Alcohol and Mental Health (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post comes from Molly, who shares her experience of alcohol and the effect it can have on mental health.

Trigger warning: This post discusses alcohol abuse. If you feel you are at risk of being triggered or upset by this topic, please do not read any further.

“The friendly hope of alcohol.

I never even thought it was an issue until my therapist put it in my head that I drink to hide from my feelings or become this greater persona, that frankly, is everything my sober mind aspires to be.

I told them the usual amounts of drink I consume and she was shocked. ‘Is it too much?’ I panicked, ‘Or do they not drink at all?’ I hoped.

Honestly, I was spiralling into a paranoid, broken and hateful person once again.

Am I destroying my body?

Am I ruining my mind?

Do I have an addiction?

These are just a handful of things that consumed me over the next few days.

Of course, my paranoia created this idea that I’m a crumbling mess of alcohol, regret and obsession. I realised, in fact, I do rely on alcohol to get me through certain situations; the person I turn into allows me to be myself in a room of people of whom I’m genuinely terrified.

My drunk persona is confident, fun, proud and a little bit sassy.  I say ‘her’ and ‘persona’ instead of ‘I’ because I know she’s nothing like the sober me. I don’t think I’m confident or fun and that terrifies me.

I loved her.

Unfortunately, this didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. This wonderful persona would turn into my worst nightmare, creating a toxic atmosphere that my sober, depressed mind couldn’t fight against. The amount of pain she was creating wasn’t just peanuts.

The more I drank, the more my confused sadness and anger came bubbling to the top and spilling out into a rage, targeted at the wrong people. I would fight with people I love wholeheartedly, for reasons only my drunken Hyde would understand. My forceful feud turned on people like my boyfriend, who has helped me every step of this journey, and in the blink of an eye, we were enemies for the night. I mean, in all honesty, I’m tiny, skinny and rather weak – you push, I fall style of body type. But that didn’t stop her, fearless, or stupid? 

I’ve struggled with my mental health since after my operation at the age of 13. I was insecure, like anyone that age; on the verge of puberty with hormones flying and body changing.

It spiralled into one negative situation after another. Loss, teasing and self-hatred became a common denominator.

My mental health has helped to destroy any kind of self-love I had for myself and consequently, my anxiety pushed into overdrive, to the point that I was having panic attacks and avoiding going into social situations because I couldn’t face the fact, I was hating every inch of myself.

Then I discovered the persona created when alcohol was consumed… I became confident and able to talk, dance and do whatever I wanted, without fear. Social occasions became a little celebration of clinking glasses, even if it was my own.  I didn’t have a care in the world and for once, just for a few hours, my mind didn’t fight against itself and I could breathe.

So of course, I added this tiny factor into a lot of my routine; terrible days would turn to days with a pint at the end of them. However at this point, it wasn’t a problem – it was a few after work and a bottle and a bit at weekends. My issue was the idea in my head that it was such a heavy and breaking issue that I began beating myself up and drinking more to cope with holding everything in.

In this modern-day era, we undoubtedly live and breathe drinking. Alcohol is a big deal in everyone’s lives and most of the twenty-somethings live for the “sesh”, so what makes my alcohol tendencies so different from theirs?

The fact I use alcohol as a way to ease the demon war that lives inside my head instead of a social factor.

Maybe it’s the fact I drink to create someone I’m not, my very own Hyde to my quiet Jekyll.

Throughout my journey and many hanging mornings of trying to piece together the night before, I decided that although I love my drunk persona, I will, in fact, have to sit back and watch the real me rule, grow and become my confident self.

I will learn to love myself for who I really am.”

Thank you to Molly for sharing her story. You can find Molly on her blog, Admire The Beautiful, on Instagram (personal and blog account), or on Facebook.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this post, please see below for some useful links, or you can reach out to your GP.

Alcohol and Mental Health

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