Aside

Depression, shame, isolation and alcohol abuse

The decrease in Celexa did the trick.  I’m not as tired which translates to not feeling like a freaking zombie.  When I’m numbed out on antidepressants it’s the worst feeling to forget half of what I or other people say.  I’m so glad that passed.  On the flip-side, my emotions are all over the place.  I can go from sad to grateful to ornery all in an hour.  So, even though I don’t like to feel like a zombie I do like the way antidepressants depress my reaction to everything.

My state of mind right now is that of hyper-awareness.  Since I quit drinking and lowered the Celexa I am forced to deal with my feelings and the aftermath.  The good things are when my kids hug me, say they love me or are helpful and I’m fully present to appreciate them.  The negatives are when I feel put upon by my husband and blamed for all of our financial woes for something as stupid as I don’t cook from scratch every night.  That’s just one example of how he can send me over he edge into anger.  It’s not his big screen tv purchase or his new computer or the video camera I just had to have for Christmas – no, it’s my behavior in the kitchen.  Without drinking I’ve got to learn to sit with this shit and it’s not easy.

It’s Easter and I felt put upon my husband’s complaining.  We fought over religion and politics most of the morning.  He feels strongly about the economy and worries incessantly whereas I just don’t care.  He sees no issues with Catholicism and I do.  We ended up going to the Catholic church where we all took communion without having confessed our sins (is that a sin?) and when we returned the shit hit the fan.  Husband was a volcano waiting to erupt.  The final straw was he got mad that I didn’t support him with the children over their desire to eat peanut butter sandwiches rather than deli turkey.  Such a minor thing but Husband blew up and stormed off claiming I don’t back him up.  I say he wants total control of everything and everybody and f-that.  I let him storm off.

This was not a great Easter.  I wanted to drown my anger and frustration in wine but I controlled myself.  I have quit drinking a few times in my life (pregnancy, breastfeeding and once for a year while on Effexor) but this time feels different.  I want to learn new ways of solving problems instead of opening a bottle of wine as my default behavior.  My therapist says the medications that are treating my depression will work more effectively and of course, I know she’s right.

I’ve been living in a state of denial that I had to fix my depression in order to stop drinking.  I had convinced myself that I drank because I was depressed, believing if I wasn’t depressed I wouldn’t drink.  That may have been true in the beginning but somewhere along the way things changed.  I drank to get numb to my feelings.  I wasn’t treating anything I was using alcohol to withdraw and hide from the painful stuff that gets thrown at me.

I realize now this pattern is never going to help me with my depression.  Whatever feelings I’ve been avoiding since childhood when I experienced trauma and abuse, I must face in sobriety.  It’s not even the childhood issues, really; I must learn to handle any conflict without alcohol.  Past and present.

Today I wanted to drink after fighting with my husband.  I also had thoughts that I wanted out of this life.  I imagined dying to end it all.  Let Husband have his retirement package all to himself if he’s that worried about it.  I don’t want to keep hearing the same fears of his and I wished I were dead rather than deal with the tension around our finances.  My only options were to drink or die.  How sad and pitiful is that?  Have I not learned anything in this life?

Actually, yes, I have.  I picked up my phone and called a friend.  I admitted to everything I felt and she helped me through it by simplifying things.  Disagreements happen, she assured me. I don’t need to run and hide.  Agree to disagreeLet him have his problems and don’t take them on as your own.  I can only work on my life.  This friend restored my sanity and I felt calmer for having shared my crazy thoughts with another person.

This is going to be the answer to learning to cope with emotions.  I can’t isolate myself and feel unworthy and alone. I must share my anxiety with others and it will be cut in half, reduced to a more manageable level.

Friends, we all know this but talking to others makes us feel vulnerable and it is so hard to put ourselves out there.  There’s such a fear of being judged or hurt (as many of us have been abused and harmed by another).  I’m learning to take a leap of faith and expose my weaknesses.  I want to break the barrier of shame and self-blame.  I don’t want to drink to keep pushing painful emotions down.

My new plan is to reach out to others and release my anxious thoughts and feelings.  I am also doing mindfulness meditation where I’m learning to accept feelings that make me uncomfortable.  Lastly, helping others and offering compassion takes me outside the selfish world inside my head.

Tonight all of these changes helped.  I didn’t stay stuck in the thought, I need to either die or drink.  I recognized how harmful that is and  I’m no longer catering to my self-defeating thoughts — also known as my inner critic — which has had way too many years of free-rein in my head.

♥ Daylily ♥

3 responses to “Depression, shame, isolation and alcohol abuse

  1. What a wonderful and inspiring post. Your strength is palpable.

  2. Hi Daylily, I’m so glad you were able to reach out to someone. And I’m so glad they helped you and you felt better. I hope you really do feel better. You sound like you are more secure in yourself and I knew you were strong all along. Keep up the writing. -Sparrow

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