Happy New Year!

I think it would be fairly safe to say that 2012 was a big year for me.

I had a mental breakdown, turned 30, decided to commit suicide but in typical Bri style, immediately changed my mind, and right this very minute, almost started a war with my new neighbours because they threw rubbish over our back fence.

What hasn’t changed, is that despite the fact that they threw rubbish over our fence, I still feel that I should just keep my mouth closed because I would be the rude one if I said anything…

Back on topic, however, 2012 was a year of re-establishing old friendships, cutting ties with others and saving my time for the people who have time for me. There are a lot more than I ever knew.

Sadly, it hasn’t all been roses and sunshine. Shortly after I turned 30, I experienced my very first bout of “ate-too-much” indigestion and could have been a legitimate Movember contender. I also began using the phrase “there just aren’t enough hours in the day”.

I spent much of the year alone, my partner working out of town. I discovered that without him here, I tend to go fairly crazy, and often caught myself walking from room to room, singing to myself/the cats and doing strange knee-dances. I literally spent hours making faces at myself in the mirror.

Thankfully, his stint of out-of-town working has now come to an end. We’re broke, but who cares! It just means more nights in playing ps3 together. OK, him playing and me telling him what to do.

Most of all, 2012 was the year that I sought professional help for my depression. I am now almost 4 months into my medication and therapy, where we have discovered that I have been mildly depressed for approximately 9 years, with major depressive episodes occurring once or twice a year. This year’s breakdown was by far the worst, and I still cannot express the terror that I felt at the loss of control I had over my own mind.

Medication has been the best decision I’ve ever made and I am now as normal as I will ever get. It feels really good to no longer feel severe anxiety on a daily basis. It’s been a shock to realise how crippling that had been for me. On the flipside, it now feels amazing to know that I won’t deny myself possibilities out of fear anymore.

There are too many people for me to thank for helping me reach this point, but my parents, siblings, partner, friends and colleagues are at the top of that list. Their incredible patience and support are what allowed me the time and space to heal and without that, I honestly could not say that I would be here now, writing this.

My alcohol counsellor and mental health nurse discharged me from their care just before Christmas, stating that they were incredibly impressed with my determination to make the changes I needed to in order to get well. I think that it really just comes down to reaching that proverbial “rock bottom”. You can’t really get any lower than deciding to end your own life. There’s only two options to you at that point – end it all, or try something else instead. Since I couldn’t really go back from the first option, I decided to give the latter a go first.

Perhaps that was the best decision I made in 2012. Medication just makes it easier to stick to.

Either way, 2012 was exhausting, exhilarating and emotional.

Let’s hope 2013 teaches me just as many lessons, hopefully with a little less drama though, yeah?

Happy New Year, Friends!

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Giving wings to this burden

“So what is it about drinking that makes you not want to stop?” asked my mental health nurse, today.

I had to think about it for awhile.

“I have no sense of time”, I replied.
“When I’m boozed, every moment is just that: a moment. Every booze night is nothing but a series of NOW with no thought about the future. I don’t get sick, I don’t get tired. I can drink beer for 20 hours and never throw up, never pass out. My body doesn’t know it should stop, my mind certainly doesn’t want to stop, and before I know it, the sun is up, I’m incoherent and the world crashes in on me again, taking me away from what is basically a magical place of No Worrying, hurling me into a place of pure self-hatred and regret”.

I lose days to drinking. The 12 – 18 hours of the drinking, plus the day or two hangover and comedown that sees me unable to move from the couch, crying at the drop of a hat.

I can’t do it any more. If I want a future, a life that is fulfilling, I just have to face the fact that it cannot involve alcohol.

I’ve made this decision on numerous occasions, but for the first time, it’s a relief. It isn’t something I feel I have to do to please others, this decision is solely for me, this time. It isn’t something I feel conflicted about. I am not sad that I will never share another wine with my mother, or drunk karaoke sing with my friends. Sure, I will miss those moments and I will struggle with them, but I’ve finally reached that place where all of that comes second to giving myself the very best chance that I have to live the life I dream about.

With any luck, my GP will prescribe me the magic no-booze pills that will help me to stay on track. If not, well, I’ll have to smack myself up the face every time I think about having a drink. I want one with every fibre of my being, but that feeling will pass. The self-hatred and disappointment of a binge is what stays with me forever.

It’s been a long and shitty road, but I’m so incredibly happy to be done with it.¬†You cannot imagine the weight that has been lifted from my shoulders.

Onwards and upwards, amigos!