Saturday March 28, 2020

(Please note, this blog was written before the Corona Virus lockdown in the UK)

Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy.

Alcohol made my depression worse. When I was really mentally ill I would drink as another way to self harm. I've been blogging about giving up alcohol and why I made the decision to do so. Lots of people drink what they would think is an average amount and I was probably one of those but I was drinking for the wrong reasons, that is what made it a problem.

I enjoyed a social drink, especially on a dinner out with close friends or a Sunday lunch, or on a gig night out with my sister. So yes, I have had to cut out something that I love to get out of a dark place.

Whenever my mental health was in decline, I was drinking too much. I felt emboldened, strong, heroic, mature, then quickly that would turn to feeling weak, lost, a failure, hopeless. That's because ​alcohol is a drug and it messes with our emotions.

When I'm ill my emotions are wildly up and down but the downs go deep. Alcohol adds to this. So having been off it for the last 3 months I've seen my mood stabilise more than it has in years and years. I know that 3 months isn't long enough to make an assessment, I've had good periods as long as this before, but this time I'm on the lowest dose of medication that I've been on for a very long time.

The big find so far has been the amount of extra headspace I've had and the ability to fill that with positive experiences has been a double bonus. I'm singing, writing more, exercising more mindfully and have a better head to address things with. But also, you can't underestimate the feeling of strength that comes from finding you have control over something that you always thought had control over you.

It is really hard some days, there are days when I really fancy a drink. I've said before how you have to observe the thought, don't act on it and just let it pass. But that takes strength and will power. I was walking into town the other morning to meet my friend and I thought, yep, this is taking a lot of strength, it really isn't easy but aren't lots of things in life worth having hard work to get to? ​Nothing worth having comes easy.

A Moodscope member.

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