When you stop drinking it is sometimes hard to understand what is going on within yourself. I had medicated my emotions with booze for so long that it was hard to decipher my own moods! At day 66 in this journey I talked about having a wonky emotional thermostat as that is how it felt.
A study discussed in the ‘Almost Alcoholic’ book talked about in this post cites that 47% of those who were alcohol dependent had an anxiety disorder, while 41% had a mood disorder. I found myself wondering what came first the depression or anxiety, or the drinking problem? If you are early on in the journey and are wondering what the hell is going on and pondering the same question here is a really good video from Mind where four people discuss their experience of depression and how they managed it:
If you are struggling with low mood here are Mind’s tips on how to manage it:
Break the cycle of negativity by recognising the pattern of thinking when you are doing it, and replace it with a more constructive thought process. Look for things to do that occupy your mind.
Keep active. I find it amazing how many of us sober bloggers are runners and for me I am certain that taking up running was the first step to being where I am now, seriously. It’s that spiral of change again 🙂
Connect with other people.
Care for yourself. They recommend:
- Allow yourself positive experiences and treats that reinforce the idea that you deserve good things. eg a long bath, a day out with a friend (hello Belle and sober treats!)
- Pay attention to your personal appearance.
- Set yourself goals that you can achieve and that will give you a sense of satisfaction.
- If you find it hard to remember things, you may want to write them down on sticky notes, in a diary or set reminders on your mobile phone.
- Look after yourself by eating healthily, as much as possible. Oily fish, in particular, may help reduce depression.
- Be cautious with tobacco, alcohol or other drugs, which make depression worse, and a lot of caffeine which may make you a bit jittery.
- They also encourage mindfulness (which is accepting life, and living and paying attention to the present moment. It includes taking time to see what is happening around you in a non-judgmental way, rather than going over your problems again and again).
In my limited experience I found that by day 90 my head was a little less fried and everything felt a bit more emotionally stable. If you are feeling some ups and downs hang on tight and it will pass 🙂
And if it doesn’t pass then seek medical advice as they will be able and want to help. Drinking again is probably not the answer 😉