Alcohol problems are synonymous with depression and panic attacks. I don’t know whether it’s the sufferer who decides to medicate with alcohol, or the alcoholic who develops these issues due to the drink – but there’s definitely a correlation there.
I’ve never had panic attacks, and I’ve never suffered with what I’d call anything like serious depression. Sure, I was an angry confused teenager – but who wasn’t? I once considered suicide because my parents wouldn’t buy me the M.A.S.K Rhino truck as a kid, but of course I was never actually gunna do it. Plus I don’t think it’s possible to actually kill yourself by holding your breath (happy to be corrected here).
I reckon I’m mentally pretty stable – therefore I’ll never be the right person to shout about sobriety being the key to lifting depression or curing panic attacks. I can, however, talk with some confidence about my own experience.
In my drinking days I used to worry a lot about work. I knew that I wasn’t performing well due to weekly hangovers, but after a while my concerns faded and I just decided to accept it. I loved booze, and if it meant work was gunna suffer then fuck it. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t care – but just about every morning, when my alarm went off, I went through some of the worst bouts of paranoia and worry that I’ve ever experienced. I used to catch the train to work and sit there willing the thing to derail – just to avoid another day sat floundering at my desk.
The way I used to deal with my daily worry was just to focus on the next drink. Accept who you are, convince yourself it’s not your fault, keep medicating, remain angry at the world. The problem here is that it’s a downwards spiral. The very thing that was causing the problems – the booze – is the thing I was using to hide from them. It’s like a self-perpetuating roundabout of shite, and the longer you ride it the further away you get from the life you wish you had.
Fast forward 18 months into sobriety and my way of dealing with problems is totally different. I still get stressed with work or whatever – but my natural instinct is no longer to throw in the towel and shout FUCK IT! Instead I’m logical and practical. I also try and decide my next step based on the person that I want to become. An example…
I’ve just had my birthday, so I took a couple of days off work so that I could have a long weekend. Before I left the office last Thursday (my last day) my boss came over for a chat, and pointed out (very pleasantly) some things which maybe I should be more in control of. I was a bit annoyed at myself, and went home worrying that I might be approaching my job wrong. It bothered me and, sad as it sounds, put a bit of a downer on my 4-day weekend…
Here’s how the old me would have dealt with it:
- Decided everyone at work secretly hates me
- Spent the whole 4 days twatted on booze
- Called in sick and spent 2 days in bed, sweating
- Come back in to work feeling mega-paranoid, knowing that I’ve just worsened my situation by taking MORE time off
- Keep a low profile till Friday when I can drink my worries away again…
Here’s how I actually dealt with it:
- Updated my CV and sent it out (just in case – this was just a knee-jerk thing)
- Went to work early on my first day back and chatted my concerns through with a colleague (also a good mate) – realised there was nothing to worry about
- Wank in the bogs
- Waxed my tash and went about my day
My ability to deal with a situation, since quitting the booze, has increased massively. I no longer jump to the negatives – instead I try and find the positives in any situation.
Car fucked? Good excuse to upgrade
Burnt dinner? Cheeky Nandos then m8
Skint? Time to become a master scavenger
Coronation Street cancelled for the football? Fucking GOOD!
I don’t know enough to be able to talk with any authority about how depression works, but I’m willing to bet that a step away from alcohol is a step in the right direction. I also know, though, that it’s a hard step to take.
If anyone needs help taking that step then feel free to drop us a message, or have a read of my tips here.
Stay chill you mothers.