked exercise so it gave me something to focus my energy and thoughts on, giving  me a goal to aim for.



That epiphany came five weeks ago and it has been tough. In social situations I never dreamt of being booze free but I have been and it's been OK. Of course people question why you are not having a drink but at least now because of this post they will know. It has been hard when people question it mainly because rather than let it go after I say 'I just don't fancy it' they question it further. It is natural though because I am not one to turn down a drink. I am pretty sure most people right now think I am pregnant! I'm not though! (well, not that I know of anyway) I am just - FINALLY - on the road to happiness. At 28 (nearly 29) I am finally starting to feel content, happy in myself and very positive about my future. I am in control now and the possibilities are endless! It has only been five weeks but already I feel so much better.



I do feel quite sad really to think that pretty much all of my twenties have been one long struggle with myself sponsored by alcohol. I wish I could have just been one of those people who never really liked the taste or could enjoy a nice glass of wine on a lovely evening but just have that one. That ISN'T the case though and I AM here now and it HAS all happened but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and you learn from your mistakes and the hard times and I am extremely proud of myself for coming this far already. I have traded in a glass of wine for water or green tea. A boozy Friday night for a Friday night I can remember and Saturday morning runs replace a Saturday morning hangover. I feel like my brain works better and I enjoy people's company even more. Best of all I enjoy my own too.



I really do think too that it all started from those first sips of alcohol I had as a bored teenager looking for some adventure. If I hadn't found booze such a relaxant I really believe my twenties would have been a lot different in that respect. Don't get me wrong, if you are going to become reliant on something or addicted it will happen at some point in life but now I do feel it's so important to make alcohol harder to get hold of until your are 18 or even 21. I know that makes me sound like a 'square' but looking back on things now, I think it is so crucial to develop your social skills as a kid in your own way and find who you are as person with a clear head not blurred from too much white lightning. You would develop your confidence and overcome your fears by yourself and not aided by booze. It would stop a lot of the shocking binge drinking related illnesses and deaths that we hear about in adults around my age nowadays too.




''I feel like my brain works better and I enjoy people's company even more. Best of all I enjoy my own too.''



So that's the little (or not so little) story of me. My confession or admission whichever term you prefer. My truth I guess. Sorry it is such a serious post but I think you will agree it is an important one. I can breathe a sigh of relief and get on with things now that I have put it out there and been honest with people I know and other bloggers who I have come to get to know and have come to read my blog.




Now we can relax and stop being so serious. I feel like after all that honesty I need to run around the garden with my top over my head.




I won't though don't worry.






Thanks for reading...



 

4 comments:

  1. SUCH a brave post and one I'm sure so many people will identify with. Anyone that cares about you will read this and feel nothing but pride for you. Good on ya chickadee, you deserve all the good things that life has to bring for you xx

    PS Nice photo!

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  2. Well done, Nicki, for writing such a brave post. It can't have been easy but it must be good to know that you are in a place where you can write so honestly.

    Janey xx

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  3. I know exactly where you're coming from as I suffer from it too. Rather than alcohol though, I'm more of a binge eater (hence why at uni I put on a stone as I was feeling so so low). I'm on medication for it now though and has helped an awful lot, but like you I still get down days. I'm so glad you're feeling better now. Things look like they're heading in the right direction and, as an outsider who knows how you feel, it's a really lovely, positive thing to see.

    Loads of love xxxxxxx

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  4. Brilliant post Nicki! It's good to face our problems head on with the support of friends and family (which you do!). No booze doesn't mean no good times and some people don't see that until they're past the point of no return. Mucho love from up t'North Xx

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Thank you for taking the time to comment, it really means a lot to me to hear back from my readers! I always reply so be sure to stop back :)

Nicki

xx