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16 January, 2021

Reflections on Depression and Alcohol Abuse Part 2: What Dreams May Come

Reflections on Depression and Alcohol Abuse Part 2: 
What Dreams May Come

The world is burning, I've spent most of the week sober, and Trump leaves office this week. All in all - I think it's been a good week? 4 days in a row sober. 2 nights in a row not...

I saw the VA doc this week. They tell me I'll live another day. This, I suppose, is good news. I like living. They haven't tried pushing anymore meds on me - so that's good. I am still on my build-up of Sertaline... my last dosage increase will happen on Tuesday. And thank fuck for that. Every time I go up to the next dosage level, my body reacts with 3 days of diarrhea and that... just fucking sucks. On the bright side, however, I am feeling the effects of it.

I've never taken anti-depressants before. I took Welbutrin once to help quit smoking, but that did not end well for me. It caused me to have horrible nightmares, major anxiety, and paranoia. It was, in a word, misery. Which is why I quit smoking cold-turkey this time. Fuck that noise... 

I am pleasantly surprised with how I am reacting to this new one. My dreams have been, more or less, entertaining and less "We're all going to die." - which is huge. They are, however, really vivid dreams. Which is actually really cool. I've had dreams about all sorts of cool stuff over the last week - if this side-effect keeps it up, I'd be okay with it. I love vivid dreams.

When I was a kid, I used to dream all the time. I had the best, most vivid dreams of adventures in great caverns and subterranean worlds. For a long time, I had a reoccurring dream in which a large hole opened up in my town and I was chosen to go down and explore it... I had this dream often. No idea what it means... but I always enjoyed it. 

My dreams were like that for most of my youth... all the way up until around 2000... when started drinking for a living. Well, not a living - but I associate 2000 as the year when drinking became an integral part of my identity. A friend even made a custom action figure of me that came with a small bottle in hand... so... yeah.

The drinking, it seems, causes my dreams to sort of... go away. I just sleep. Or at least I think so. It could be that drinking just causes me to immediately forget my dreams. Which, I guess, could happen. I'm not a shrink or a dream therapist so I don't rightly know. I just know that around 2000 is about the time when I stopped having regular, awesome dreams... and when I started to have more stress, more anger, more... everything. I had a few failed relationships around that time that really took a toll on me psychologically as well.

Then 9/11 happened and then I got sent to Iraq... and when I came home my dreams were no longer awesome in a different way. They straight-up sucked. Death. Fire. Explosions... and, believe it or not, those weren't the worst ones. The worst ones are the dreams where I'm in uniform again and everyone in my unit is shipping out and I can't go. I try to go... but I can't. And I wake up feeling like a failure for the day. I wake up feeling worthless and lacking as a human being. Those are the ones that fuck with you the most.

So I drink. When I drink, as I said above, the dreams go away. Or at least become less memorable?

And now - here I am struggling with cutting down on the alcohol consumption and living with this new reality of once again having good dreams. This is still very early on in the whole process, but I view it as a good thing. I view it as a possible 'return to the life I once led' kind of moment. One where I didn't stay up until 3am because I knew what sleep held for me - but rather going to bed early in the hopes of a fanciful flight of dreaming good dreams... 

I hope.

I hope that's the case. I hope I have good dreams. I hope I can go another 4 nights in row of sobriety. I hope I can dream about colorful adventures in the dream-version of Paris that I hold in my head. There is a large, cobblestone bridge that runs 3 miles across shining waters. It leads to old buildings stacked with food and books. To me, in my mind, it looks like something you'd see in the movie "Inception" and it's a recurring setting in some of my better dreams. Along with a dream-version of where I went to school and met Lady Bourbon... Those are the dreams I hope for. 

More often than not, however, dreams are more adult in nature. And, no, I don't mean sex and drugs. I mean stress. I mean work. I mean anxiety over the fucking pandemic... Those dreams can fuck RIGHT off. They are the bane of my existence and the re-introduction of good dreams into my life has been an amazing thing for my mental wellbeing. 

So... there is my update for now. Hope you are all well. 


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