I have had a rough few days, after weeks of fantastic moods, I came crashing down.
It all started with me realising that my alcohol ban was ruining my social life;
I know it’s sad to say but I don’t think I am the only one who would say that alcohol is a big part of socialising.
I am a mum to two wonderful little cherubs, Cora, 6 and Cassius who is 3, so last minute child free shopping or lunch dates don’t happen anymore (for me anyway) and when meet ups are organised its normally involving wine or a trip to the pub.
So with my new lifestyle choice of not drinking alcohol it had left my diary very empty and I was starting to feel a little left out. I was also missing the fun buzz and energy that I get on a night out and was starting to get that itch that only my dancing shoes could fix. It wouldn’t be bad to have a little night out, would it? After all it had been months.
ALCOHOL INDUCED ANXIETY
Now let’s go back to the beginning, I was never really fussed about alcohol as a teen, as my friends drank in the park I would often watch and then disappear home when they had gotten so drunk it wasn’t fun anymore. I had seen them fall over the place; spew and I decided it was for me.
I was diagnosed with OCD at 14 and lack of control was a major thing for me, I was and still am very sensitive to how others see me and a big reason I avoided drinking with my friends was I would lose control of something I was trying so hard to maintain. I would often lie and tell them, I had a kidney infection. I was very lucky though, I never felt pressured to drink by my friends. They just accepted I didn’t do it.
I headed off to Uni at 17 and that’s when I discovered going out and partying with my new friends. Uni was a way to make new friendships, try new experiences and make questionable decisions, most of which included alcohol, alcohol made everything so much easier for a shy, anxious girl like me. It was fun and care-free, being from a very small village, it was also so exciting. I started to open up, relax about who I was and enjoy being around people. I made some great friends, who I am still close to today. Often after a night of partying, whatever happened on the night out did not even enter my mind the next day, properly because I couldn’t remember or we would sit hungover in one of our rooms in halls and laugh and giggle about the adventures of the night before, no f**ks given.
ALCOHOL INDUCED ANXIETY
We went out every night, in some form or other. Dancing, pubing, gigging and one time when we decided to go to the cinema we somehow ended up trailing home via Biftikies (the chippie) at 4 am.
As I hit my 20’s and got a job and responsibilities, I met my husband and we still would often hit the town each week. We would have a blast and many memories were made in that time.
It wasn’t until my late 20’s when I had my first child that something changed.
My own insecurities told me that as a mum, going out and having a good time was something I didn’t deserve. I didn’t know it then but the birth of my daughter had triggered feelings I had not had for years. I was suffering from PND and my OCD that I hadn’t had since I was around 18 was back and causing all kinds of emotions that I just couldn’t understand. My mental health was taken a battering. Panic attacks, worry and endless anxiety were heightened when I drank alcohol. It wasn’t obvious at first but I soon started to recognise a pattern.
ALCOHOL INDUCED ANXIETY
As I said before when I became a mum, I just didn’t socialise anymore and when I did, I would have the worse guilt for leaving my child to spend time on myself. Then I would feel stupid and angry at myself for feeling guilt and so on…and on.
So after a night out earlier in the year, when I had woken feeling awful, I decided to cut out alcohol and see if I could “reset” my feelings and that takes us to that Saturday, 6 months after I had decided to take a break, I was going to have a big night out.
The burst of excited energy, something I had forgotten about as I got ready for my night ran through me faster than the strictly dancers. I had forgotten that this part was fun.
I was looking forward to this, no anxiety just me, ready to let my hair down.
The night was fun, I danced, I drank and I managed to catch up with some greatly missed friends. It was a late one; in fact I could have stayed all night with them chatting as we had so much to tell each other in the months we had gone without getting together.
I crawled into bed at about 4.30am and feel into a drunken sleep.
ALCOHOL INDUCED ANXIETY
I woke at 10pm and I knew the hangover was there but it was very mild. The thing that was hitting me hard was that old feeling you get after a night on the toon, hangxeity!
I tried to ignore it. I showered, dressed, had a cup of tea and yes I felt better physically my mental state was a mess. I tried to ignore all the thoughts I was having, like trying to tidy up but just stuffing it under the bed. It’s not in sight but very much still there.
My husband could tell I was pretending to be ok and he announced he was taking the kids to his mums for the afternoon, knowing I needed some time to let it all out.
As the door closed and I watched them leave at the window, making sure they were gone. I let it all out.
I cried, wept big heavy tears. The emotion poured out of me and it over took everything. The release was amazing but at the same time so painful, I knew this was going to like this for a while; it had been a long time since I had allowed myself to be over taken with all the feelings, my body had a lot of work to do.
I was frozen in thought, unable to leave the sofa, my mind focused on all the racing, intrusive thoughts.
I can’t tell you what the thoughts were, as they moved from one to the next without much time spent on one. Occasionally they brought tears to my eyes and I would wail loud deep sobs.
Rory asked me not to vlog in my instagram stories, he knows how disturbing it can be for others seeing me like this but he also knowing it passes as fast as it comes. He was protecting me.
Time passed and I was still stuck on the sofa, I played my meditation soundtrack and it took me longer than normal but I was able to drift off. Sleep that was needed, my whole being exhausted by the day over overthinking.
When I woke, it had eased. It was not as intense as before and I was still very aware of the feelings but they were manageable. I could function, I could get off the couch, and it was passing.
I had nothing to be worried about, I had drank and gotten drunk but I was not very drunk. I was not so intoxicated I couldn’t function, I remembered the evening well yet I had the dread that I had done something awful. That I was the worst person in the whole world, for going out, for enjoying myself.
This was why I had stopped drinking, not because I had an addiction but because of how it affected me the day after.
It made me have a day of heightened anxiety.
It made me a real mess the next day.
I was sad that even after my alcohol break, it hadn’t changed anything. I was still unable to cope the next day after drinking. The anxiety was just the same, nothing was different.
I don’t want to say I will never drink again; I love beautiful glass of wine, chatting with friends or a cocktail by the pool on holiday. I want to be able to drink and not care the next day but I don’t think I ever will.
Just a glass or two of wine can make me feel on edge the next day, so even limiting my intake still equates to anxiety the next day.
I come from a family of non-drinkers; maybe this is why they gave up alcohol as the years passed. My future already made by the genes of my ancestors, alcohol would never agree with me. I wish I could be the person who goes out and can have fun without alcohol but the truth is, I don’t know how to.
I am shy, awkward and find socialising quite stressful with my anxieties.
Alcohol we have had some great times but you are a friend who always leaves a bad taste in my mouth and crippling anxiety the next day, I am going to avoid you again, at least for a while….
Originally posted on Mother Of All Lists