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07 March, 2021

Reflections on Depression and Alcohol Abuse Part 5: The Other Side

  Reflections on Depression and Alcohol Abuse Part 5: 

The Other Side

Today is Sunday, March 7, 2021... And we are 351 days into the "new normal" forced upon the Bourbon household by the Coronavirus pandemic.

That's right... just under a year ago, I went into work only to find that the governor had closed everything... so I went home looked at Lady Bourbon and said "Well, fuck..." Then the serious drinking began. In a few weeks, we put down literally GALLONS of bourbon, wine, and vodka... And even though we tried to remain upbeat and positive - it's not always easy. As a person with Catastrophobia - as described in the blog entry "There are many anxieties... but this one is mine" - I immediately went to "Well, this will end up like 'The Road' or 'The Stand' before it's over!" - and then I began to plan. And then I continued to have massive anxiety... and depression... and fear... and I coped with it by downing more and more alcohol.

Day drinking? Check.

Night time drinking? Check.

Drinks with dinner? Check.

Drink drink drink drink drink... then suffer through nightmares of PTSD and fear over what would happen in the coming months. It was a really good time for the ole Dr. B.

Some time around June... 3 months into the lockdown/pandemic bullshit, I started going back to the VA hospital for treatment. They assigned me a new shrink - she's not very good, but she offers some outside perspective that I wouldn't normally have so that's good. (Example: My need to plan and prepare probably comes from my departure from Iraq. The unit replacing us decided to ignore our hand-off plans when we left. One week later, 8 of them were dead from an IED.) Then I got assigned an actual psychiatrist and not just a therapist... and this one, despite not knowing me from Adam, offered to put me on some antidepressants.

Look - I am normally 100% against being medicated. I've seen too many of my brothers-in-arms be turned into zombies because the VA just throws pills down their throats and sends them on their way. After holding out for 5 months, I called them up and decided to finally take them up on the offer. Drinking and pretending to be okay just wasn't cutting it.

Now, 3 months into these new meds... I feel like a fucking superstar. And not just the drug-induced false thoughts of "I don't care! La la la la!" - I actually recognize the difference in how things are being processed in my brain... I can actually feel myself regaining my sense of self that I once had way back in the "good old days" of the late 90s. Before 9/11. Before leaving home for Iraq... And I love the way it feels now. I love that I no longer feel that weight of doom and gloom bearing down on me over every little thing. I love the fact that these meds are, in fact, helping to rewrite my brain chemistry to be the way it was before the trauma. Before I lost my sense of happiness and light. The Bourbon of yester-year.

I've come out of the long, dark tunnel that I've been walking through for so long. And the other side is wonderfully lit. It is full of luscious green grass, and the sweet smell of flowers and life. The storm clouds are still there in the distance. I can see them. I can still hear the thunder... but I'm enjoying this patch of golden sunshine. It feels like home.

It feels like going home again.

Am I still drinking?

Oh, fuck yes. I'm an alcoholic. I can't just turn that shit off. I do, however, enjoy that I've been drinking less. 1 bottle now lasts the week instead of the weekend. I go to bed almost every night at 10:00 instead of midnight or 1am...

The tunnel I've been in for so long was dark. There were window and open spaces here and there, but every time, I'd head back into the dark. I've had friends along the way for part of the journey. I've had Lady Bourbon walking hand-in-hand through most of this journey... and she got me through the hard parts.

My hope is that this re-found sense of happiness and self-worth will allow me to help others. Maybe I can help Lady Bourbon with her anxieties. Maybe I can just be happy with being me and not give a shit about the rest of the world... Who knows.

I just know that I feel so much better today compared to one year ago.

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome. Yay for meds, eh? I find that I feel much more solid and stable, and yes, I self medicate less. I'm glad things are looking up for you.


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