Ketchup goes well with chips. Rhubarb goes well with custard. But do you know what doesn’t go well with mental health problems? Alcohol, and this is a lesson I have learnt fairly recently.
You see there is something I have been leaving out of my most recent blogs, partly because I didn’t think it was a big deal and partly because I thought it was an issue that would resolve itself fairly quickly, but it turns out that that is not the case. Basically, over the past month I have become dependant on alcohol to get through life with my mental health problems and it is causing a lot of issues.
It all started five weeks ago on a jolly evening out in a rather sunny April, when I was at a concert by my favourite singer. The concert was brilliant, the music exceptional, but In between each song my favourite singer would pause to talk to the audience and on one of these occasions she stated how much she wanted a drink to help her to relax on stage. Obviously I have known about alcohol before this moment in my life, but as soon as she said about how it would relax her, my anxious brain got all excited and I decided to try drinking myself to see if I could relax too. Cut to today, five weeks later and I have not been able to have a day sober since.
Naturally, I have been trying to stop drinking for multiple reasons. For one thing I know that it is not good to spend your entire life totally off your rocker on vodka, but I can’t help it and it is now that I am realising how silly it was to start drinking in the first place. Obviously I never intended to get addicted to it but come on, we all know I have a rather addictive personality (actually I don’t think I have a personality at all, just a thick blob of addictive in its place) so maybe I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t and now I am left to try and deal with this extra problem on top of all the others and that is why I am writing this blog, to tell people out there with mental health problems that alcohol is not going to be a solution to your issues, rather it will add another issue to the pot.
It is like making a cake. When you have mental health problems you have all the ingredients of insanity swirling around inside you, anxiety eggs, depressed flour, paranoid sugar and melancholy vanilla extract. Then comes alcohol which you think will wash all of those ingredients away and leave you free of all problems and to be fair, temporarily it does. When I drink alcohol, my anxiety goes way down, I laugh rather than cry and suicidal urges become a thing of the past. For once I am happy, dare I say merry to the point of feeling pure joy. If you could see all the things I have done in the past month you would be shocked at how much I have “achieved” under the spell of alcohol, from touching a door handle to eating out in public and for this reason you may think that alcohol therefore goes well with mental health problems. It takes the pain away so surely it is a great combination? Wrong. Instead, as I have learnt, alcohol only masks the problem by placing a big old blanket on top of all of your mental health ingredients so that you can’t see them, but underneath that blanket things are getting worse. The more you drink the more the mental health problems blend together, the closer they get to the oven and then BOOM! Before you know it you have sobered up and instead of finding your problems gone you find that whilst they were covered up things have got a whole lot worse and you are suddenly left not just with all these nasty ingredients to deal with but a giant three tiered cake covered in icing and cherries, and that is where I am now.
I think alcohol is very sneaky that way and to be honest I wish I had never started drinking in the first place. It was just so easy to get addicted to it. When you are anxious and depressed all the time and then find a magic potion that takes all that away, why wouldn’t you drink it and then keep going? Even if the relief from your problems is temporary and the potion is actually creating more and more problems, wouldn’t you keep drinking it? Now I am sure some of you out there are reading this and are saying “no Katie, no I wouldn’t” in which case I have to congratulate you for being far more sensible than me!
Like I said I am trying to give up alcohol right now and I have managed two days sprinkled in amongst the five weeks of drinking, but it is far harder than I ever imagined to go without alcohol, even though I have only been using it as a solution to my problems for five weeks. I don’t think one can become an alcoholic in that time but you can certainly become pretty damn addicted and that is why my team have referred me to alcohol services to try and nip this problem in the bud before it gets any bigger. Alcohol certainly hasn’t solved my problems, it has just added to them and that is why I wanted to write my blog about this today because I fear that other people out there are likely to fall into the same trap as I have, the trap of seeing alcohol as a quick fix to all the nastiness in your head and therefore becoming reliant on it for life, which seems good in the short term but in the long term will only create bigger problems and lead to more addictions and issues than you ever imagined.
I can’t offer any advice to people like me who have already fallen into this trap, because like I said, I am still in it but what I wanted to do in this blog was to warn about the fact that mental health problems do not go well with alcohol and alcohol is certainly not a solution to your demons, it is instead a new one of them poised and ready to make itself at home with the rest of the insanity family.
So that is my confession for the week, a jolly one I am sure you will agree! Still, at least in the past five weeks I have learnt something and hopefully in writing this blog maybe I can use that lesson to benefit someone else out there who was maybe on the brink of turning to alcohol but now realises that it is really not a good idea…I can only hope! In the meantime I m going to try and give up alcohol myself before services have to get involved, but considering how hard I have been finding that, who knows how well that is going to go.
Take care everyone x
10 thoughts on “Why Alcohol Doesn’t Go Well With Mental Health Problems”
Wow, Katie, that was really brave! I’m so proud of you!
I was never addicted to alcohol (even though I used to drink a lot) but I was addicted to drugs. Must of my friends do drugs and it’s really hard to stay clean when everybody else is “having a good time”. But I’m now two months clean and I’m really proud of myself. I do however smoke tobacco. I know it’s not good for my health but it helps my anxiety. I do wanna stop smoking so don’t worry
I hope you’re feeling better my dear. I love you xx
Kisses from Portugal ❤
P.S: Have you watched the new season of 13 reasons why? If so, whats your opinion about it?
Aww thank you so much. I am so proud of you for staying clean from drugs for two months! I have never done drugs myself but considering how addictive my personality is I am sure that had I tried them I would have got a bit carried away with them too. Well done you! I promise I will keep trying to give up the alcohol and you keep going without the drugs ok?? Love you loads and kisses from England xxx P.s I have never seen 13 reasons why but now I am interested because you asked for my opinion…should I watch it or not?
Do not watch it! It’s EXTREMELY triggering! It talks about a girl who commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes (each one is a reason why she killed herself). The first season was bad enough but the second? One word: unnecessary!
I SO understand this. There is a reason that people, especially those that deal with anxiety-ish disorders, turn to alcohol to try to cope. Because at first, the alcohol DOES seem to eliminate all that brain racing, anxieties, etc. Sadly, at first, it DOES work. But then, as you become dependent on it, it heightens your anxiety, especially when you’re not drinking. I know this not only from various reading I’ve done, but also personal experience. I’ve never been physically addicted (like where I’d have to detox to stop or go through terrible withdrawals) but I totally understand the psychological dependence.
Just look at it this way: you caught it early and you’re going to address it early. And you already know a lot of the downsides to it and know it’s not a real solution. You’re honestly ahead of the game.
It totally makes sense. And you can overcome it. By the way, I need to know what music artist you were seeing! My favorite band will be in your general area soon (The Psychedelic Furs).
Aww thank you so much, this is such a positive spin on what I have thought is a terrible problem! You are right, I have caught it early and therefore I am ahead of the game…I can do this! My favourite music artist is Nerina Pallot and she was the one who got me into the drinking…suffice it to say she is no longer a favourite of my mums! Are you going to see the Psychedelic furs when they come around?? You should go…JUST DONT DRINK
Sadly they won’t be playing in Chicago or Milwaukee this tour. 😦 But they do a lot of tours, so I imagine they’ll make it back here eventually.
You are courageous to bring this out in the open, but I also think you’re courageous period. It is certainly understandable why alcohol is appealing. I never drank for long periods of time but certainly saw the connection between my reduction in OCD and alcohol use. One thing that stood out to me was that if I could do it with alcohol I could find ways to do it without it. Not easy I will freely admit! You are smart enough to see the dangers that many don’t see. You have demonstrated that when your anxiety level is lowered you can function well. It is hard to keep looking for that alcohol substitute that will provide the same effect without causing harm. I believe it is there in one form or another.
Thank you so much, that is exactly what my mum has said! I need to find a replacement for alcohol that will take the pain away just as much but without the negative side…now it is just a case of finding whatever that thing is!
Well, after reading this blog I may found one and the only bright side of anorexia – I’m afraid of alcohol (and I hate the smell and taste, too). I’ve always thought that it’s just something that prevents me from “having friends and go to social events”, but now I realize that it’s a kind of life saver. I have addictive personality, too.
I don’t really have any advice I could give to give up the alcohol. But I suppose you take some medicaments and I don’t know any which goes well with alcohol. Alcohol usually changes the effect of pills – maybe the side effects get worse or the “right” effects double. Either way it messes up your brain and I don’t think you want more mess than you already have.
Sometimes people with addiction get rid of it by keeping themselves busy and occupied by friends and family. For instance, my cousin used to be addicted to drugs. I knew it, my family knew it, his friends knew it but we couldn’t do anything about it unless he decided to quit. He asked his friend to help him and I wanted to help, too. So we kept him busy. I was with my cousin during the day, when his friend was at work, and the evenings and nights he spent with his friend. It took him the whole summer to be ok again, but he’s been sober for more than 7 years!
So what I’m trying to say is – I think you enjoyed the concert and you would enjoy it without alcohol. Maybe trying to go to the concerts, to the coffee shops with friends or family, some small trips to different cities with someone … anything you would enjoy. I know it may be hard for you to go to the public places, but it can be just for an afternoon or a day or even an hour.
Take care of yourself, please! 🙂
I think you have hit the nail on the head with this one! Distraction is what I need and it is what I have been trying whilst I am attempting to give up alcohol! Thank you so much for this suggestion and for the example you gave of your cousin! I promise I will keep following your advice! Have a great day and take care! x