I find it extremely difficult to open up about my mental health, but, I’m definitely getting better at it. The stigma attached to men and showing their feelings is slowly fading, but it’s still a long way from where it should be.
With hindsight I know now that my mental illness was a large factor in why I drank so much. The booze took it away for a short period, but the bad feelings always (always) came back, and so the more I drank. When I didn’t have a drink I always felt at my most vulnerable and so naturally you find yourself reaching for that same old crutch.
My mental health during my drinking days was frankly all over the place, some days I was euphoric and other days I was so low that suicide was always at the forefront of my mind. When I thought of suicide I gained a sense of relief that it would all be over, but still, I never really wanted to die I just wanted to be fixed. I went to the doctors who prescribed medication, but, drinking so much I never really gave them a chance to work.
The combination of my mental health worries and excessive drinking drove me to suicide attempts on several occasions. I was far too embarrassed to open up about my drinking and the feelings I was having, it felt too much like weakness and I the prospect of becoming a burden on people didn’t sit well with me. I still struggle to open up to this day (which may surprise tho familiar with my writing), however, I have started to open up to a few select people and really do feel the benefit from it. I suppose in the past I never really had any friends I trusted enough to open up to. I lived in the pub, so not talking about how I felt became part of my personality and part of my routine. I didn’t want to look weak to the pub crowd because at that time it was their opinion of me that I cared about most.
When I finally stopped drinking I automatically assumed that all my woes would be magically fixed, but as it turns out it was very naive of me to think that way. The booze was my quick fix solution to my deteriorating mental health and now it had been taken away. I was left with the same old mental health issues but that crutch was now gone, so what was I to do?
Well, talking and writing about my feelings both then and now has been a bit of a saving grace for me. I still find it hard and still feel embarrassed, but that can be dangerous as it becomes a deterrent to seeking help. So, I’ve had to get over it and I’ll need to keep getting over it if I want to stay in good mental health. It has taken a lot of hard work, tears and talks with friends and family to get me to a better place today. I still have ups and downs and every single day comes with new challenges, but when the down days come both exercise and writing have been a new crutch of sorts. This isn’t always what my head wants to do, but I now understand that it’s what I need to do.
I enjoy my life today and that’s a huge turnaround from even just a couple of years ago. I didn’t like myself much then and had no drive or ambition. All of that has most certainly changed for the better; my career is on the up, I’ve just moved into a new home and I am genuinely starting to feel the most incredible sense of contentment. I have a core of very close friends and most of all, I have the most wonderful family to support me.
I also have some exciting news…I have been nominated for the UK Blog Awards, something which I am extremely proud of. Writing about my journey hasn’t come easy and to be nominated for it astounds me. What would be even more amazing would be getting through to the final which is where all of you come in. If you’ve enjoyed reading my blogs and would like to vote for me I would be so incredibly grateful if you could click here.
I am so glad to be sober.