So I’ve talked before about depression and drinking here so this is not a new topic. However I’ve not really discussed it in recovery.
Often our drinking is a self-medication for depression and keeps us stuck in a place where we don’t look at the underlying driver to our drinking. However when we stop we remove that coping strategy and also the distraction and suddenly our underlying low mood comes fully into view. This can be disconcerting when we’ve achieved so much in stopping and are hoping for pink clouds and get dark skies instead. This is something I’ve experienced in recovery so know you are not alone.
If you’re struggling with low mood can I recommend listening to the brilliant podcast featuring Mandy Stevens which was featured on Bryony Gordon’s MadWorld podcast series in April.
If you wish to read Mandy’s story you can do so here:
The podcast is superb because she talks so eloquently about her depression and suicidal thoughts as one with the insight of both mental health professional and also client struggling with this debilitating mental health illness.
As I have worked in mental health services for 29 years, one would think I would be immune to mental illness. I am a Registered Mental Health Nurse with 15 years experience as a clinician and latterly 14 years as a manager and then Director. But there is no immunity; mental illness can come out of nowhere and affect anyone at any time.
From initial symptoms of depression to admission to a mental health unit 10 days later via the Crisis Team, depression ripped the rug out from under my feet and emptied my whole being. I have been completely disabled and incapacitated by this illness.
If I had been in hospital with a broken leg, or a physical problem, no doubt I would have been sharing amusing photos of my drip stand, the signed plaster cast and the hospital food; laughing with my family, friends & extended Social Media community. Instead I have hidden myself away, scared of my own shadow and told very few people. Sad to say, I have also been embarrassed, shy, suicidal, phobic, anxious and scared of everything.
She also in the podcast shares some superb resources including:
This is a free self-scoring resource that you can complete, print out and take to your GP to start a discussion with your healthcare professional should you find yourself struggling.
She also shares many tips including those for managing panic attacks and some excellent mindfulness resources. It is well worth your time and I thank her for it.
As she advocates if you are struggling please reach out to someone – anyone be it family, friend or supportive stranger. You can find a supportive stranger at the Samaritans here 🙂