Anxiety and Booze – Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt 19th Feb 2014

I wasn’t initially going to write on this topic, my own vices being numerous and varied, but after reading another’s excellent post I felt maybe it was warranted.

 

My vice is, was, alcohol. I loved it. Still do in a way. I haven’t had a drink for more than 5 years, and, touch wood, hopefully for a lot longer. If I picked it up again I have no doubt it would feel as delicious and warm as it did all those years ago. It just doesn’t work for me, and my journey has taken me way past a sociable tipple. Truth be told I still crave what it gave me, what it did for me, but no longer do I crave the vice itself. This isn’t the full story, the be all and end all of this section of my life, but it’s an introduction.

 

Ever since I was young I’ve been afraid. I wouldn’t have said all the time, and yet, in some undefinable way, always, and for as long as I can remember. Social situations were the worst and I was always the outsider when in groups.

You know the one, the reader, the quiet one, picked last for football and often the target for the class clowns and bullies. The one who put his hand up when he knew the answer not realising that doing that too often was social suicide.

The one who listened, didn’t really talk, the one that you remember meeting but can’t quite remember the name of. Him, he seemed cool, but a bit, you know, bland. Didn’t say much.

As I grew up I handled it as best I could, but it left scars. The kinds which whisper “you’re worthless” on dark nights when you’re 30, not too many of the “Oh wow, where’d you get that scar, I bet there’s a story there. Why don’t you buy me a drink and tell me about it ;)” kind. Which is a relief actually. Who wants an ass-woopin.

As I went to university at the tender age of 18, I discovered vodka. And beer. And whisky. And the warm, beautiful glow they gave, the amazing way they lifted something which I didn’t even realise I felt. Suddenly I wasn’t the outsider, I was one of the group, sitting round the table in the pub, chatting and laughing. A beautiful sense of ease and comfort enveloped me and I made some real friends. This was the honeymoon period.

A few months later the pub pint had turned into the club triple-vodka, nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but I was aware of an odd difference. All my friends would go, get a drink, then go to the dance floor, chat, hang around. But I would go and get a drink, feel better, then get another so I could feel even better, and get another so I would stay in the zone. I started to have nights where I blacked out, not passing out but not able to remember the night before the next day. All this was par for the course really, as a student in an English uni with some fairly stereotypical beer-guzzling student friends.

By the time we were in the third year and sharing a house together, things started to get a little more out of hand. My friends started to focus more on work and finals, going out less, drinking less, generally being a bit more sensible.

But I couldn’t.

The feelings I was running from were stronger than ever and I needed nightly drinks, and more of them, to keep them at bay. And to be honest, they were starting to creep in despite the drinks.

A couple of years and a ruined college degree later, I was fired from my first job for missing work. They didn’t spell it out but it was for days missed due to being to drunk to get to the office. This was the period of drinking all day, often for days at a time. This was the period of hiding bottles around the house so others wouldn’t find them. This was the period of the lies and the deceits, none of which were believable to anyone but myself and the alcoholic fog I spent most of my time in.

I wasn’t going through hangovers any more, now it was withdrawal from alcohol after a 5 day binge, hunched topless and shivering over the sink, shaking not from the cold (because actually my body was on fire) but from the excesses of the day before.

Eventually, a couple of years later this all led to rehab and abstinence, and I’m glad I no longer spend my days shivering over the sink any more. But the fear, that anxiety, that constant companion is with me still. I just know now, on a very deep visceral level, that alcohol isn’t going to help me.

And that just left the question….what the hell do I do about it now…

Too much to write about…

So today I give in to the urge to write. I have been feeling the familiar stirrings and frustrations when I read an article, or disagree with a talking head on TV, for a while now.

And therein lies the problem.

Just today I came across at least three topics I could write about and I am left feeling like there is too much in the world. Both too much to write about and too much written about it. Surfing the blogs on wordpress just makes me realise how many people have written so much about all the topics I want to talk on. And in that torrent of prose I find myself drowning, unwilling to put my own pen to paper.

So instead, for the start, I decide to write about my unwillingness to write.

Is it the fear that I will somehow be found lacking? That I will be deemed dull, repetitive, uninteresting? Or worse, somehow offensive, lacking in sensitivity and understanding. Or too sensitive, too much of a liberal lefty taking political correctness to new heights of absurdity.

Perhaps I will be too wordy, overusing flowery phrases and big words. Perhaps my lexicon will be too limited, and the banality of my prose will belie the gravity of the subject matter.

This article should perhaps be titled “Insecurities of a wannabe blogger”.

Or perhaps I should just give myself a break, pick the first topic I came across this morning, and start typing…

Daily Post (Far from Home) Response: 10 inches

This is prompted by the Daily, er, Prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/daily-prompt-distance/

(I’ll work out how to make it a single word/phrase link eventually)

The furthest distance I’ve traveled…..far from home…..well it has to be the 10 inches between my head and my heart. (Yes, that’s what the title refers to. Why, what were you thinking? And no I haven’t measured. Look just…go with it.)

The furthest distance I have ever attempted, and it is a journey I am constantly on.

I live in my head. It runs my life. My decisions and actions have been ruled by my head for as long as I can remember. Logical, intellectual, consequences considered and cost and benefits weighed.

However, perhaps even paradoxically, my heart is where my beliefs lie. And no amount of intellectual “knowledge” or fact (until fairly recently) have made that journey down to it. If my heart, my body, believes there is something to fear, logic or intellectualising will not convince it otherwise.

The journey up on the otherhand is short, and occurs by way of shortcut, and secret passage. Those beliefs become or trigger unconscious thoughts, they become embedded in the decision making process, into the logic itself.

“Wow that girl is really pretty but I won’t ask her out because, let’s face it, i’m not <insert quality here> enough”

In the past this would be unconscious, or subconscious. All I would know is that I decided not to say hello, and the reason would be……”common sense”. That belief sent up by my heart makes itself felt in the depths of my mind and I am now making decisions based on faulty logic. On assumption.

And as we all know, assumption just makes an ass out…of……..umption…………..

Moving on. The journey. (Down, as we already established, the cheeky way up appears to be fairly well traveled)

The journey is from my head to my heart. From my intellectual fact-based brain, to my emotional, belief-based heart.

The beliefs it has stored in there are not true. I need to tell it that. I need to provide more accurate beliefs. Based in the real world, and not the dark fairytale my heart resides. A

I am trying to get those letters down there. It’s a long road. Sometimes we get lost. And sometimes we backtrack. Hell, sometimes our postal coach is waylaid by wolves and highwaymen (I think I might be stretching the metaphor here).

But quite frankly, right this moment, I can’t think of another journey I have taken that fits the bill.

Or that I’d rather be on.

Just need some sleep, right?

Hi Doc.Eye - Sleepless

Um, this might sound kinda weird, but I’m feeling….odd. Yeah, I know, I’m one of those guys who comes in with a “niggle, that i’m not quite sure what it is” heh! 🙂

Ok, let me explain. I have trouble sleeping. It’s starting to interfere with work. I keep being late, or falling asleep at my desk. I was chatting with a friend about it and he thought I should come and see you. I don’t want to take sleeping pills or anything, but he still thought I should come, for some reason, and yeah, to you specifically.

Well it’s been going on for a few weeks now. I mean, if I think about it it’s actually been on and off for a while.

A few years maybe.

Ok a definite date would be…………well now I come to think of it I’ve always had trouble like this, since I was about……10? Or 12? Maybe?

……………………………………………………………………

What happens when I can’t sleep? Ummmmm, I just lie awake. Sometimes I get up, read a book, watch tv. Or listen to music.

No I don’t drink coffee late. At all really.

If I had to describe it I guess I just feel uneasy, or my head’s sort of busy, you know? Like i’m thinking a lot, or I can’t stop going over things. But that’s normal, everyone gets that. Just need to be a bit more I dunno, disciplined or something.

Well yes, you’re right, not everyone ends up getting into work at 10 because of it..but anyway, I think I just need to get some sleep.

I dunno how, warm milk maybe, a bath before bed. Diet. Exercise.

Yeah, I’ve tried these before but maybe they’ll work this time around.

I don’t really feel anything else when I can’t sleep. I mean, nothing out of the ordinary.

……………………………………………………………………

Why am I breathing like what? Oh you mean the deep breath. Well I sometimes have to take because my chest feels tight. No, i’ve had it checked out, nothing to do with my heart!

Yeah i’m a bit nervous about being here. I’m always a bit nervous when I go to the doc, just a bit of a wuss i’m afraid!

Yes, I do feel like this at other times. Dentist, needles, things like that. The usual.

The last time? Well………actually I think I noticed it when I was driving here. But I guess that comes under going to the Doc! And before that when the post came, oddly.

No I didn’t open it.

I don’t know why not. Just….felt a bit….scary? Heh :), just need to get a grip, stop being a pussy. Scuse my language.

……………………………………………………………………

Yeah I’m happy, why wouldn’t I be? Good life really. Good job, friends, place to live, money in my pocket, good health. Looks to die for ha ha! 🙂

Um. Everything’s fine.

No I never cry. Nothing wrong with it. I just haven’t. I don’t have anything to cry about, really, I mean life is good, really.

……………………………………………………………………

I guess some mornings are worse than others, I haven’t really thought about it.

Well yeah sometimes mornings can be rough. Feel kinda heavy. Don’t want to get up, do work, but then who does!

I’m not sure why not, I mean I enjoy what I do. I like having a shower. It’s not that I don’t like these things. But sometimes it just seems…….I dunno. Too much? Or like, what’s the point? I dunno, just being lazy I guess.

I do feel tired, yes, but I wouldn’t call it fatigue. I mean, ok really really tired maybe, or like I can’t move, but not fatigue.

Well I just do it. I mean, what else can you do? I mean…….yeah it’s getting tougher I suppose but like I said, i’ve always been a bit lazy. Just need to be more strict with myself.

……………………………………………………………………

You want me to fill out a form? Ok, sure, why not. Just the first answer that pops up? Ok

……………………………………………………………………

Um, nothing’s wrong.

I’m just…uh…is this really necessary? I mean, even the first question is weird, don’t want you to get the wrong impression!

Ok I won’t think about it but like I said, it’s just the first thing that pops in.

……………………………………………………………………

Another one? Ok.

……………………………………………………………………

Ok, yeah I’ll do one more.

……………………………………………………………………

I’m alright, just.. that………made me feel a bit weird. Just gotta shake it off, lack of sleep, you know how it is!

Yeah we can talk about the answers.

Look, I did say don’t take it seriously, I mean, of course I don’t always feel sad, its just the first answer that popped out at me.

Yeah, ok, fine, I got a little choked up on that one but I dunno, like I said, haven’t slept in a while so feeling a bit odd! Haven’t really got anything to be sad about, life’s good.

The sleep ones seemed more relevant.

Well…..no I haven’t had thoughts about harming myself. I mean, not really. When I was younger, maybe. But I was just being a drama queen. Can be like that sometimes, gotta watch that.

Yeah ok, fine, if you’re gonna include that I do wish it would all stop sometimes. Just….stop. Like, a switch. Ok, maybe I should’ve ticked that one. But I don’t want to make a big deal out if it, it really isn’t like that. I’m not going to do anything. Just random thoughts, not going to do anything, don’t worry!

……………………………………………………………………

The feeling like nothing will ever change and everything’s hopeless? Well I’m just a bit negative, I know that can’t be true, it’s just me being a pessimist. Have to watch that.

Well yeah, it is odd, it’s like I know the reality of it, but, I still feel that way. Weird huh?

……………………………………………………………………

Yeah, there’s this odd thing where nothing seems fun anymore. I get bored with everything. I’ll switch off a film halfway through, or just won’t feel like doing anything. Like it just doesn’t feel the same. It is a little weird now I think about it. Caught myself sitting staring at a switched off tv once, now you mention it. I think it just felt a bit…..sort of….blank? Or I felt blank? Or, like, everything? I’m sorry i’m being so vague but this is just normal stuff, just, how it is.

Look, this is just, stuff, it’s not like, i mean it’s not all that bad.

Well yeah, ok, if you took the answers out of context.

I don’t know what context. Life I guess. It’s not like anything bad is happening. Everything’s cool.

It’s all in my head, i’m just being negative, a bit down. I can be a bit of a sad sack if I’m not careful heh! 🙂 Just need to get some sleep, and get my arse moving in the morning. It’ll be fine.

Some people are just like that, just feel, kinda low all the time, it’s not that bad.

I just, you know, need some sleep.

Right?

_________________

To be continued…

(possibly)